The Women Connecting Women Program is a unique mentorship program offered to our woman interns at VMware. This year it was hosted virtually for the first time in India. In our continued efforts to promote a culture of mentorship at VMware, the program is strategically designed to provide developmental opportunities for both the mentors and mentees and to expose women interns to a more extensive women’s network at VMware. This program pairs women employees at VMware with a current woman intern outside of her direct team who will be mentored throughout the internship, thus strengthening the women’s community in technology and enhancing an inclusive work environment.
We recently interviewed one of the mentor and mentee pairs of the 84 pairs from the program – Aditi Srinivas and Richa Agrawal. When we asked them to share a deeper insight into their experience and journey with the Women Connecting Women Program here is what they had to share:
VMware University Talent: Describe your mentor experience in a couple of sentences.
Aditi Srinivas: Mentoring is always exciting as it gives me a fresh perspective. I also love the energy interns bring into the company. I have really enjoyed my conversations with my mentee Richa. It feels good to be able to help her with her concerns.
VMware University Talent: Why it is important for women who are early in their careers in tech to have mentors?
Aditi Srinivas: Having a go-to person is very important, someone who can help you overcome challenges and make important decisions with respect to their career. Having a mentor outside of your team can help the mentee be more open in discussing issues without worrying about being judged.
VMware University Talent: What is the key piece of advice that you have shared with the Intern during this experience?
Aditi Srinivas: I emphasized the fact that one should not be afraid to ask questions in any forum.
VMware University Talent: What is the key piece of advice that you have taken from your mentor during this experience?
Richa Agrawal: The first and the most important advice my mentor gave me in our very first meeting is that it is okay to ask questions even when you think your question might be dumb or silly and to always be a good listener. She also shared her own experiences of her journey in the tech industry, which helped me understand the importance of being curious and to always feed that curiosity.
VMware University Talent: How will you take what you have learned and apply it to your final year of study?
Richa Agrawal: In Aditi’s view, an intern should always keep her/his area of learning wide by asking questions like “What am I working on right now?,” “How is this project going to impact the business of the company and my team?,” “Being curious about things and asking questions about them.” Keeping these things in mind, I’ll try to complete my B.Tech. projects by asking relevant questions from my project mentors and discussing different areas of scope for the project with my team. Moreover, she also gave me a deep dive into many tools (Gerrit, Jira, Bugzilla, etc.) that her team uses for purposes like bug tracking, etc. So, I’ll try to learn more about these tools as they will come in very handy while working in the tech industry.
VMware University Talent: Describe why you believe the women connecting women program is important for interns?
Richa Agrawal: With the Women Connecting Women program, an intern can develop a strong bond with another woman in the same workspace, which helps build confidence as a newcomer in the tech industry. Stepping into the corporate world can be a meaningful change in one’s life, and with this program, interns get insights by asking questions from individual mentors without hesitating. For example, while you talk about work and project goals to your manager, you can talk and get feedback about your personal goals from your mentor. This program is helping me build confidence and trust in what I can do and learn from a community and as an individual.
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