Tuesday, January 01, 2013

Tips: Mentoring through eCourses

A new year. Time for new assessing where you've been, where you want to go, and finding mentors to help you get there.
Journals and Notes from 2012 eCourses
One challenge women in technology can face is a lack of mentors. I don't mean role models such as Marissa Mayer, Jocelyn Goldfein, and others. I mean women they interact with at work or in person and can openly talk about career concerns without fear of reprisal.
In my career, with the exception of two companies, since receiving my Bachelors degrees, I've been the sole female at the company, or the sole female manager, or the highest titled female. Maybe this is an artifact of working for startups in the technology sector. Whatever the reason, I've always felt the pressure to be self-assured and confident. If trying something new or steering the company in a new direction, I couldn't voice concerns or brainstorm with colleagues; there were too many people early in my career looking for me to falter.
So I looked outside my industry and away from my geographical location for inspiration, collaboration, and mentorship. I found Holly Becker, Beth Nicholls, Kathleen Shannon, and Tara Street. And I was lucky enough that all offer eCourses where they openly share what's worked for them (and what hasn't) and give you tools for creating an action plan for yourself.
Where do you go for mentoring?
Here are eCourses that I've taken over the past year that have helped me shape my goals for 2013.

Recommended eCourses

  • Do What You Love for Life: Two of my key takeaways from Beth's class were that you don't have to travel around the world to have an adventure and it's okay to lean into your adventure once you find it. She introduced me to so many women who left what others may have seen as "good lives" and built fulfilling lives. Her class exercises were introspective and practical. They helped me start having deeper conversations about work/life/balance with cubes.
  • Series of Branding and Business Guidance Courses for Creatives: NOTE: The order in which I recommend taking their classes differs from how they initially offered them. For me, the order depends where you are on your path towards doing what you love for life.
    • Personal Branding: Blending Who You Are with What You Do: It's a myth that you're hired for your experience. Your experience helps, but it's primarily your personality. In this course, you explore which parts of your personality you want the world to see. You also learn that most people working with you won't be surprised or offended when you reveal aspects you thought they'd balk at. With me, I feared what people would think if they found out I go to Burning Man. Don't get me wrong, not everyone's cool with that, but I also found out that I don't want to work with those people. You leave the course with a to do list for bringing your content (your blog, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.) in line with who you are.
    • Shape Up Your Content: Tame Your Ideas and Tell People How to Buy You: It's hard to focus your content, when you haven't determined your brand (who you are to the public). This was the first class I took from Kathleen and Tara and am going to be retaking it now that I have decided to bring my personality into what I do and share more of it here. This class helps you determine the stories and experiences that help others get to know you and those processes and experiences that you offer to those who hire you and who you work for.
    • Dream Customer Catching: Embrace Your Expertise and Attract What You Track: While targeted for those who are planning to start their own business or who have their own business, it's valuable for those opting for a corporate path. Why? Think of your dream customer as the dream company you want to work at (or be hired into). Once you identify the qualities of your dream customer/dream company you can fine tune your story/elevator pitch so that you're sharing it at networking events and you're evaluating customers/companies by whether you'll be able to continue your story.
  • Blogging Your Way (BYW): I've taken three of the Blogging Your Way offerings, 1.0, 2.0, and the boot camp. There are two common threads to all of Holly's courses: You can't be all things to all people; and You need focus--narrow what you do and tie your content together. She confronts jealousy, getting overly fixated on what others are doing, and remembering what's presented in public hides a lot of hard work. When I started the first BYW, I had five blogs with thin, and often repetitive, content. During the last two, I had one that had deeper content, but was scattered to say the least, with everything that caught my interest. The rebrand of this blog is a result of her intensive boot camp.
Happy Learning!
Credits: All layouts designed by and images taken by Eden Hensley Silverstein for The Road to the Good Life.