This article was originally published on 18 July 2023.
You can read the original article on the 6point6 website here.
In 2022, 6point6 launched its Women in Tech mentoring programme, pairing homegrown talent with female tech leaders across the industry. To explore the benefits of mentoring, our Chief People Officer Sue Carruthers sat down with Phoebe Swindon and Paloma Rebuelta to hear more about mentorship’s transformative potential.
We have a long way to go as an industry since women are still significantly under-represented, making up just 26% of the total workforce. Addressing this is one of the greatest challenges of our sector, and taking action to encourage more women into tech also matters to us massively here at 6point6. I’m really proud of the steps we’ve taken so far as a business to empower our fabulous colleagues to thrive in their careers – but it has also been incredible to see our employees leading the way, breaking down barriers, and championing the causes that matter to them.
Our Women in Tech mentoring programme is part of the wraparound network of support we offer to our female staff to become tomorrow’s leaders. Pioneered by our people for our people, the programme has been designed to make the sector more appealing to women considering a switch to technology or thinking about their career path after university or further education.
Effective mentoring delivered by strong mentors provides ample benefits, from more rapid career progression and higher salaries, to improved self-esteem, greater resilience and higher job satisfaction. Mentoring can transform lives and careers while bolstering retention and maximising potential. Our vision at 6point6 is to create an equitable and welcoming environment to support our staff to really rise to their potential while encouraging more women to join our thriving workforce.
With this in mind, I spoke with Phoebe and Paloma, active members of our Women in Tech group, to hear their valuable insights into what’s made the mentoring programme a resounding success.
Phoebe Swindon, Senior Cyber Security Consultant and co-founder of the Women in Tech mentoring programme
The tech sector is largely male dominated – and the gender gap only grows wider within the cyber security workforce, especially at the more senior level. The knock-on effect is that as a woman, I feel I really have to work harder to prove myself. That was the driving force behind the Women in Tech mentoring programme: I wanted to create a network to connect my peers with senior women in tech outside 6point6, helping them to gain external perspective and insight, and support their career progression.
I presented the mentorship scheme idea at a company town hall meeting and immediately gained support from across the organisation. Rather than being imposed from the top, 6point6 provides time, budget and resources to nurture our grassroots ideas – it’s a far more effective way because it instils a collective sense of ownership and enables a more empowering culture rather than a top-down approach. We’re now ten months into the programme and we’re starting to think about launching phase II on a wider scale and ambition!
Paloma Rebuelta, Senior Data Science Engineer and Women in Tech mentee
The mentoring programme came at exactly the right time for me. I joined 6point6 as a Data Science Engineer in 2021, and after 18 months I was ready to think about where my career was going and the active role I needed to take in developing my career path. I was matched with a mentor who was the ideal sounding board, especially as someone from outside the organisation who comes with an objective perspective. She helped me create a path that resonates with my goals and values.
To tackle some of the challenges I faced in my career, we devised a plan with time management strategies and productivity techniques to nurture efficient working habits. Connecting with colleagues and expanding my network were top of my list and my mentor helped me navigate the art of relationship building with guidance on effective communication with people of varying seniority and technical levels. Everyone at some point needs mentoring and at every stage of their career development. I highly recommend it!
About the mentoring programme
The programme has carefully curated senior leaders from across the tech sector who are passionate about mentorship and are best equipped to act with their mentee’s best interest at heart.
6point6 provided a training toolkit to ensure mentors and mentees have the best head start and create the optimal environment needed for good mentoring to take place. We launched the scheme ten months ago with phase II expected to launch in September 2023, with an ambition to expand the pool of mentors and encourage more women to become mentees.
Visit our career opportunities or contact our recruitment team to find out more about the mentoring programme and other staff benefits.
About the authors
Sue Carruthers delivers a clearly defined strategy for people and culture to enable our great teams to make brilliant ideas happen. She does this by aligning the HR roadmap to employee success, ultimately maximising the employee experience. Phoebe Swindon is a member of 6point6’s Cyber team. Phoebe is an active member of 6point6’s Outreach team and Women in Tech Group, co-founding and launching the company’s Women in Tech Mentoring Programme. Paloma Rebuelta is a Senior Data Science Engineer and active contributor to the Women in Tech community, co-hosting the Women Excelling in Data annual conference launched in 2022.