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The Women’s Initiative (WIN) at Velir was started several years ago with the intention of helping women advance in the field of technology. Past presentations and discussion topics have included “Making Women's Voices Heard in the Workplace” and “The Role of Emotional Intelligence on Collaborative Teams”.

This year, WIN sponsored a 3-part series on Mentorship for Women. The first event was a lunch and learn, where the group unpacked the differences between mentorship and sponsorship. Attendees learned about the healthy mix of mentors they should have: people that challenge them, champion them, and become a role model to them. For the 2nd part, Velir hosted a panel on the impact of mentoring. Panelists from companies in a variety of industries talked about the role mentorship played in their careers, and how it impacted their lives. Folks of all genders were invited to learn how to support women in their careers.

The lively panel discussion was followed by several hours of networking over food and drinks. The topic definitely struck a chord, as many people from the community attended and stayed late into the evening, swapping stories and connecting over shared experiences.

"People come about mentorship really informally, most of the time - through a manager or colleague. There are less women in the workplace and less in higher-up positions, so having people from outside of our organization [share their experiences] broadens everyone’s perspective."
Kerry Robert Head of People Operations, Velir

Check out our video compilation from the event:

Video Transcript (Edited for Clarity)

Nedret Sahin: Hello, and welcome to Velir. We’re here after hours for an installment of the Women’s Leadership series. Tonight, we’ve assembled a panel of seven women from across different industries and different positions to talk to us about the importance of mentorship and sponsorship.

[Public Interface Intro]

Velir Presents

Public Interface

Women’s Initiative: The Impact of Mentoring, June 2017

Nedret: Hi, Kerry.

Kerry Robert: Hi, Ned.

Nedret: How are you?

Kerry: I’m doing very well.

Nedret: As our head of People Operations, you have a background in psychology and counseling, and I want to know what your take is on mentorship and the value of it.

Kerry: Tonight's event is about women and about mentorship and the role of women's careers and I think that people come about mentorship really informally most of the time. You get mentorship through your manager, you get it through a colleague, and why I think it's particularly important for women is that there tend to be less women in the workplace and less women in higher positions to provide mentorship. What's really exciting about tonight is we started off with the first session which was learning just strictly for Velir, but tonight we're opening it up to other people—to the community. It provides us all with new opportunities to meet people outside of Velir, and I think that sometimes in the workplace we can get stuck in our norms and the more people you have outside of your network, outside of your organization—it broadens your perspective.

[Public Interface Music]

Nedret: Welcome to the Velir.

Lisa Yang: Thank you so much.

Nedret: So, tell me a little bit about how you found out about this event and why it interested you.

Lisa: So, I recently moved from Wisconsin back in August to Boston really with no job, no network, no anything. I would love to learn more about how I can strengthen my skills and I think it's great to diversify your group of mentors despite what industry they're coming from because they bring in a different perspective and experience to the table.

[Public Interface Music]

Nedret: Thanks for being on our panel.

Pardees Safizadeh: I'm so happy to be here, this is awesome.

Nedret: Tell me a little bit about yourself. What's your background and what's your current position?

Pardees: Right now, I work at Evergage. I'm a Customer Success Manager. My background was in social media when I first started. I actually have public relations training from college.

Nedret: One of the things we learned in the first installation of the series was you have multiple mentors. It's a myth that you have one and you have different people to fill different roles. And it sounds like you had one who was really a champion for you and then it sounds like you had another one who was more of your challenger to say “No, try this instead. That's not a good idea.”

Pardees: Yeah.

[Public Interface Music]

[Onscreen Quotes]

“I’m at a place where I’ve learned to embrace who I am and who I’m not. I’ve had mentors along the way who’ve helped me do that.”

-Kate Berseth, Executive, VP, EF

“The biggest mentor in my life is my father. My parents had a pretty strong work ethic and instilled that in me.”

-Helen Adeosun, Co-Founder/CEO,

“A mentor doesn’t necessarily have to be a boss or a manager, or someone who’s older than you.”

-Anne Bosman, Regional Director, General Assembly

[Outro Music and Closing Credits]

Special Event: Women’s Initiative
Producer: Velir
Director: Mark Stiles
Writer: Nedret Sahin

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