Samina Azad

Mentors for Women of Color

Discussion created by Samina Azad on Oct 24, 2010

Check out the article in the upcoming November 1st issue of C&E News on mentors for women of color by Linda Wang. Here are some of the questions from the article.


Why should we look for mentors?


-          For career advice

-          To learn from their lessons

-          Simply to have role models

-          To get an understanding of the thought process and/or expectations of employers 


I changed jobs recently and received a tremendous amount of help from all of my mentors. They advised me on how to modify my resume so that it will attract employers, how to negotiate salary and benefits and how to make the best decision for myself when in the end there were several offers on the table. One of my mentors has been an executive in a large corporation for more than 20 years. Her advice was: “Think about what it is that you like to do. Find a job that will allow you to do exactly what you like to do. It is not only about the title or the salary but it will be easy for you to succeed when you enjoy your work.”



Why is it important for successful women and women of color to find mentees?


-         The higher the number of women in successful roles at workplace the better it is for the image of women in general. This benefits all women. The same is true for women of color.

-           And also, you will learn something as well from your mentees



What are the most effective ways to find mentors?

-          Some companies assign mentors to new employees. This is true specifically for those viewed as high potential employees.  Academia also assigns mentors to new hire faculty members.  In most cases, people seek out mentors at workplace themselves. 

-          Another strategy is to find mentors through volunteer work. I found many of my mentors at WCC. Committees like WCC gives you access to many highly accomplished people. It is easy to find mentors/mentees through professional societies like ACS.


Is mentorship more important for women than it is for men?


-          Most likely it is because of the lack of women role models

-          Survey showed more women have mentors than men


I collect the surveys from “women in industry breakfast” every year and we always receive requests for a panel discussion or lectures by successful women chemists on how they decided on a career path, how they started their career and what it took to be successful.


Did I miss anything?