Death By Zoom?

Courtesy of Pixabay

Before COVID-19, I was getting pretty down on technology in context to our loss of human connection in the workplace and at home. The family life disrupted as Instagram and WhatsApp took center stage over ‘Honey, How was your day?’ and ‘Let’s share three things we are all grateful for.’ “Wha??? What did you say, Mom?” click.. click..click- fingers on the tablet.

I felt like I was becoming a pioneer against technology even though I would choose personally the latest Apple products a million times over Sapphire earrings, a spa visit or the latest designer handbag. Do we see each other at work and at home enough? And our youngest workforce (according to Cigna’s groundbreaking America’s Loneliness Epidemic Study- see chart below from TIME) is the most isolated of any demographic group with well over 71 – 79% feeling lonely, that they do not have someone they can speak with.

BUT MAYBE I WAS WRONG ABOUT TECHNOLOGY… Problem or the solution I have pondered daily in this new unusual lockdown life. Maybe technology was going to help us all distance but not isolate. Work remotely but connect. Transport us into the homes of the elderly parents and the homes of our childhood friends’ free geographic barriers. It has been all that for me and more.

Maybe it is in our hands literally to eyeball each other with meaning or to tune out and distance to the numbing and dopamine- inducing- stimuli of the internet 24/7.

“I have kids to take care of. I have a staff that I need to support and hold up, and I can barely keep it together, It’s all on me,” said Irene a dynamic emerging leader from a major company you all would recognize well. “I have never been so busy and I am not getting what I need from Zoom calls. They are all day long now “I can’t take this.”

I remember in the early 2000s being in conferences for days in NYC for an amazing charity. One PowerPoint presentation after another, sometimes for 8-hours straight with a Reuben boxed lunch with potato chips, a pickle, and a stale chocolate chip cookie. + The option to sneak a joke, a laugh, or overhear some meaningless gossip in the ladies’ room on 10 minute ‘liquid breaks.’

We called it ‘Death by PowerPoint’ as there were diminishing returns after the 3rd ‘talking head’ presentation. Your head would just feel dizzy and you needed to doodle or do something to stay in the sandbox with others.

Irene was feeling those diminishing returns. She needed to feel a more human connection on these calls and so do we all. To get the clarity that she was not alone with her C-19 experience. She needed to brainstorm solutions, feel a kinship, or as a brilliant mind posted anonymously on Facebook and I paraphrase, grasp how we are “Not all on the same boat with each other, but we are in the same storm.”

When we swallow anxious feelings, we feel depressed. When we hurl our emotions at others we feel anger. When we take those feelings and put them to purposeful action, connect with others… we feel better and march forward.

Does Irene’s experience show us we are moving into “Death By Zoom? WebEx? Microsoft Teams? Adobe Connects?” and other video platforms. I hope not. Because we need them to transport us in-lockdown together.

I need them for Thursday night Zoom dinners with my in-laws by candlelight and Sunday nights with Mom and my brothers, nieces, and nephews. I see them more than I have in years now. and I get dressed up for the occasion.

I am going to share with you a big A-Ha moment. I was working with a major financial company and asked them to let me use 50 breakout rooms and trust me. GULP. Well, they did and I saw that when leaders were speaking, participant engagement rates (on Adobe Connects) were 42-60%. When we created the space for people to 1:1 directly help each other – mentor each other in the breakout rooms, discuss COVID- (aka pandemic non grata) engagement rates went up to 94-97%.

People like Irene shared after the session “I can let my hair down now. I can breathe. I can share in confidence my worries, my concerns, how other people are dealing, the costs.” I can feel and learn that at this moment in time, we sit together on Zoom, arm to arm when we need each other the most.

We might not be in the same boat but we can be joined in the voyage, together side by side evolving as stronger seaworthy vessels than we were before.

###

Julie Kantor is the CEO of Twomentor Managed Mentoring Solutions. Since the start of COVID-19, her company has been running dozens of “Remote, Not Isolated” Flash (speed) Mentoring experiences for executives and their teams. She can be reached directly at julie@twomentor.com

I am sorry you are going through this…

A few years ago it became a big recommendation for women to stop apologizing so much, that we lose credibility or grounding by being sorry- but today as I look at how COVID is impacting your life, no other words feel truer: I am really sorry you are going through this time in history. I have dedicated my life to helping people help each other. The first and most important step in helping another person is to authentically and openly see them. When I look around and observe the people around me, from my 17-year old daughter, my fellow entrepreneurs who are not ‘open for business,’ to my mentee whose five roommates were all furloughed, parents juggling childcare and work from home, and corporate executives who pivoted and lead through the chaos. I see pain, insecurities, stress, broken dreams, arguing nights, loneliness, frozen fears, confusion, and, importantly, special moments of warrior spirits, love, enlightenment, and support in the midst of everything else. Nobody deserves this, and truly, I am sorry you are going through this.

But I also have some wishes for you.

I wish you compassion for yourself in particular. I wish you self compassion over self-criticism, Hope over hunger. Vision over broken dreams. Faith over fear… and love.

I wish you compassion for others around you, regardless of whether people are home for 60, 85 days and counting, or racing out to hit the gym that just opened or sharp-tongued with their siblings. I don’t know anyone who hasn’t been profoundly impacted by COVID (I call it COVID non-grata). Cut yourself some slack, there is no way that 3-months ago you or they would have known or understood our hair would be turning greyer, our hospitals would be fuller, in some ways Costco + Zoom would be winners, and The Cheesecake Factory, Southwest Airlines, Uber and hundreds of thousands of others are on the losing side of this battle. Nobody could have predicted that our friends would be furloughed and loved ones lost.

I wish you learning and growth because this is something we all must learn something from: it doesn’t matter whether that comes from the inner recesses of your brain or Youtube, Coursera, a mentoring conversation on FaceTime or Google Chat. They all have value. I hope you find the words and concepts that comfort you and give you the strength to push through another day and another week. I think we grow the most when we are in pain, not when things are easy in life. The great moment of building our resiliency muscle has arrived.

My brother once told me that if I am standing strong, then others can lean on me. If I am not okay and others lean on me, well, we will both fall and tumble over. For many of us, it is in our nature to support others through a crisis, to lose precious sleep, and let our own needs fall on the back burner. This is natural, but let’s ask ourselves: how can we support others if we aren’t okay? I hope you care for yourself without guilt. I hope you make a new relationship with you and find incredible human connection with others cause this too shall pass and you will find yourself and how you grasped these moments on the other side of this pandemic.

(photos courtesy of Pixabay)

I was speaking to a client and she said ‘G-d wants us to reboot’- that really got me thinking and gave me a new perspective. What will our reboot look like? Self-compassion? New learning on what we need to have serenity and stand strong? A new hobby or career? And, hopefully, the ability to truly see one another and the unique hardships we each endure. To help ourselves and each other. Now, for my own personal daily recharge. I’m off to Amy Appel’s amazing online Yoga class—to strengthen my spine and spiritual grounding as she discusses this week the word impermanence.

###

We believe in people helping people. Employees helping employees.

Julie Kantor is the CEO of Twomentor Managed Mentoring Solutions. Since the start of COVID-19, her company has been running dozens of “Remote, Not Isolated” Flash (speed) Mentoring experiences for executives and their corporate teams to foster human connections and resilience. She can be reached directly at julie@twomentor.com. Very special thanks to MacKenzie Moore, leader and valued team member at Twomentor for weighing in and edits.

Why in 2020 We Must Have Corporate Mentoring Program Goals

There is a strong argument to be made that the defining characteristic of the 21st century has been a tendency towards complexity. The onslaught of technological advances of the last decades has expanded the possibilities of corporate action and, as a consequence, made competitiveness more difficult to achieve.

 

This means that achieving success is explicitly entwined with your business’s ability to find cost-effective and high-impact solutions to any problem that may arise.

 

The Benefits of Corporate Mentoring

 

A well-implemented mentoring program can do many things.

 

On an individual basis, your employee, will enjoy significantly faster adaptation to the workplace environment, acquire enhanced skill development, and gain access to an essential network of key co-workers.

 

In turn, the corporation achieves a significantly lower turn-over ratio and increases their productivity by ensuring the existence of a more competent and confident workforce.

 

A skilled corporate mentor will add value to your operation and do so while minimizing risks. However, it is essential that realistic expectations are established.

 

The Value of Having Clear-cut Objectives and Goals

 

At the end of the day, the single most important factor to any corporation or organization is the bottom line. Therefore, the cost-value ratio of a corporate mentoring program becomes a crucial factor to consider.

 

How much will establishing a mentoring program cost the company? Versus how much money the company will potentially save in the long run with such enactment?

 

The answer to those questions can only truly be determined by establishing precise and realistic goals.

 

According to the project management philosophy of SMART criteria, corporate mentoring program goals must be specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and timely.

 

That means that goal-setting must be strategic, well-resourced, and aligned with corporate goals.

 

Without this mentality, there is no effective way to initiate, plan, execute, nor control a mentoring program. And lacking the ability to do so, instantly and genuinely, derails any potential for success.

 

This applies to any project and not just a corporate mentoring program.

 

Corporate Mentoring Program Goals and Objectives

 

Foster Connections: The best mentoring programs will prioritize establishing and fostering connections between the mentors and mentees. Without this crucial step, the program will implode and fail. The project manager should prioritize establishing an environment that sustains the organic development of these relationships.

 

Instill The Best Practices: This requires outlining the expectations of all parties involved in the program. Make sure that over time, these expectations are met. In case that meeting certain expectations is not possible, ensure that everyone involved understands the reasons why. Make sure that the mentees understand that mentors are not expected to solve problems, but rather instill the best practices so that the employees themselves find the most effective solution.

 

Develop High Performance: One of the crucial goals of any mentorship program should be to enable promising employees to develop to their full potential, and facilitate their upward movement through the organization. Research has shown that when top-level positions are filled by employees who have tracked their progress through the ranks, the corporation as a whole performs more efficiently.

 

Establish these goals early on, and you will significantly increase the success rate of your corporate mentoring program.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Are We Are Losing ‘Just the Two of Us’?

 

I see the crystal raindrops fall
And the beauty of it all
Is when the sun comes shining through
To make those rainbows in my mind
When I think of you sometime
And I wanna spend some time with you
Just the two of us
We can make it if we try
Just the two of us

-Grover Washington Jr and Bill Withers

 

I would really like to pose this as a question, “Are we losing the two of us’ in society? At home, at work, at our children’s school, with our aging parents, in neighborhood playgrounds, at our local coffee shop?… But I do not believe any of us need to pose this as a question anymore, we see it and we have fallen prey to it ourselves (unless we chose to live off the grid or are painstaking in our daily routines and rituals). We know we are not there or fully with those we want or need to spend time with personally and professionally and it is harming us.

We have taken a huge fancy to our computer-capable iPhones + Samsungs, our Netflix, our Amazon Prime (are you smiling as if I am talking about your VERY good friends here?) I am, I am in awe of them all.My colleague MacKenzie sent me a very powerful article last week (link below) about loneliness and burnout in the workforce and how it’s particularly impacting in-every-detrimental-way-possible our Millennials and Genz. From anxiety to depression to suicide. Lonely, lost, despair. Our need for strong connections are there, yet our brains are somewhere else, rewired. The casualty, we are losing each other. We are losing the ‘just two of us.’ We need self-imposed, work imposed or family imposed interventions (and sometimes more).

“Why is your phone screen black and white,” I asked my older brother Tony who is the most deliberate person I know about structure, routines, fitness, and health.

“Because the world out there is what’s in color, not the world on your phone,” he responded. He made his phone less appealing and it worked for him. I tried it and it worked for me too until I wanted to take photos and ‘forgot’ to turn it back to grayscale.


*article HERE

Four years ago I launched a company to focus on how to build “the two of us” relationships at work. Even called it Twomentor (cause Rob Base said in his song ‘it takes two to make things go right’ and it takes two, to mentor) By increasing mentoring cultures we can elevate women in STEM fields, drive employee engagement, retention and knowledge transfer.

Four years later, as I reflect on our work, I realize that increasing belonging, connection, decreasing loneliness would also become BIG priorities. The “America’s Loneliness Epidemic” study came out and the World Health Organization classified Burnout as an official disease. We become an engineered intervention to better humanize the workforce and drive connecting.

Time and time I’d see the smiles appear when we ran flash mentoring (think speed dating) sessions globally. A little fun and a little engineering would crack the screens and we would really see each other again, eye to eye, Zoom to Zoom, here to help and to learn from each other. The goodness of people comes out. We were nourishing the psychological starvation we have of a need to connect. HOPE!

iPhones will not be going away. Netflix + Prime will only continue to gain market share and we will share our lists with joy (by the way, thanks to Karen + Renee we loved Fauda, the Spy, Goliath. Handmaids Tale on Hulu was intense!) but we need to understand the casualty of us in the process.  Like my brother Tony, we need to share the steps we take to connect meaningfully with ourselves and each other both at home and at work. For me, I just started Yoga and will go on the beach paths of Boca with my family on our new-to-us from eBay Electric Scooters and set next lunch dates each time we meet with my Mom, Mother, and Sister-in-Law ). FaceTime can bring us closer to our relatives from afar and Zoom calls bring us into each other’s offices for coffee. Extra points if we actually turn our videos on and see eye to eye.

Do you have a weekly or daily strategy that helps you increase human connection, enjoy feel the fall crisp air, spend with a mentor or a friend on an ongoing basis for mutual support? Please share your experience

 

Why Corporate Mentoring is the Key to Success!

The Business Roundtable today released a statement on the Purpose of a Corporation and investment in our employees was top of mind. “It includes supporting them through training and education that help them develop new skills in a rapidly changing world,” stated the document signed by Chairmen and CEO’s of Anthem, Accenture, EY, JP Morgan , Apple and 100s more.

We agree. Today’s workforce is more innovative than ever and faces unique challenges. In order for businesses to succeed, they require robust employee development and engagement strategies—strategies that must be as diverse and creative as the workforce for which they were built. Corporate mentorship initiatives are a cost-efficient, highly effective addition to training programs, ERG groups and engagement strategies that may not be reaching their full potential. Utilizing your best employee(s) as company mentors allows them to share their knowledge and experience as they help shape less experienced employees or advance high-potential talent. Here are some more reasons why corporate mentoring is vital to your company’s success:

1.    Improves Onboarding and Recruitment

It can be difficult assimilating into a new job and adapting to a company’s unique culture. Mentoring during onboarding is appealing to new hires because it exhibits a strong commitment from their employer to their development and training. This also enables employees to learn and adapt faster, resulting in an increase of productivity and career satisfaction. Research by Deloitte shows our younger workforce looks to work for people and companies that mentor and 79% of millennials want their managers to be mentors. There is an adage that when leaders climb the ladder they often forget the ladder is there. It is our children and our employees children on those ladders. Who will mentor them?

2.    Improves Development

More than three quarters of employees have said there is a lack of career development opportunities at their companies. Corporate mentoring programs are a time- and cost-efficient method of both developing and engaging all levels of employees at the company. More experienced employees benefit from not only the satisfaction of helping mold and develop their mentee, but also by learning from and be mentored by their mentee through reverse mentoring. A mutually beneficial alliance if done right. A study on Sun Microsystems (now Oracle), by Wharton / Gartner found that people who mentored were promoted 6x more often and mentees were promoted 5x more often than people who did not participate in a mentoring program.

3.    Higher Employee Retention

Many people leave their job because they don’t feel appreciated or don’t see a chance to move forward. Creating a highly effective managed mentoring program allows veteran employees to feel valued while offering career development opportunities. High potential employees thrive in businesses that provide favorable environments where they can grow. Deloitte found that retention rates are 25% higher for employees who have engaged in a company sponsored mentorship program, and mentorship decreased the odds of turnover in U.S. Army Officers by 30%. Higher retention rates mean that companies spend less money on hiring and training new talent, which is estimated by the Society of Human Resource Management (SHRM) at 1-3x salary.

4.    Increasing Diversity & Inclusion

Businesses with a diverse workforce and inclusive company culture are more innovative, perform better and achieve higher revenues than less diverse companies, according to the World Economic Forum (and many other studies). One of the biggest benefits that mentoring offers is the increase of employee engagement throughout the company, and for people of all backgrounds. The support and advice of senior employees will help new employees have a better experience and feel a greater sense of belonging. The Sodexo Corporation integrated a mentoring program into its D&I initiatives and found a return of $19 spent for every $1 invested in mentoring. As people tend to seek mentors who remind them of themselves and visa versa, a little strategic planning to drive more diverse relationships goes a long way. CXO’s need to be more deliberate in who they mentor and sponsor with action planning. Did you know 86% of male executives and 64% of females who make over $249,000 a year share they have a mentor.

 

5.    Increased Knowledge Sharing & Succession Planning

Knowledge is power in today’s fast-moving economy. Top executives need to share their knowledge if they want the business to continue to succeed after transition professionally. Corporate mentoring programs are the best ways to develop and groom high potential employees to replace leaders who retire, are promoted or leave the company for other causes.

 

Lastly, it’s a health matter. The World Health Organization recently diagnosed ‘corporate burnout’ as a disease. One of the leading causes of ‘burn out’ is the lack of human connection. Mentoring breaks down these human barriers. In our global work, we have found that less than 30% of executives share with us that they have a professional mentor and under 10% are mentoring others. Engineering human connection is not a ‘nice to have,’ its paramount to the health of your team and our companies.

If you are ready to invest in your employees and take your company to the next level, Twomentor LLC has the proven solution for you. We can help you build a happier, more inclusive and engaged workforce through mentorship. Our experienced team will develop a customized managed mentoring program based on your company’s needs. Our ratings from our last nice clients are in the 90th percentile in terms of people’s confidence in being a mentor/mentee. We work with all types of organizations, including Fortune 500 companies, educational institutions, mid-size business, and associations. For more information call 1-833-5-Mentor, schedule a call with sophiaD@twomentor.com, or visit us at https://twomentor.com.

Want an 88% Boost in Productivity? Say YES to Mentoring Your Managers

by Mackenzie Moore

If you’ve been paying attention to research on the latest human resources trends, you’ll know businesses are facing two major crises: competing for talent and developing innovative and effective leaders ready to face the unique challenges of the 21st century. Both of these trends were highlighted in Deloitte’s latest report on Human Capital Trends. By and large, businesses are having a hard time developing their managers, and this poses a problem for their ability to attract and retain talent. According to Gallup’s report on Designing Your Organization’s Employee Experience, “the manager-employee relationship is the most important relationship at every stage in the employee journey.”

 

A white paper by the Center for Creative Leadership highlights a critical gap in the talent development pipeline: 58% of first-time managers never receive formal management training or development prior to transitioning into their new role. Consequently, more than 40% of newly promoted managers fail in the first 18 months.

 

Numerous studies have linked mentoring managers with increased leadership potential, productivity and the success of their teams. The Association for Talent Development found that workplace mentorship of managers resulted in a significant boost in productivity of 88%, whereas training managers was associated with a 24% boost in productivity.

 

A meta-analysis on the effect of mentoring managers formally by Dr. Rajashi Ghosh and Dr. Thomas Reio Jr at Drexel University and Florida International University, respectively, found career and psychological mentoring were both correlated with:

  • Increased workplace performance,
  • Higher perceived career success,
  • Higher job satisfaction,
  • Increase in organizational commitment, and
  • A decrease in intent to turnover.

 

The meta-analysis, published in the Journal of Vocational Behaviour in 2015, was performed on 13 published studies, 4 dissertations, and 1 unpublished study.

 

The research clearly shows that formal mentoring of managers is good for business. Managers that have been mentored are more committed to the organization, lead more satisfied and productive teams, and are more prepared to transition into the next level of leadership. But, companies and superiors in the organization are not investing in mentoring managers.

 

Heidrick & Struggles surveyed over 1,000 professionals in North America and found that only 27% of respondents report their company has a formal mentoring program and only 9% of respondents reported finding their mentor through a formal mentoring program. Investing in a formal mentoring program for managers of all levels is critical to building a productive and innovative workforce, succession planning and developing a leadership pipeline. PRO TIP: teach your managers to become mentors themselves, because over 79% of our younger workforce want their managers to be mentors as part of their management style, according to Deloitte’s Millennial Survey (2016).

 

Twomentor LLC stands ready to help you maximize the potential of your managers through mentorship. We will develop and manage a customized mentoring program based on your company’s objectives. Our proven initiatives foster high-quality mentoring relationships, promote productivity, and build a happier and more inclusive workplace. Reach out to our team today to learn more: SophiaD@Twomentor.com

Mars & Venus? Big New Studies on Women in Tech from IDC and Northwestern

by MacKenzie Moore, Director, Twomentor LLC

The fact that women are underrepresented in tech (and STEM jobs in general) is frankly not news: the lack of representation of women and minorities in tech gained visibility 5-7 years ago and exploded when Google and other tech companies released their diversity reports. So, what’s new? Recently, we are seeing new and exciting research pointing to the causes for the lack of diversity and solutions for shifting cultures to advance women in the workplace. Spoiler alert: think unconscious bias and inadequate support networks.

 

A few weeks ago, Julie Kantor (CEO of Twomentor) was speaking at the Women in Technology International conference where they, in partnership with the IDC, shared compelling evidence for the prevalence and influence of unconscious bias surrounding all forms of diversity in the workplace. The study found that across all nine categories of diversity (ethnic, age, religious, sexual, political, racial, socio-economic, gender and disabilities) men consistently rated their organizations as more diverse that women. The largest gap occurred in gender diversity, with 45% of men rating their organization as very diverse versus only 28% of women.

 

Across 12 statements on gender diversity and women in tech, men and women only agreed on one: “there is a lack of female candidates for STEM roles.” The responses to the other 11 statements made it clear there is a disconnect between the perception many men have of the working conditions and desires for women in the workplace and the reality reflected in the women’s responses. For example, 22% of men highly agreed with the statement “our workplace culture is geared towards men” versus 45% of women. 42% of men highly agreed with the statement “men and women in STEM roles are paid at approximately the same rate at my organization” as opposed to 24% of women. The authors point out “people simply don’t know what they don’t know” and bringing this unconscious bias to the forefront of education, training and workforce development is critical to elevating women in the workplace.

 

The IDC and WITI point out a common misconception that women primarily want flexibility in the workplace and job benefits. In reality, the main career gaps for women in tech are compensation and pay, work/life balance and a sense of purpose. These three gaps are closely followed by opportunities for promotion and ongoing skills learning. Given that men hold 75% of all jobs in IT, men play a critical role in filling (or making it possible for women) to fill these career gaps and changing the corporate culture of tech companies.

 

There is promising news: multiple studies (first a study published last February by the PNAS and now the research from the WITI conference) have shown that one promising method of elevating women in the workplace is providing and facilitating access to adequate support networks and mentorship for women.

 

WITI and the IDC found that use of a professional mentor is positively correlated with a 10-17% higher income for both men and women. 84% of men who earn above $250,000 have had a mentor as opposed to only 69% of women. Additionally, men with mentors receive more frequent mentorship than women, with 70% of men meeting with their mentors daily or weekly, as opposed to only 29% of women.

 

Researchers at Northwestern University published a report in the PNAS (see the HBR article here) show that successful men and women have very different support networks. Successful men had social networks with “centrality” – a close circle that shared information on job prospects and employers. Successful women also had high centrality, but they had an additional network of 1-3 women supporting them. The dual network goes beyond providing information on job prospects and employers—it gives them information on corporate culture, how friendly the workplace is to women, and a network to ask for support when challenges arise.

 

The same study found that women who had strong dual networks (high centrality like men and a female circle) “landed leadership positions that were 2.5 times higher in authority and pay than those of their female peers lacking this combination.” And if women’s networks were most similar to male support networks: high centrality and no inner circle of women, they were placed in leadership positions that were the lowest in authority and pay.

 

Now, it is important to note that this study was performed on MBA students and not women in tech. More research is needed to confirm that successful women across sectors succeed with similar support networks. However, the needs described by the IDC’s report on women in tech are the focus of women support networks found in the study on MBAs: the women support networks were sharing advice and knowledge of workplace culture, female friendly work policies, lack of work/life balance and opportunities for promotion,

 

Taken together, these studies show men and women both need to be part of the solution to advancing women in tech. A creative and holistic approach to promoting women in the workplace is necessary. First, address unconscious bias in the workplace. Open up discussions and trainings on unconscious bias in your workplace. Are there pay gaps? Are you providing women with access to a wide array of support networks? Remember, the goal is to give them a way to develop high centrality and to choose a close inner circle of women across all facets of the organization, and in their department.

 

Mentoring programs targeted to shift corporate culture, create support networks for women, and address unconscious bias are shown to be very effective.

 

Reach out to the team at Twomentor for best practices, the latest research and a mentoring program customized to your business objectives. Contact: MacKenzie@Twomentor.com

 

Mentoring Programs

Twomentor Partners With WITI For Mentoring Programs

Twomentor has partnered with WITI (Women in Technology International) in order to begin offering creative and long-lasting mentoring programs to WITI’s corporate membership.  The partnership is built to empower the corporate partners with many mentoring options that will improve recruitment, employee engagement and retention across the globe.  Twomentor’s CEO, Julie Kantor will preform the duties of Master of Ceremonies at the 25th Women in Technology Summit from June 9-11, 2019, hosted by WITI.

“Over the past 30 years WITI has been the go-to-organization for women in technology looking to advance their career and grow their community,” said Carolyn Leighton, CEO and founder, WITI. “This new collaboration will allow our corporate partners to take advantage of Twomentor’s unique mentoring programs and help drive employee retention and inclusivity.”

An Association of Talent development report has shown that 75 percent of executives believe that mentoring was a key to their success.  A separate Deloitte study revealed that over 75 percent of millennials believe that having a mentor is vital to their career growth.

A report from Wharton-Gartner discovered that mentors were promoted six times more often than non-mentors, while mentees were promoted five times more than their non-mentee peers.  The retention rate for both groups was as 20 percent higher.  Mentoring has been proven to help develop and keep new employees and it allows current employees to excel, which saves companies as much as 300 percent the cost of constantly refilling these open positions.

 With Twomentor’s unique Mentor Roadtrip Flash Mentoring, companies receive a hands-on session facilitated by our professional staff that will take the participants on a journey of mentoring.  The workshop is a dynamic 60-90 minute experience that will boost your conference and create a culture of clarity around the business case and create a value proposition of mentorship, showing it to be a driver of engagement and retention for employers.  Twomentor also will offer the same service to employee resource groups and associations that desire to launch their own strategic mentoring and recruitment initiatives.

“Our goal is to help create a multi-generational and gender inclusive workforce where businesses benefit from more engaged employees,” said Julie Kantor, CEO and founder, Twomentor. “By partnering with WITI, we can help companies build sustainable mentoring initiatives and further elevate women and diversity in corporate America.”

Kantor will be the emcee at the Women in Technology Summit and will also deliver the Mentor Roadtrip Flash Mentoring experience on June 11th at 8:30 PDT in order to engage the conference’s attendees and help them t support each other in the professional arena.

To learn more about Mentoring initiatives, visit www.twomentor.com today.

Men Mentoring Women- 10 Healthy Boundaries in the Age of #MeToo

Courtesy of Pixabay

Oh, No. Not Matt Lauer! Did Russell Simmons just step down#MeToo continues and seems like a slow-motion movie that plays on and on. There is a toxic vibe in the air in Hollywood, Wall Street, on Capitol Hill, weary HR executives abound. According to an ABC News- Washington Post poll, over 33 million U.S. women have been sexually harassed and 14 million abused in work-related incidents.

In the past year, I have had several companies ask if I could do a special session for high-level male employees and managers on mentoring women.

As I reflect, I have been very fortunate in my life to have phenomenal mentors and sponsors, both male and female. One male leader gave me two life-changing ‘breaks’ including his own job when he left the company. He still mentors me decades later. I have always felt a debt to him to pay- it- forward and help others, especially those getting their corporate sea-legs.

Traveling around the country, most leaders I meet (male and female) agree that they are where they are today, because someone else mentored them, saw something in them, believed in them. These are life-changing, game-changing relationships! In facilitating mentor training sessions I’ve had the opportunity to speak with executive women in almost every industry. Most share with me that men, in particular, mentored them. Men were often in higher positions of power, generous with their time, willing to make introductions.

“I would now tell men to just not do it [mentor women],” said Darren* a male entrepreneur I had coffee with yesterday as we discussed this article. “It’s too dangerous now with all the toxicity out there. You have to be ultra careful and conscientious with what you are saying.”

Will men pull back on mentoring and championing because they are afraid of being inappropriate? Fear the perception of having an affair? Decide only to mentor [or gulp- hire] other men? That would be a massive setback.

Additionally, in the workforce, we are moving to a new era of mentoring managers. The vast majority of Millennials want their managers to serve more as mentors and coaches as a management style. Mentoring is no longer a nice to have or a have to have, mentoring just IS. It is part of the new contract between progressive employees and employers.

Dr. John Soncini, Ph.D. spoke with us about how important ‘Mirroring’ is in mentoring. “We women need mirroring from male sources,” says Soncini. “Mirroring means to see yourself reflected in the eyes of the mentor (or…mother, father, husband, boyfriend, friend) as valuable: including your intelligence, capability, professionalism, attractiveness, etc.,” adds Soncini. “Women, especially need this mirroring from their fathers, so, as an extension, from male mentors too! Clearly, when the boundaries are SAFE, male mentors have a particularly strong and positive impact on the person mentored!”

As I read today about Matt Lauer’s apology as the latest #MeToo-Man-of-the-Hour, I decided that it was time to write this piece on healthy mentoring boundaries and say to men that we absolutely need you as mentors and champions.

Here are 8 recommendations:

1] JUST SAY NO– If you have a history of being accused of sexual harassment, sexual violence, you probably should find other ways to add value to the world. Don’t mentor one on one if you or your HR team feel concerned. If you are in a leadership role or management role, consider mentoring through public meetings with your team or small groups of diverse people. If you are feeling a strong physical attraction, help her find another mentor.

2] SAY YES TO MEETING IN PUBLIC– Yeah, hotel rooms are a no-go for any and all mentoring. Meet your mentee at Starbucks, in a conference room at work, have a great lunch at the new restaurant that opened up. Keep the relationship professional.

3] APPEARANCE & ASPIRATIONS– As a general rule of thumb, keep the focus on your mentee’s goals and aspirations. It’s ideal to have the mentee share 2-3 goals that are the focus of the mentoring relationship. I would keep comments about your mentee/mentor’s appearance to a minimum. “You look very professional today.” or “that’s a nice outfit.” Positively ‘mirroring’ your mentees accomplishments, efforts and sharing empathy in times of challenge are most welcomed.

4] ASK IF YOU ARE UNSURE– Ask your colleagues to help you understand what is okay or not okay. Ask for mentoring feedback. A lot has changed over the past several decades and you need to be up to speed. Something that was a compliment years ago like “spin around, let me see your new dress,” might be a threat today. Please watch this amazing video Deloitte UK put out on diversity. Best I’ve seen. STUNNING and eye-opening.

5] IT’S GREAT TO TALK ABOUT YOUR FAMILY– My mentors have been family men, and I am a family woman. They invite me to dinners or events with their kids, parents sometimes and visa-versa. They ask about my husband Marc and how my daughter is doing every time we connect. It builds lifelong friendships, trust. On the flip side, I had a potential major client behave very inappropriately after a colleague and I met with him. I used the “happily married” response following a barrage of texts that he sent following the meeting. With over 60% women being single, I realized one should not have to use the “I have a boyfriend” response. In discussions with 8 women friends, many single, we decided a clearly stated “I do not mix business with pleasure,” was a simple option to shut down these types of advances right away.

6] KEEP IT ABOUT PROFESSIONAL GROWTH– In a professional mentoring situation, I would suggest 80%-10%-10%.

  • 80% of the conversations on things that will help your mentee professionally, please share from your own experiences and learning.
  • 10% on life, the weather, family, skydiving last weekend or what you did over vacation
  • 10% on other topics that you feel qualified to assist each other with or other shared interests

I would encourage you not to delve too much into your mentees personal life too much unless he/she brings it up. Ask any HR professional and they will likely have additional guidance especially for management situations.

7] AFTER 8 IS TOO JUST LATE- Alcohol and mentoring are just not a great combination. “Lead me not to temptation…” Dinners, bars 1:1 are not ideal. I know I wouldn’t want my husband’s colleagues seeing me out for dinners with a male mentor(s)/ mentees, so I opt for lunch, coffee or a group event if I am at a conference.

8] THAT’S SOMEONE’S KID OR WIFE– Remember your mentee is someone else’s daughter (or son), mother or wife. It is such a huge honor to be able to mentor someone else’s family member in the world of work and more. How would you want a mentor to treat your own daughter or son? I often think of mentees as a little brother or sister, a niece, someone you care for and want to see grow. She does need and value your advice. It’s an incredible gift with a lifelong impact. It’s a sacred trust.

###

Julie Silard Kantor helps leaders build their living legacies through mentorship and sponsorship. She and her team at Twomentor, LLC are helping to build a much-needed mentoring revolution through thought living-legacy leadership work, mentor training, mentor culture building, Mentor Road Trip™ flash mentoring web sessions and more in many sectors. Two adages that drive us are:1] The people who mentor at your company are the people who drive retention at your company and 2] If you want more diversity (i.e. women in STEM), mentor and sponsor more diversely