Leveraging Technology to Create a Mentoring Program in a Global Diaspora Context


I have been working with People to People since early 2013 on a variety of interesting projects under the general goal of “Building a Bridge to Africa”. This weekend is P2P’s 6th Annual Global Ethiopian Diaspora Conference on Health Care and Medical Education will be held in Washington DC. Although I regretfully cannot attend in person, yesterday I completed a poster for presentation at the conference: “Leveraging Technology to Create a Mentoring Program in a Global Diaspora Context”. (I love that FedEx-Kinko’s can print, mount, and deliver a poster the next day to a conference on the other side of the USA based on my PDF submitted online!)

The poster presents how a company like Everwise can uniquely support mentoring in the global professional diaspora with effective technology. Dr. Anteneh Habte generously agreed to add the poster to the display area and I hope to get many inquiries from conference attendees.  The image above shows the 36″ wide x 24″ high poster, below is the text:

Leveraging Technology to Create a Mentoring Program in a Global Diaspora Context

Introduction to Mentoring:

Mentoring is a developmental relationship in which a more experienced or more knowledgeable person helps to guide a less experienced or less knowledgeable person (definition from Wikipedia).

Mentors advise and inspire. In practical terms:

  • Mentors make introductions.
  • Mentors give recommendations to resources.
  • Mentors give feedback for the protégé to consider.

Members of the global diaspora need mentors to:

  • Learn from success and failure of other diaspora members.
  • Make connections for particular diaspora value and benefit.
  • Understand concerns of diaspora culture, language, ethnicity.
  • Leverage home-country context to support the community.

Technology & The Diaspora:

Global diaspora technology usage is both like and unlike that of other social communities. Technology such as cellphones, mobile banking, healthcare solutions, social media, and philanthropy may all be approached and implemented in new ways by the diaspora.

Because the diaspora conceptually-straddles two cultures and countries, Geneive Brown Metzger writes that “… existing technologies are being applied in diaspora-focused markets and new technologies are being developed exclusively to address diaspora consumers’ challenges and needs.”

Mentoring & Technology:

Effective global mentoring programs are complex to manage and require excellent technology for long-term success. Many local programs start with a spreadsheet, emails, and an energetic Program Manager – but these are not enough to grow a larger program beyond a few hundred participants or between countries. Managing a successful a global mentoring program at scale is not simple.In a recent global survey of more than 10,000 professionals: 83% said they would benefit from mentoring. Yet, fewer than one in three report actually having participated in a corporate mentoring program. That is, mentoring is under-used in most organizations. Despite this, the success metrics for professional mentoring are excellent. Sun Microsystems reported in 2009:

  • 93% Satisfaction
  • Protégés twice as likely to receive a promotion.
  • Twice the number of “superior” annual ratings.
  • 88% partners worked across distance (not local to each other).
  • 70% of mentors were senior executives
  • 1000% Return on Investment (ROI)

Successful local-area mentoring programs exist around the world, particularly for university students (such as MentorNet in the USA, Mowgli in the Middle East and North Africa, WeTech for girls in India). Enterprise corporations (HP, Salesforce, Tata) and large-scale social enterprises (Virgin Unite, Irish Executive Mentoring, InovAtivaBrasil) usually end up hiring a professional mentoring company such as Everwise to create and manage global mentoring programs. Everwise can provide technical / professional features such as:

  • Multifactor matching process based on a database of successful prior mentoring relationships.
  • Cross-organizational matching (bringing together protégés and mentors from a variety of locations and companies).
  • Easy to use software to support and enable partnerships.
  • Automatic metrics reporting to track and manage success.
  • Trained professionals to add human understanding to the algorithms and databases.

People to People is now planning several mentoring programs. Please volunteer to be a P2P mentor when the call goes out for volunteers!


  1. Top professionals in every field routinely attribute their success to their mentors. Mentoring is just as successful for professional members of the diaspora.
  2. There are extensive benefits for employees, their mentors, and sponsoring organizations – both corporate and social enterprise.
  3. Corporate and community leaders can leverage this time-honored process for developing and retaining talent (at scale).
  4. Technology is required to manage successful large mentoring programs.


  1. Bergelson, Mike. “Why Your Emerging Leaders Need Mentors” 2014 Everwise white paper: URL: http://go.geteverwise.com/mentor-future-leaders
  2. Branson, Richard. “The Importance of Having a Mentor in Business” (August 2014). URL: http://www.virgin.com/richard-branson/the-importance-of-having-a-mentor-in-business
  3. Dickinson, Katy, Tanya Jankot and Helen Gracon. Sun Laboratories Technical Report “Sun Mentoring: 1996-2009”, TR-2009-185, August 2009. URL: http://spcoast.com/pub/Katy/SunMentoring1996-2009.smli_tr-2009-185.pdf
  4. Metzger, Geneive Brown. Metzger “Diaspora Tech: Five Innovations Keeping Us Connected” (September 2012). URL: http://diasporaalliance.org/diaspora-tech-five-innovations-keeping-us-connected/
  5. Mehari, Enawgaw, Kinfe Gebeyehu, Katy Dickinson, Matt Watts, Triangular Partnership: the Power of the Diaspora (People to People, September 2013), URL: http://new.peoplepeople.org/pre-publication-preview-triangular-partnership-the-power-of-the-diaspora/
  6. “Robert Walters Employee Insight Survey” 2013. URL: http://www.robertwalters-usa.com/wwwmedialibrary/files/employee-insight/FINAL%20ENGLISH%20RW%20REPORT.pdf
  7. Russell, Karen “Modern Mentoring: The Good, The Bad and The Better” TEDxOverlake, June 2011, URL: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SSZRtx8m3Z8
  8. Sadoway, Daniel “The missing link to renewable energy” TED Talk, February 2012, URL: http://www.ted.com/talks/donald_sadoway_the_missing_link_to_renewable_energy

Image Copyright 2014 by Everwise

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“Why Your Emerging Leaders Need Mentors” Everwise 1st Webinar


I was honored to speak last week at the first Everwise webinar, titled “Why Your Emerging Leaders Need Mentors”. I think it went very well and was well-attended despite being at the same time as the big Apple product announcement! Ian Gover (Everwise Co-Founder) and I spoke on

  • Why developing top talent is more critical than ever
  • How mentoring can help solve this challenge
  • What measurable results leaders can expect from well-run mentoring programs

The webinar recording is available at Webinar On-Demand. I told stories about TechWomen (working with women and girls in the Middle East and Africa), and about the SEED Engineering mentoring program I ran at Sun Microsystems for ten years. The 2009 technical report about Sun’s program was also mentioned.

The next Everwise webinar will feature CEO/Founder Mike Bergelson interviewing Lauren Leader-Chivee on “Women in Leadership” on 14 October 2014.

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Everwise, InovAtiva, BayBrazil Annual Conference


Ilana Robbins Gross and I from Everwise attended the BayBrazil annual conference: “Brazil in the 21st Century” yesterday on the Stanford Law School campus. I have known Margarise Correa (Founder & CEO of BayBrazil) for some years and admire both her leadership and ability to bring together the Brazilian diaspora of the Silicon Valley and San Francisco Bay Area. Ilana and I were there to learn and expand our network and also to meet potential mentors for the InovAtiva Brasil mentoring program I have been working on for the past year. Everwise just launched the mentoring platform for InovAtiva!

The conference included notable speakers, including the Honorable Mauro Vieira (Ambassador from Brazil to the USA) and Virgilio A.F. Almeida (IT Secretary, Ministry of Science, Technology of Brazil). Both the Stanford Law School and the co-sponsor Rock Center for Corporate Governance welcomed us. Big technical companies were represented by Airbnb, Uber, Evernote, YouTube, Visa, Nike, Google, and DocuSign. The entrepreneurial community had speakers from Movile, Fazedores.com, ADVANCE Medical, and SambaTech. Financial interests were discussed by BNDES, Redpoint e ventures, Valor Capital, Qualcomm Ventures, Atomico, eBricks, and Silicon Valley Bank. I was not surprised to meet Lucie Newcomb (a sister TechWomen mentor) also attending the conference. It was a fascinating and worthwhile day!











Images Copyright 2014 by Katy Dickinson


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Entrepreneurship in South Africa: Branson SA

Jane Rankin Branson Center South Africa - Sept2014

13 September update: 11 September Global Health Forum Recording.

Tonight, I am hosting my second show in the People to People Global Health Forum weekly radio program. The topic for 11 September 2014 is: “Entrepreneurship in South Africa: Branson SA”.

Please join People to People’s radio show – Thursdays at 9:00 pm Eastern Time.
Access the weekly show online or phone 646-595-4742 each Thursday evening.

I will be interviewing guest: Jane Rankin, Training and Development Manager at the Branson Centre of Entrepreneurship, Johannesburg Area, South Africa. The Branson Centre SA is an independent centre of entrepreneurial expertise. These entrepreneurs are making a huge difference not only to their immediate families and communities, but as the business leaders and employers of the future, they will also contribute significantly to economic growth in South Africa. Jane Rankin holds a MBA Degree from the Gordon Institute of Business Science (GIBS) and a Bachelor of Social Science Degree in Industrial Psychology from the University of Cape Town.

The Branson Centre is a customer of Everwise, for which I am the Vice President – Mentoring. I am also the (pro bono) Vice President – Social Media for People to People. People to People (P2P) is a non-governmental, non-profit organization dedicated to improving health care and reducing the spread of diseases in Africa, particularly in Ethiopia and African diaspora communities.

Image Copyright 2014 by Jane Rankin

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Why Ideas are Killed


I was reminded during a recent meeting of this sign that my father, Wade Dickinson, had on his desk for decades. The quote is from one of his role models: Charles Kettering – American inventor, engineer, businessman, and the holder of 186 patents:

Why Ideas are Killed
Man is so constituted as to see what is wrong with a new thing – not what is right.  To verify this, you have but to submit a new idea to a committee.  They will obliterate ninety per cent of rightness for the sake of ten per cent of wrongness.  The possibilities a new idea opens up are not visualized because not one man in a thousand has imagination.

My father was granted over three dozen US patents during his life in a wide variety of fields.  Five more patents have issued since he died in San Francisco at age 85, in 2011. I hope that I can continue to be creative – and to see new things – as long as he did!


Wade Dickinson’s US Patents – Issued Since 2011
8,420,042 Process for the production of carbon graphenes and other nanomaterials
8,377,408 Process for the production of carbon nanoparticles and sequestration of carbon
8,277,145 Engineered, scalable underground storage system and method
8,256,992 Underground sequestration system and method
8,256,991 Engineered, scalable underground storage system and method

Wade Dickinson’s US Patents (1965-2011)
7,914,749 Clathrate hydrate modular storage, applications and utilization processes
6,206,112 Multiple lateral hydraulic drilling apparatus and method
6,142,246 Multiple lateral hydraulic drilling apparatus and method
5,035,285 Gravel packing system for a production radial tube
4,991,667 Hydraulic drilling apparatus and method
4,974,672 Gravel packing system for a production radial tube
4,872,509 Oil well production system using a hollow tube liner
4,865,128 Gravel packing system for a production radial tube
4,852,668 Hydraulic drilling apparatus and method
4,790,394 Hydraulic drilling apparatus and method
4,787,465 Hydraulic drilling apparatus and method
4,763,734 Earth drilling method and apparatus using multiple hydraulic forces
4,750,561 Gravel packing system for a production radial tube
4,715,128 Curvature probe and method
4,693,327 Mechanically actuated whipstock assembly
4,560,934 Method of transporting a payload in a borehole
4,527,639 Hydraulic piston-effect method and apparatus for forming a bore hole
4,524,324 Downhole instrument including a flexible probe which can travel freely around bends in a borehole
4,501,337 Apparatus for forming and using a bore hole
4,497,381 Earth drilling apparatus and method
4,431,069 Method and apparatus for forming and using a bore hole
4,091,807 Intra-vaginal device and method of use
3,938,504 Method for measuring vagina dimensions
3,407,650 Ultrasonic apparatus for detecting flaws
3,407,649 Method and apparatus for generating a high power ultrasonic burst pulse signal
3,407,122 Solar still with a cassegranian optical system
3,299,696 Apparatus for generating, directing and receiving ultrasonic wave trains
3,299,695 Ultrasonic testing apparatus
3,299,694 Method and apparatus for detecting flaws using ultrasonic helical waves
3,282,087 Apparatus for generating ultrasonic waves
3,250,120 Method and apparatus for determining flaw locations
3,186,216 Method and apparatus for generating and receiving ultrasonic helical waves
One more from the 1950s… Still looking

Image Copyright 2014 by Katy Dickinson

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US-India Panel Hosted by IIE at LinkedIn


I enjoyed hearing the “Roundtable on Strengthening Educational Ties between India – U.S.” panel from Gujarat last week.  The event was hosted by the Institute of International Education, with Trish Tierney of IIE-SF as the moderator. The panel was held at the LinkedIn San Francisco offices when registration numbers outgrew the original venue.  I was particularly interested in the discussion about the importance of entrepreneurship and mentoring in India.

The subject of women in technology came up several times. My favorite quotes:

  • “We are focused on women because men would happen in any case.”
  • “For women, Engineering is the last frontier.”

Image Copyright 2014 by Katy Dickinson

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Street Memorial for Toddler Mi-Yana Gregory


Walking to lunch every day in the San Francisco Mission District, I noticed this sad memorial to the hit-and-run traffic death of toddler Mi-Yana Gregory. The police are still looking for the car and driver that killed the two year old girl. Her family is raising funds to pay for Mi-Yana’s memorial service. 109 people have donated so far toward the $5,000 goal – with $500 left to collect.



Images Copyright 2014 by Katy Dickinson

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