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The Importance of a Mentoring Program by Akhila Sivakumar

03 May 2022 5:47 PM | Anonymous

With warm weather and the start of summer comes the Annual Women in Wireless Leadership Forum Mentoring Program (WWLF). The WWLF Mentoring Program connects seasoned women in the wireless industry with new wireless professionals to accelerate career development, build networks and offer guidance and support. Mentoring programs have been proven to benefit many industries and the value of the WWLF Mentoring Program is seen among mentors and mentees alike. 

The WWLF Mentoring Program runs for a full year with many mentors and mentees participating multiple years in a row. Program participants are required to check in once a month with their counterparts along with attending an all-program meeting each quarter. Throughout the year, mentors and mentees are provided with discussion topics and goals. At the end of the program, participants are asked to rate their overall experience and share what they have learned. This past year, the program averaged a rating of 4.8 out of 5. One mentor commented, “It was a very rewarding experience being a mentor. I enjoyed getting to know my mentee and our conversations were helpful for both of us.” Many of the mentees expressed that the program benefitted their career growth with one mentee stating, “I didn’t even realize the goals I wanted to work on until I started meeting with my mentor.”

Recruitment sites and scholarly articles also praise mentoring programs for what they can provide to both mentors and mentees. According to LinkedIn, mentoring programs allow mentors to learn effective leadership styles, gain feedback, and get exposed to new perspectives. This allows mentors to grow as leaders in their companies and WWLF.  Indeed shows that the mentor-mentee relationship can aid in goal setting, networking, and gaining knowledge. 

I can personally attest to the many advantages of the WWLF mentoring program. This past year was my first year as a mentee and the work I did with my mentor helped me immerse myself in the wireless industry and WWLF. I initially joined because I realized I needed some support and guidance outside of my place of employment. I wanted to work on how I could grow at my current company and how I could build my network in the industry. The application process was a quick one-pager on what I was looking for in a mentor and what I was looking to gain from the program. A few weeks later I was paired with my mentor Ashli! It was so exciting to speak to her for the first time and swap wireless experiences. I’m not sure how the WWLF Mentoring Program board did it but our pairing was perfect! We both had similar interests and the goals I wanted to work on were goals that Ashli had achieved over the last few years. Ashli and I had our mentor/mentee meeting once a month after that initial call, but we kept in contact regularly to share wins, suggest videos/podcasts, and even just to vent. A year later, my role at my current company has grown; I’m a committee member and City Rep in WWLF and I’m lucky to call Ashli a friend. I truly encourage every member to sign up for this program. The lessons learned and friendships made make this a valuable experience for all.

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