I was very impressed with the remarks given by U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton at Fortune’s “12th Annual Most Powerful Women Summit” on 6 October 2010 in Washington D.C. Her powerful support for mentoring, particularly for women and girls, was inspiring. The full text of her talk is on the blog secretaryclinton.wordpress.com. One passage of Secretary Clinton’s speech that I found moving:
I am a firm believer in the power of mentoring. There are women and girls in our country and around the world who have the talent, the intellect, the drive to succeed, but who lack the support. I have become convinced that talent is universal, but opportunity is not. And you never know when what you do or say can open that door to opportunity for someone who is ready to walk through it, but could not get under, around, or over it without your help. And still in too many places, support for women is in short supply. But through mentoring, we can help meet that need. And it’s low-cost, high-impact, and deeply rewarding.
I was happy that in her 6 October speech, Secretary Clinton talked about the new TechWomen Program. Telle Whitney of the Anita Borg Institute (ABI) recently announced at the 10th Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing that the TechWomen mentoring initiative will be administered by the Institute of International Education and its West Coast Center in San Francisco, in partnership with ABI. Secretary Clinton said:
Now, we are just beginning a new initiative called TechWomen that I announced in April during the President’s Entrepreneurship Summit here in Washington. Through TechWomen, we will match women in Muslim-majority countries with women working in tech companies here in the U.S. And we will send American mentors to their protégés’ countries to engage on a wider scale with the people there. We obviously want to harness one of America’s great strengths – our excellence in technology and innovation – and use it to build effective and lasting partnerships with rising women leaders in Muslim countries. And I invite you to participate in that.
As a member of the Advisory Board of ABI for over five years, I am so pleased that ABI is able to partner in the administration of the TechWomen Program.
Two publications about mentoring which I recommend to those who want to know more about this powerful tool for change:
Sun Mentoring: 1996-2009 By Katy Dickinson, Tanya Jankot, and Helen Gracon (Sun Laboratories Technical Report TR-2009-185), 2009
Intelligent Mentoring: How IBM Creates Value through People, Knowledge, and Relationships By Audrey J. Murrell, Sheila Forte-Trammell, Diana A. Bing (IBM Press), 2008