Speed Mentoring: The Power of Lifting Each Other Up

As part of our DevelopHer 2025 mission, our aim is to spotlight and connect over 1,000 women in tech members to help lift each other up. That’s why this summer, we hosted our Speed Mentoring event for 60 of our community members at SYZYGY, to give our members the opportunity to find that connection and support mechanism to help each other. To encourage more women to reach the top, we truly believe in the power of mentoring and how providing a step up is vital in achieving your career goals. We wanted to share with you the highlights of our speed mentoring event below.

What is mentoring?

Mentoring is a support system where one person shares their knowledge, skills and experience to assist others to progress in their own lives and careers.  The power of mentoring is more than ‘giving advice’, it’s about motivating and empowering the other person to identify their own issues and goals and help them to find ways of resolving or reaching them. As part mentoring, it includes respecting the different ways of working.

Mentoring tends to include 3 key elements: 

  • Career development
  • Sharing knowledge
  • Helping to improve performance. 

What is Speed Mentoring?

Speed mentoring is a series of short, focused conversations about specific questions. You will meet with a limited number of mentors in 15‐minute time slots each.  At the start and end of each Speed Mentoring round, a bell will ring. Mentees will then move on to the next mentor, and will be giving two minutes to switch and prepare for the next round. 

Challenging Your Limiting Beliefs:

Our event kicked off with a keynote from the CEO of SYZYGY, Ita Murphy sharing her insights on applying neuroscience principles to business and career coaching.

Ita emphasised on how we can challenge the assumptions your brain makes. She focused on how we can all have a little voice in our head, our limiting beliefs that say nasty things to ourselves that can pull us down. Ita nicely quoted “Your thoughts become your reality…so be careful what you think, because your brain is listening”. During this keynote, we learnt the importance on how to manage our thoughts, choices and emotions.

The Power of Lifting Each Other Up

During the event, each mentee had the opportunity to have up to 4-6 speed mentoring sessions with our 2019 DevelopHer Mentors. During the sessions, we asked our mentees to come prepared so they can get the most out of their 15 minute mentoring session

Following the event, we asked our community what they thought:

  • 83% of our mentees were very satisfied with the speed mentoring event
  • 75% of our mentees felt more confident with progressing their next career step or personal goal
  • 75% of our mentees are likely to recommend mentoring as a means to improve their career as person in tech/digital
  • 66% of our mentees found the event very useful
  • 66% of our mentees believe the event helped identified how to further progress their career goals
  • 83% of our mentees were likely to recommend DevelopHer as an organisation that helps develop careers

Our mentees also shared their feedback of the night: 

“It was a really helpful experience, I’ve never attended one like it before. The staff were lovely and I felt really welcomed by everyone. I look forward to more of your events. If you are considering, then just do it. To be in a room filled with people who have amazing stories and are willing to share them with you, to be your sound board and to meet new people also going through similar experiences then take the opportunity by both hands!”

“Absolutely go. It’s not every day that you get an opportunity to be in a room filled with 24 amazingly inspiration & bad-ass women who are all willing to give you tips & advice on your career. I learnt something unique from every single woman I talked to, and left feeling motivated, confident & with actionable tips about where I want to go with my career. “

“An amazing opportunity to meet a wide variety of mentors, gain immediate advice, and start to build longer-term relationships for the future”

“DevelopHer’s speed mentoring sessions are really not to missed (if you are lucky enough to get through) because mingling and being mentored by the high calibre of mentors that attend the event will, without a doubt, give you lots of takeaways and inspiration for reaching or re-evaluating your career goals or challenges. It was absolutely invaluable to meet such highly accomplished individuals in roles I aspire to have in the future and have their undivided attention, even for just a brief time, because they all really took time to listen, share advice and be honest about their own experiences. The venue and keynote speaker was also terrific, providing the perfect setting to get into the mentoring spirit and everyone, from the organisers, to the hosts, mentors and mentees, were all so approachable and friendly which made it all the more enjoyable. I would 100% recommend these events to anyone looking for mentorship.”

A Big Thank You

We just want to say a huge thanks to the following support for letting our community get together:

  • Thank you to SYZYGY and all the organising team, for always being a fantastic partner and hosting the most wonderful venue (the rooftop was a dream!).
  • Thank you Ita Murphy, CEO of SYZYGY for providing the key note speaker session
  • Thank you to all of our 2019 mentors for giving up your time and giving something back to our community
  • Thank you to all of our mentees for taking the time to apply as well as opening up and letting yourself be seen in these sessions
  • Thank you to our DevelopHer team & associates for helping to get this event together.

If you’re interested in taking part or applying for future mentoring opportunities please sign up to our newsletter.

If you’d like to be a speaker or mentor, you can sign up to our DevelopHer speaker list here.

Written by Laura Chung, DevelopHer Co-Founder

6 Ways a Mentor Can Accelerate Your Coding Career

This guest blog is written by Designli

Learning to code is a lot of fun, but it can also be fraught with stress and confusion. Having the assistance of an experienced mentor to help you navigate your journey is invaluable. Mentors can provide a means of achieving your career goals.

Here are six ways in which a mentor can help you accelerate your career in technology.

1. Help in Avoiding Pitfalls

Mentors can provide valuable advice on ways to avoid common pitfalls. After all, your mentor was once a pupil, and there is a good chance that they have encountered some of the same issues that could hinder your progression. A mentor may be able to foresee problem areas and prevent you from making the same mistakes they made. When you are working with a mentor, not only will they be able to answer questions, but they will also be able to help further by showing you how to implement any changes that are needed.

2.  Motivation

Let’s be honest, a lack of motivation is something that plagues all of us from time to time. A mentor can provide the motivation you need to get back in front of the editor. Some mentors may put together study materials and test projects, to ensure that you are continuing to progress.

3. Customised Learning

One of the disadvantages of learning in a coding classroom setting is the lack of individual attention. When working with a mentor, you can discuss both your short-term and long-term goals, and together create a customised plan for achieving success. This can really help you identify and focus on the areas that will aid you in the future.
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4. Help with the Unknown

Coding languages can be mysterious, and at times, downright confusing. Even if you have only been coding for a short time, you have probably encountered issues that seem to have no cause. When you are unaware of the origin of the problem, you may be left wondering where to begin solving it. A mentor can help demystify unknown errors and explain them in a way that is easy to understand.

5. Career Advice and Connections

The best career advice comes from someone who is currently working in the field, and coding mentors are no exception. If you are looking for advice as to which career path is right for you, and more specifically, which languages and software you should focus on learning to achieve your goals, there is no one better to ask than your mentor. Not only can they offer career advice, but there is a chance that they will have connections in the industry that could help you land a job.

6. Real-World Experience

While studying can prepare you for many situations you may face in the real-world, there are times when unique obstacles arise that do not have a concrete solution. Coding mentors can provide you with real-world examples of challenges that you may be forced to overcome, so you will be confident in a similar situation.

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These were just a few reasons to consider using a mentor to help further your tech career.   If you are interesting in being mentored (whether you’re have a technical or non-technical background), read more on DevelopHer’s speed mentoring events.
You can also sign up to our mailing list to be the first to hear about future speed mentoring events during the year.

DevelopHer Mentoring Programme Results

The first DevelopHer Mentoring Programme has achieved its goal of providing women with tailored mentorship from key figures in the technology industry to help progress their careers.

Over the course of the programme 60% of the mentees saw a great improvement in their negotiation skills which led to half of them achieving a promotion and half of the others started their own business, initiative within their company or simply started a new course to grow more skills. The programme consisted of expert panels on a variety of topics including negotiation, presentation and leadership skills, alongside speed mentoring sessions.

By providing their time and expert insight, the mentors from leading technology companies such as Google, Unruly, Lloyds Bank and Cult LDN, supported our aims to help raise the visibility of women in technology.

Key stats from the programme include:

  • Following a key session from Amplify coach Stewart Bewley, 91% of the mentees report their presentations skills have greatly improved
  • With networking opportunities at each mentoring session, 70% of the mentees are now totally at ease with networking
  • As a large proportion of the mentees have made significant changes to their careers since the start of the programme, 80% state they would not have achieved what they have without the mentoring programme

The first DevelopHer Mentoring Programme was a great success which the team hopes to emulate for years to come. It would not have been possible without the help and support from the mentors and of course the sponsors Not on the High Street and La Fosse Associates.

Those results were announced officially at a private graduation party hosted at Decoded on the 9th of March, where each of the mentees on the programme presented their own personal journey to Baroness Joanna Shields, our ambassador for this first programme.

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Credits: Alessia D’Urso for Girls in Tech UK Mentoring programme

“The digital world is incredible, but it’s our bonds with others that makes us human. Top women championing future leaders, taking on the mantle of role model, mentor and friend makes all the difference.

The fast growing tech industry is well placed to lead the way and encourage more women to reach the top. Mentoring young women is a vital effort in achieving this goal. It’s my privilege to support Girls In Tech [now DevelopHer].”

Baroness Joanna Shields, Minister for Internet Safety and Security, UK Government

DevelopHer UK Mentoring Programme Graduation Party

Tonight we are celebrating the end of the DevelopHer UK Mentoring Programme with a graduation party, graciously hosted by Decoded.

Baroness Shields, Ambassador of the programme bringing mentors, will give a speech to congratulate the women that have embarked on the programme and taken steps to forge a successful career in tech.

Kathryn Parsons, Founder of Decoded, and the DevelopHer team will follow with short speeches on the need for more visibility to women who are working in tech and the importance of a supportive network to succeed.

DeverlopHer’s first mentoring programme cohort of 15 mentees will each present their story and experience of the mentoring programme.  A number of inspirational mentors will be attending as well as some of the hundreds of women that applied to the mentoring programme last year.

The programme results will be released on the night along a promotional video for the next programme starting in September 2016.

A very special thank you to Not on the High Street and La Fosse Associates for generously sponsoring the programme.

Evening agenda:

  • 6:30pm – Welcome drinks
  • 7pm – Speeches from Baroness Shields, Kathryn Parsons, Girls in Tech team
  • 7:30pm – Speeches from each of the mentees
  • 8pm – Networking, drinks & canapés

For press enquiries: please contact developher.org@gmail.com

Girls in Tech Mentoring Programme – Got questions?

As the deadline for applications for the Girls in Tech Mentoring Programme approaches, (31st July extended deadline until Monday 3rd of August), we thought we’d write a brief blog post to give you the latest and freshest information.

When does it start and what is the format?

The programme will start on the 9th of September and will run for six months. It will consist of evening speed-mentoring sessions once every five weeks, with key members of the technology industry. Each session will cover a specific topic, this could be anything from top tips for startups, to how to negotiate a raise. Mentees must attend all sessions to get the most out of the programme. It is possible to miss only one session if strictly necessary, although we strongly advise you attend each one.

Can I still apply?

Yes – we have received hundreds of applications already but it does not mean that we have made any decisions yet – on the contrary, we are still hungry for applications. If you are an entrepreneur, or working within a very corporate company, or just thinking of starting your own company – the mentoring programme is still open to you. We have to repeat it here that it is less about what you do than the state of mind you are in at the moment. Do you have big unrealised ambitions and want to grow them? Then yes, the Girls in Tech Mentoring Programme is for you.

Who are the mentors?

Our mentors are 80% women and 20% men, because we do believe in and want to practice diversity. These are people who have outstanding achievements, are part of the Girls in Tech network and many of whom are already experienced mentors. The mentors are people we selected and genuinely interested in giving back and supporting talented women – they are people you can trust to be professional and confidential.

Can I see the list of mentors?

Not yet. We will communicate our list of mentors to you if your application is selected. However, prior to that, we are more interested in hearing about your own personal story, your motives and what you need from the mentoring programme – than how such and such mentors are essential for you to grow.

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How will the matchmaking happen between mentors?

There will be 10 mentors at each session, they will have received the your bios prior to the session. The mentees will present for one minute their questions for the evening based on the topic and any progress made from the previous week. Based on this and the bios, the mentors will select who they would like to mentor for that particular session.

If you are not selected by your chosen mentor that evening, you will still get an opportunity to informally network with them once the session is over.

Can I follow up with mentors?

Only if they give you their business cards. That means that they want to see and follow up with you.

I am not sure I am hungry for it enough…

Whatever stage you are at in your journey there is always room for development, learning and stretching yourself out of your comfort zones. Take a risk, push yourself and go for a new experience meeting new people, experienced mentors and learn from the best in the industry. Why not give your career a huge boost this autumn with the Girls in Tech Mentor programme?

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As a Chinese proverb says “one who stays near vermilion gets stained red, and one who stays near ink gets stained black” or said differently “one takes on the colour of one’s company”. The metaphor teaches us that one’s habit may change or come under the influence of other people, events or conversations. We hope that by taking part in the Girls in Tech London Mentoring Progamme it will encourage ambition, entrepreneurialism and positive attitudes amongst our mentees and mentors.

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Still have questions? Come to our breakfast networking event this Friday 31st of July, or post them on on our private Facebook group.

Send your application before Friday the 31st of July: mpapplications@girlsintech.org

Creating Female Leaders

The Inspiration behind the Girls in Tech Mentoring Programme

At Girls in Tech we work hard to support and raise the visibility of women in technology. Through different events and initiatives, like our list of female speakers or April weekend coding event, we are directly reaching women in the industry and fostering a close-knit community in London.

Sessions like these always get a strong turnout and often include many prominent women who are already achieving great things in tech.

Having said that, we care about providing events geared toward those women who do not yet have career confidence – we want to create a community to nurture tech’s up-and-coming women. It is through this desire that the Girls in Tech Mentoring Programme was born.

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During my time championing Girls in Tech and raising the profile for women in the industry, I have had the privilege to interview many prominent men and women working in the sector. A few interviews stick out and were the catalyst for my inspiration to start the Girls in Tech Mentoring Programme. It was mentioned by multiple industry leaders time and time again that the key differentiator between men and women in tech was confidence – or perceived confidence.

In these interviews it became apparent that women were seen as less likely to ask for a promotion than men. Though this is not always the case, the perception is that women will more likely want to prove themselves to managers to put them forward for promotions, rather than the women ambitiously going after a promotion based on potential. As Kate Heddleston writes it, it is much more a recognition pattern than a societal bias made-up against women.

When looking for new hotshot engineers, founders, or leaders, people default to these stereotypes about past patterns and often look for people who are young, white, or male. Even when we encourage people who are different from past examples to take on these roles, we have a hard time letting go of the patterns we’ve seen and expect them to exhibit behaviuor in line with our idea of success.

It became clear to me that what London is currently missing is a programme that builds not just the confidence of women in technology – those schemes are numerous and already exists – but simultaneously a scheme that encourages career development to become a leader in one’s company. A scheme that could reveal to women their own deceiving behaviours and how to go about gender biases in a non-blaming or victim way.

With this in mind, we have created the Girls in Tech Mentoring Programme.

For this 6 month mentoring scheme we are looking for women who have not yet reached their full potential in the tech industry but yet are working for fast growing companies or scale-ups and want to grab their part before they get drowned in the crowd of new employees.

We want women to become CEO’s of their own companies, or go take risks launching a spin-off of their own. Some people call this “intrapreneurship”. Whatever the word, we are looking for women who feel or are recognised with big potential but don’t know how to go or have not yet been fully aware about it.

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The mentoring sessions will be organised with established industry figures. They will cover key topics essential to career development, and more personal topics related to expectations like how to get a raise or tips for building a successful startup.

Our unique mentorship programme will provide a valuable opportunity for support and growth of the next generation of Girls in Tech. After 6 months we hope to look back and see significant career advancements for those who have participated in the programme – increased roll responsibilities, raises, or promotions.

To find out more about the mentoring scheme and how to secure a place as a mentee, please attend our breakfast session at 8am on the 8th of April. More details to follow this week. Get your ticket and see you there!