CATA WIT’s e-mentoring program: How it works

CATA’s Women In Technology (WIT) division has opened up its e-mentoring program to young women in technology who are looking for leadership development advice.

Sandra Saric, vice-president, mentoring at CATA WIT, says the applicants complete a profile outlining their experience, aspirations and development interests.

CATA-WIT and CIOCAN recently launched the program with a speaker who outlined best practices for e-mentoring. Following that talk, the pairs spent the next 45 minutes connecting over the phone to talk about the rules of the road and establish the objectives and boundaries of the relationship, says Susan Doniz, CIO Canada Global Business Services at Procter & Gamble Inc., a member of CIOCAN’s board of directors and a mentor participating in the program.

Pairs have the flexibility to decide how often to connect, whether or not to meet in person and the kind – and frequency– of communication that will be acceptable.

And although the program is designed to develop women in IT, not all mentors will be female.

“We all recognize we have had male mentors too and both have been extremely helpful,” says Doniz. “If I had had only a female mentor I probably wouldn’t be where I am today.”

Upon completion of the program, CATA-WIT and CIOCAN will conduct surveys to try to determine the success of the relationships in achieving the goals the mentees set at the beginning. And although each participant will have a personal goal, the two organizations have a longer-term, broader vision of success that relates to contributing to Canada’s ability to innovate and compete globally.

“Our ultimate outcome is to increase the number of women in IT leadership positions,” Saric says. “We’re hoping of the 26 we have 26 future leaders.”

And those 26 will eventually, hopefully mentor 26 women for IT leadership positions. “It’s that sort of pay-forward concept.”

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