Mentoring in Arab Culture

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One of my motivations in working with Mai Temraz (of Palestine) and Seham Al Jaafreh (of Jordan) to create the Arabic Mentor-Protege video set by Everwise was to respond to discussions I had in the Middle East last year. As I wrote in my February 2013 blog entry “Honoring Our Own Generosity“, I was surprised and concerned to be twice told that in Arabic, that the saying is not “Give and Take” but “Take and Give”. Some doubted that mentoring would work in Arab culture. Yet, I have been treated with nothing but extraordinary generosity in my travels in the Middle East.  Also, in the last four years, I have seen the TechWomen Emerging Leaders from the Middle East thrive in that professional mentoring program.  I think that mentoring fits beautifully into the ancient Arab tradition of hospitality.

In October 2014 in San Francisco, Mai and Seham and I worked together to record the seven videos posted on my YouTube channel:

The seven videos are getting a small amount of attention and I hope that they will get more.  These videos present mentoring in simple words, communicating to potential mentors and proteges. If you are interested in mentoring but do not understand exactly how it can work for your circumstances, this series is for you. Mentoring is new to many cultures, and not all languages even have a word for the practice.

Photo copyright 2014 by Katy Dickinson

 

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Notable Woman in Computing Duy-Loan Le

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I was honored to talk with Duy-Loan Le in San Francisco yesterday about mentoring, and about the Notable Women in Computing playing card and poster project in which she is one of the 54 honorees. You can read updates about the ongoing “Notable Women” production on my daughter Jessica’s webpage and on our Kickstarter page.

Duy-Loan Le is a wise and very successful person and technical leader. I have heard her story several times in keynote speeches: her life and remarkable accomplishments are inspiring.  Duy-Loan Le’s second edition card reads:

  • Senior Fellow-Texas Instruments, WITI Hall of Fame, ABI Women of Vision, Golden Torch Award for Exemplary Citizenship in the Vietnamese American community.
  • For contributions to Digital Signal Processor microelectronics technology, and as the 1st woman and 1st Asian TI Senior Fellow.

Thanks to Everwise Founder and CEO Mike Bergelson for taking our picture!

Image Copyright 2014 by Katy Dickinson

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Everwise Blogs by TechWomen

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Everwise just posted another in its series of blogs about TechWomen (the US State Department – Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs’ mentoring program) and hosting two Emerging Leaders in San Francisco, in October 2014.  Here is the whole blog set:

Mai is still traveling in the USA, visiting family, but Seham has returned to Jordan. Hers is the first donation of “Notable Women in Computing” card decks to be delivered to actual users in the field. Here are Seham’s cards being checked out at the Mutah Knowledge Station (Karak, Jordan):

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Images Copyright 2014 by Katy Dickinson and Seham Al Jaafreh

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Done is Better Than Perfect

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My motto has long been “Done is Better Than Perfect“.  I find myself saying it many times to my mentees, and they sometimes ask where it is from.

The quote is dated about 1979, by Anne Mollegen Smith, former Editor-in-Chief of major magazines including Redbook, and Working Woman. “Done is Better Than Perfect” is one of the sayings picked up by Facebook and popularized in a series of posters around 2010. It is sometimes attributed to Sheryl Sandberg, who was about ten when Anne Mollegen Smith first popularized it!

I think I first saw it on a quote-a-day calendar my mother gave me many decades ago. I kept that paper scrap pinned over my desk for many years.

Image by Katy Dickinson

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Mutual Invitation with Positive Review

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I was excited to meet Rev. Eric Law (Founder and Executive Director of the Kaleidoscope Institute) today at the annual convention of the Episcopal Diocese of El Camino Real in Salinas, California. Rev. Law is the developer of Mutual Invitation, a popular and effective method for inclusive communication between a variety of people. He was interested to see the “Mutual Invitation with Positive Review” diagram I created for reference by the Everwise Women’s Group this week. So, I am posting it here.

Mutual Invitation was designed for multi-cultural settings where it is important for all voices to be considered. It encourages sharing of power and careful listening to both the reserved and the talkative members of a group. Mutual Invitation works best for groups of 12 to 15 people and only when there is time available to listen to all views.

In this diagram, I combined Rev. Law’s Mutual Invitation method with something I am calling Positive Review. This is a way to consider a proposal (or a job candidate, or idea – something complex) in a balanced way.  I did not create either method but have used both, and find that they also work well together.  In my earlier blog post Why Ideas are Killed, I quoted Charles Kettering:

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.

I find that the Positive Review method keeps a group from savaging something new – because it is easier to be negative.  That is, Positive Review allows people time to understand benefits well before turning to disadvantages. Using Mutual Invitation and Positive Review together takes time to process but is a effective combined method of giving a balanced, inclusive, review to a complex subject.

Update: Thanks to Rev. Eric Law for re-publishing this blog entry!

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Recording TechWomen

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During October, Everwise was pleased and honored to host two TechWomen Emerging Leaders: Mai Temraz (of Palestine) and Seham Al Jaafreh (of Jordan) in San Francisco. One of the projects we three worked on all month was making a series of videos about mentoring – featuring Seham and Mai speaking in Arabic. I have been processing the videos, adding music and animation. Six of the seven recordings are already posted on YouTube:

15 November update: Why Mentoring? (In Arabic), Featuring Seham Al Jaafreh, has now been posted – that is the whole initial video set!

These videos present mentoring in simple words, communicating to potential mentors and proteges. If you are interested in mentoring but do not understand exactly how it can work for your circumstances, this series is for you. Mentoring is new to many cultures, and not all languages even have a word for the practice.

In addition to these videos, Mai and I were audio-recorded by StoryCorps at the San Francisco Main Public Library. Also, a picture including Seham and me was featured on the TechWomen banner on display at the US State Department in Washington DC. It was a well-recorded month!

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Images Copyright 2014 by Katy Dickinson.

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Webinar: Overcoming Mentoring Program Challenges

Update 10 November: I am sorry to report that the 11 November Everwise webinar has been postponed. I appreciate your support and interest and hope you will join future events. – Katy

Join the next Everwise Webinar to hear special guest speaker, Dr. Audrey Murrell, Associate Dean of the University of Pittsburgh’s College of Business Administration, and co-author of Intelligent Mentoring: How IBM Creates Value through People, Knowledge, and Relationships. I will be the webinar host!

Mentoring can produce remarkable benefits to employee productivity and engagement, but how can we develop a program that scales? In this webinar you’ll learn:

  • The most common hurdles to running a mentoring program
  • Key solutions to mitigate these challenges
  • How to create a program that achieves its full potential

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