Origins of Mentoring Facilitation Work Group and WE20 Events

Four years ago, the Mentoring Facilitation Working Group (MFWG) was founded after its current leads created a concept approved by the SWE Board of Directors.  At WE15 in Nashville, it occurred to us that while there were many mentoring groups throughout SWE, they weren’t visible at the Society level.  This meant that resources were being developed and redeveloped, opportunities to mentor and be mentored were lost and many SWE members didn’t know where to get support.  At the same time, SWE was reorganizing, eliminating regions and streamlining the organization.  So what could SWE do at the Society level to increase visibility and support for the Mentoring element of the SWE Mission?  The Mentoring Facilitation Working Group was born.

Mentoring Facilitation Working Group

In 2016, Upekesha Addagatla and Cathy Meyn put together a proposal to present to the SWE Board of Directors.  It suggested an organization that became known as the Mentoring Facilitation Working Group under the Membership Committee, then run by Michele O’Shaughnessy.  Her support and recommendations combined with Heather Doty’s were incredibly insightful and led to the success of the group to-date.

Our goal was to make our SWE Mentoring groups visible, to obtain common resources where available and to create them when not.  We also wanted to make mentoring more accessible and increase peer-to-peer mentoring availability.

What a difference four years makes!

SWE Mentoring Facilitation Team
SWE Mentoring Facilitation Team

The MFWG began by collecting the SWE Mentoring Groups information.  GradSWE jumped on board early and gave us access to their resources and mentor sign-up documents.  We returned the favor by promoting their efforts at our first Mentoring Meet-Up at the WE Society Conference in Austin Texas.  We had around 40 attendees that first year, and have had 40-50 SWE members every year since.  We started to host collaboration telecoms on special topics, including How to Start a Mentoring Group, Virtual Mentoring, and Negotiation Skills.  Some of these are now included in the Advanced Learning Center.  We started a Mentoring Facebook page on May 7, 2019.  We now have close to 450 members from all around the world.  They post interesting articles, request mentors or mentees, announce mentoring events.  Sometimes they post an issue they’ve faced and other members provide their ideas for resolution.  The MFWG also uses this platform to promote our collaboration calls and new resources developed or obtained.

This year SWE Headquarters launched a Mentoring platform pilot which will soon be available to all members.  The MFWG participated in Origins of Mentoring Facilitation Work Group and WE20 Events mentoringthe pilot and provided comments both from the mentor and mentee perspectives.

To round out the year, the MFWG hosted a virtual Mentoring Meetup on October 27, 7PM CST

More details about events can be found on the SWE Mentoring Facebook group.

We will also lead two workshops on Virtual Mentoring for SWE Latinos Affinity Group and are supporting a podcast on Mentoring for SWE Headquarters.

Most of our efforts are requested by Affinity Groups and Mentoring Organizations.  Our topics are suggested by individual members through our email or our Facebook page.  We’d love to hear from you.

While our MFWG members are all mentors in our own right, we also mentor each other and find ways to hone our essential skills in a no-fault environment.  It’s a fun group!

We are always looking for volunteers who are passionate about mentoring – give us a shout!


Related Content:

Author(s) Information

  • Origins of Mentoring Facilitation Work Group and WE20 Events mentoring Cathy Meyn

    Cathy Meyn is the Chair of the Mentoring Facilitation Working Group. A Lifetime member of SWE, Cathy started as a software engineer. She has been mentoring and facilitating mentoring groups for over thirty years.

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