PDXWIT Mentorship Program:

Frequently Asked Questions

Program Overview

What type of mentorship do you offer?

Our program centers on professional mentorship: how to develop and grow your career. Some examples of professional mentorship include: how to get in tech, how to advance your career, how to move into leadership, how to balance work and life, etc. Additionally, since many of the mentors have a lot of experience in the industry, they can also support you through tough career challenges such as workplace harassment, bias, and discrimination.

I am looking for technical mentoring (i.e. how to learn a specific coding language). Can I find a mentor for that?

At this time, we provide professional mentorship only. For technical mentoring, there are programming language-specific meetups in town where you may be able to find a mentor for your technical questions. We do get this ask often and have it on our roadmap to consider for the future.

I have a one-time question for a mentor, for example, how to prepare for an upcoming interview, or what updates my resume needs. Should I sign up for a mentor in that case?

We designed this program to give professional, long term mentorship opportunities to the Portland community. You can seek ad-hoc support via our Slack group in the #jobs and #askafriend channels.

How many years of experience do I need as a mentor?

We generally recommend you have at least 5 years of experience in tech to sign up as a mentor.

Do I need to identify as a certain gender to be part of your program?

The mentorship program is inclusive. ALL people who support our purpose are welcome to sign up. Our mentorship program strives to further the careers in tech of people who identify as women, non-binary, and underrepresented. Note that we will match mentors/mentees in ways that foster the greatest amount of learning and value, while keeping in mind each individual's preference of the gender identify of their match.

Mentee Waitlist

Why do you have a mentee waitlist?

Whenever we advertise the mentorship program, we get approximately 3x the number of mentees sign up as mentors. We are constantly on the search for more mentors and many of our mentors take on multiple mentees. Nonetheless, we have a waiting period before we can get mentees matched.

How long is the waiting period?

Currently, the matching process can take up to a few months.

How can I help reduce the wait time?

You can help us out by advertising for mentors within your company or network. New mentors can sign up on our website.

I am no longer available to be matched with a mentor. How can I let you know?

Email us at mentorship@pdxwit.org to let us know that you no longer want to be on the mentee waitlist.

Setting up your first meeting

How often should I meet with my mentor/mentee?

You should set a cadence that works for you both, but we recommend at least one hour per quarter.

I received a match email. What should I do now?

Connect with your mentorship match on LinkedIn, if the link is provided, remembering to send a personalized note (for example: Hi! Iā€™m excited to match with you through the PDXWIT Mentorship Program. I will send you an email now to find a time for our first meeting.).

Next, send your match an email to introduce yourself. Find a location (preferably a coffee shop) in between both of your offices and an ideal date/time for your first meeting. Be sure to send a calendar invite for the meeting.

I emailed my match and have not heard back yet. What should I do?

We ask that you attempt to contact your match more than once, remembering that emails may get missed inadvertently. Also, please wait three weeks for your match to reply before contacting us that you need a rematch. We frequently see excited participants away on vacation who miss emails for a couple of weeks.

What to discuss in your first meeting

What should I talk about with my mentor/mentee in our first meeting?

Start by giving each other your educational and professional background. Then you can discuss a specific aspect of professional mentoring (for example: advice on advancing or changing your career path or how to become a leader or manager).

Mentors can ask mentees: what are your upcoming career goals, what is an obstacle you face in your current role, how will you measure success in your career, and what tactics do you use to achieve work-life balance?

Mentees can ask mentors anything career-related: what roles in your professional career make you the most proud, what skills or achievements did you need to advance your career, how did you overcome obstacles throughout your career, and what tactics do you use to achieve work-life balance?

How do I determine our meeting schedule?

Talk with your match at the first meeting about what the best schedule is for future meetings. If possible during your first meeting, set up recurring meetings for the next 12 months (for example, at the same time every month or quarter).

Resources

Do you have additional resources I can use to read about mentorship best practices?

Yes! We have a Mentorship Handbook here.

Where can I find the PDXWIT Code of Conduct?

You can find our Code of Conduct here.