By Dr Margaret Fletcher, Adam Smith Business School, University of Glasgow
Why participate in speed mentoring? The WAIB speed mentoring events offer junior and early career academic female staff the opportunity to access specific knowledge to manage their academic career based on the experiences of senior female academics who have an established track record in International Business.
Whilst the institutions and schools we work in may provide formal mentoring opportunities these will be limited to having one mentor and the mentor may not be part of the IB community, or have faced specific gender related issues that women experience. Formal mentoring requires significant resources to operate and as a result may be limited to a specific time frame, such as during probation / new lecturer programmes, other initiatives that support later stage career development may be terminated due to changes in resource allocation, or may not be routinely provided by the School. Relevant IB mentors may not be available in the workplace. The WAIB speed mentoring can provide specific advise tailored to issues that predominantly affect women. I was very fortunate to be awarded a Post Doc Scholarship that included mentoring in a strong IB group, but this isn’t the case for all.
The events not only support the mentees, the mentors have found participating enjoyable and beneficial. Mentors get the opportunity to meet with their peers, the other mentors, as well as the mentees. It really is a great forum for women at all stages in their careers and lives to connect and support each other. The events provide opportunities to build, develop and enhance networks of global scholars, between and amongst mentees and mentors. As a mentor, I was able to reflect on the experience, knowledge, expertise and strategies I had acquired since completing my own doctorate, that I was able to share at the session.
Questions can be based around personal and family or specific work based issues, and be general or very specific. For example common questions address how to manage work-life balance, develop career progression in terms of research and publications, build an academic network in international conferences, become an editorial board member (and does this help for publications), balance research, teaching and administration, keep motivate for continuous publications? The advantage of the speed mentoring format is that participants can gain access to different experiences of several successful academics from around the world to help them gain confidence to develop and manage their own career pathways.