We recently interviewed Tina Krogull (Senior Technical Account Manager) and Daniel Sacristan (Senior Director of South EMEA Delivery) about their reverse mentorship program, their insights, and why this program works for them.
Since its relaunch earlier this year, VMware’s Reverse Mentorship program now has over 100 pairs of employees engaged in reverse mentorship and anchored in a process that requires an individual in a less senior position to mentor the individual in a more senior role. A key objective for this program is that our mentees gain a new perspective, engage confidently with leadership, and implement best practices for inclusive leadership on their teams, thereby driving positive DEI outcomes for the company aligned with our FY23 goals.
Why did you get involved in the Reverse Mentoring Program?
TK: It’s a funny coincidence ― Daniel asked me the same question during our initial reverse mentoring call! I heard about this program for the first time at a Company Meeting at the start of this year. Raghu (VMware CEO) mentioned the program and I was really interested, but I did not sign up for it back then. Then, a few weeks later, the program was highlighted in an email, and this time, I decided to sign up.
I view reverse mentorship as an opportunity to meet a senior leader at VMware that I wouldn’t typically meet as part of my role at the company. I also think of it as an opportunity and an invitation to share my point of view and understanding of topics that are important to VMware, to my role as a Technical Account Manager, and on a personal level, to myself.
DS: I received great feedback from other VMware leaders on their reverse mentoring experiences and I was eager to engage with and learn from someone in a different region and a different line of business at VMware about how they viewed our strategy, our DEI culture as well as about how we develop our people.
How would you describe your overall experience of the Reverse Mentoring Program?
TK: I find that it is a great way to get insights, views, and opinions on various topics relating to VMware’s business as well as development from someone else. I find that I can openly talk with Daniel and we both provide each other with honest feedback. It’s interesting to see that the understanding on both sides can be the same and can also be different. This always gives us something to talk about!
DS: Simple, it couldn’t be better. Getting to know Tina has been fantastic from a business perspective because she brings so many different insights on so many topics, and it is also a great personal experience as our engagement grows stronger.
Kindly share an example of a topic of discussion or activity that you undertook as a mentor and mentee?
TK: We both have the Technical Account Manager (TAM) background, so we talked about how EMEA started this function, what it means to be a TAM in the current business context, and how the work of TAMs has evolved over time. We also talked about the Broadcom acquisition, which is top of mind for our stakeholders too.
DS: There were many topics that we touched upon, but I can highlight career progression as well as the Broadcom acquisition where I valued Tina’s mature point of view as a colleague.
What is one of your most memorable moments learning from your mentor/mentee?
TK: Daniel started in the same role that I was in when he joined VMware. Our interactions feel easy like I am talking to a peer, where we share experiences and engage in ideating and informed conversations. I also value his perspective on the opportunities that we have inside VMware to grow and develop.
DS: Again, it is hard for me to think of only one example, but I recall when Tina told me about how and why she joined VMware. I was especially intrigued by the fact that she didn’t have a formal background in infrastructure IT ― I found it to be an amazing story.
Why would you recommend this program to your peers?
TK: It gives everyone at the company an opportunity to engage directly with a senior leader at the company. I gain insights and feedback on several things that I am working on from Daniel that has a “management lens” to it. I also learn a lot about topics and challenges that I experience in the field. I think it’s important to have this exchange with someone that you wouldn’t ordinarily meet in your role. I really enjoy our calls. They are fun, interesting, and I think it is time well spent.
DS: As a leader, I value having honest and unbiased discussions on key topics with someone that is not in your reporting line or in your region. I think it is hugely beneficial to understand how the wider employee community views our strategy and company culture.
Tina and Daniel’s perspectives and endorsement highlight many of the long-lasting benefits of engaging in reverse mentoring. Take advantage of the opportunity to bridge the generational gap, challenge your perspective, and benefit from a safe space to candidly exchange your point of view and insights, shaped by your unique knowledge, skills, and experiences.
Learn more about DEI at VMware here.