By Flora White
This month, which is Women’s History Month, Chief, a private network designed for powerful women executives to magnify their influence and pave the way for others, posed the following question in a 1-page ad in the New York Times and invited others to call a hotline and answer.
My response to Chief’s timely question and call to action is: The future when women lead the way is intergenerational leadership. In fact, tomorrow’s C-suite is leading now, from where they are.
This month, Girls in Tech NY, launched our pilot mentorship program. Paving the way for others is part of the plan – but it’s not the whole story.
We know that mentorship is an essential ingredient to career growth — but how do we reboot yesterday’s mentorship model for today’s workforce? Currently, senior leaders are struggling to attract and retain qualified employees – many of whom are resigning and starting their own businesses. Yes, there is a skills gap – and – this sea change in our workforce is evidence that there’s also a culture gap.
Former CEO of GE, Jack Welch, whose teachings this writer studied through the Jack Welch Management Program, is credited with creating the concept of reverse-mentorship in the 1990s. Jack believed that the youngest people joining the company were far more knowledgeable about new technologies than their managers.
Over the past 30 years, tech has become ubiquitous. Necessity has helped fill the generational knowledge gap. But age bias, in both directions, remains. A job posting from a company seeking a software developer went viral last year after proclaiming that “…Experience matters. We hire old people,” as Fast Company first reported.
From analog to AOL Instant Messenger to Tik Tok and Roblox, relationships with technology, which are frequently generational (though not necessarily), signify more than a point in time; they represent a world to which one belongs.
In Girls in Tech NY’s mutual mentorship model, senior leadership share their experience with GITNY membership, and vice versa. Our membership are largely early to mid-career professionals – digital natives operating at the front lines of today’s work culture, interfacing with tomorrow’s tech. They are not waiting to lead the way; they are paving their own. And they may be hiring you tomorrow.
“Women no longer have a ‘if I can’ mindset,” Shaherose Charania, 33, co founder and CEO, Women 2.0, has been quoted as saying. “Now it’s more about ‘how I can’—be in tech, start something in tech, fund something in tech. That shift is exciting!”
For more on how to participate in Girls In Tech NY’s mentorship program, please contact: [email protected]