Entering a male-dominated field, such as engineering or IT, can be daunting for women. That is why mentoring, networking, knowledge sharing and reaching out to younger women is vitally important not only for the women in the job, but to ensure that more women consider these types of careers. That is vitally important to today’s workforce, because, as the organizing body for International Women’s Day shared, “A balanced world is a better world.”
Mentors can guide one through challenges, sharing valuable expertise and insight. And, while each of us is ultimately responsible for our own career path, according to Harvard Longwood Campus, “We can draw upon coaching and mentoring at different points along our paths to help us solve a particular problem through developing new skills, increasing self-awareness, and expanding our networks.”
For women in the channel, including Carissa Scholl, Comstor’s Business Development Manager for Cisco Data Centers, and Sarah Marshall Nowell, Cisco Distribution Marketing Manager, mentoring plays an important role in their careers. As Scholl shared with EDGE360, she isn’t afraid to ask for help when she is faced with a challenge at work; and she relies not only on colleagues, but also on a strong friend support group. Nowell shared that she has been fortunate to have mentors from early in her 20-year career in the channel and now serves as a mentor to others. She also benefits from the many opportunities that Cisco provides to network with peers.
Scholl’s advice to women in the channel or entering a STEM-related field is to try. “There are a lot of things I tried and found I didn’t like. Give something a shot, and if you have an interest, go for it. Ask questions, ask for support and find people who are like-minded – in the workforce and outside.”
Nowell’s advice is to listen, learn and make your own experience, “There’s no playbook for this.” Watch the video here.