Apr 22, 2023 | Saturday

Becoming that better version

Sharing a few thoughts and experiences on mentorship and how its impacted who I am today.

It started at the City

I didn’t realize back then, but the very first mentor I ever had was Edgar. He was the first supervisor I reported to, back when I was hired at the City.

Initially, I was only supposed to shadow his Youth Leaders, as a part of the onboarding process. Then after two days of working alongside his staff, he requested to have me on his team.

Eventually, we’d become really good friends.

I learned so many things from Edgar that I can’t capture them all in these paragraphs. Some of the highlights that I’ve leveraged throughout my career include:

  • how to connect with others by reading/observing them
  • investing in your personal development and education
  • the concept of servant leadership and what it looks like
  • planning your future for the sake of your family

Though we only live about an hour away, I don’t see Edgar as much as I’d like to. Still, we remain close to this day and writing this post is reminding me to find time to meet up with him, soon.

Way more in tech

I didn’t wake up to how effective mentorship was until I switched careers. I’m not sure if other industries or roles promote mentorship as a practice in the same way we do in tech, but they should.

Over the years, I’ve been fortunate to have had a strong collective of mentors, coaches, guides, and leaders. Everyone from Kaoru, Gerardo, and Adam, to Barlock, Jeff, Liz, Abhay, Alberto, and Salva.

(Some day, I’ll come back to list all the things I’ve learned from each of them, but for now, this’ll just serve as a placeholder.)

Then when I think about the colleagues who’ve been accountability partners, or even the many senior engineers or designers who’ve taken the time to help me grow in skills and mindsets — this list of people can go on and on.

It’s difficult to believe that it’s been about 9 years since I pivoted into the tech industry. Call me a broken record but I still love it to this day.

Going forward

These days, I’m at a stage in my career where I'm officially trying to make the leap towards management. As part of this work, my current manager encouraged me to take several leadership courses and find mentorship.

There’s something so humbling about being a mentee. The humility required to be coachable and corrected is incredibly refreshing.

These days, I meet with Salva. Our cadence is allows enough time for me to learn and practice, then reconnect to distill and refine.

So far our syncs have been nothing short of insightful and thought-provoking.

After each meeting, I’m reminded of how the role of a mentor is to help me realize moments of inspiration, and recognize opportunities that I’d not be able to uncover on my own.

As a mentee, I’m learning to discern the various staircases in any work-related situation. Combining guidance and intentionality, I’m then encouraged to take the wiser steps, not for myself, but for those entrusted to me.

I have zero doubts about a good, quality mentorship. I wish it upon anyone interested in becoming that better version of yourself.