Ready! Steady! #SpeedMentoring!
What do you think when you hear “#SpeedMentoring”?
My initial reaction was: intriguing and fun. Which was immediately followed by a few questions:
- How does it work?
- How speedy is #SpeedMentoring going to be?
- What’s the idea behind doing it fast?
- How much value do you get out of a speedy mentoring experience?
I volunteered to be one of the mentors at the WCT BC #SpeedMentoring event in September, where I could experience this unique activity for myself, and to discover the answers to my questions above.
Hosted at the Hootsuite offices, the first part of the event was all about a warm welcome, networking, and breaking the ice between mentees and mentors. Imagine a room full of diverse women with different backgrounds and at various stages in their careers - all anticipating the upcoming #SpeedMentoring talks. Provided with snacks and drinks, we found ourselves chatting away comfortably.
For the #SpeedMentoring part of the evening, small groups of 2-4 mentees met one mentor at a time for around 15 minutes, before the mentors moved on to the next table. Each #SpeedMentoring event has a dedicated theme, and on this evening, we mainly focussed on tackling the topic “Taking the Lead”. This has, of course, different meanings to different people. Conversations were quite varied, ranging from career changes, job advancements and settling into a new role, to project management and entrepreneurship.
Our time, of course, was always going to be insufficient, but that’s the set-up of #SpeedMentoring - to get a taste of what’s possible. It challenged us all to communicate clearly and to the point - or at least try. It was as much about supporting each mentee as it was about fun networking. However, during the third part of the evening we all had time for more in-depth, individual chats between mentees and mentors. This gave everyone an additional opportunity to re-visit a particular point, or discuss a new topic.
Rime El Jadidi, a documentary filmmaker, explained her reason for attending the event as a mentee: “I’m interested in making professional connections here in BC. I was also curious about the concept and novelty of speed mentorship. I’ve never heard of such a concept before.”
#SpeedMentoring gives mentees the opportunity to get input on their situations and topics from multiple mentors with different backgrounds in a very short time. That’s also something Rime found very useful and added: “I also liked the fact that many mentees would sit at the same table with one mentor. At first I didn’t think it would be a good thing but it ended up being quite useful because, even though we might have different career goals, we have similar struggles and it is comforting to hear other people’s stories and also give and get advice.”
This setup also allows mentees to meet a variety of mentors they can approach as a potential future long-term mentor.
As a mentor, it’s a unique challenge to adapt quickly to each question and topic that’s being brought up. I found it exhilarating and would definitely participate again.
About Nadine Stille
With over 15 years of international work experience in 5 countries, Nadine is a Lifelong Learner and Teacher, an enthusiastic Connector, a Diversity & Inclusion Advocate, and loves helping individuals and teams thrive. Nadine is looking for ways to inspire and influence, to make our communities an even better place to be. She’s genuinely curious about people; what drives them and what makes them authentic.