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

P2P.Katy.Mentoring.Poster-small.18Sep2014

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!

Conclusions

  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.

References

  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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