Glasgow STEMAspire Experience

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In my 18+ years in the IT Industry, I have seen many changes. The most impactful change is the focus on Women in IT and the inspiring women who drive this diverse and inclusive agenda, so needless to say, it was without thought I wanted to be involved in the Dell EMC Glasgow STEMAspire program.

It is indeed a real privilege being a Mentor and I am lucky to be aligned with a great mentee, Vardah Malik, who is keen to learn and keen to stay in the IT industry. Vardah is about to finish her HND in IT at City College Glasgow and wanted to either move into work in IT or to further study technology or web design at University. We have spent many hours working through her University application, her personal statement and browsing through the courses of interest. I have introduced her to a network of supporters in Dell EMC as well as external Industry Leaders, we even set up time with a UK Director to allow Vardah understand his career journey in Web Production.

What has been most interesting is working with Vardah on the Social Media campaign around the STEMAspire initiative. We have learnt a lot together about social media platforms, the guiding rules around representing Dell EMC online, what makes a good blog (I’m still getting the hang of that!) and how to storyboard and make an animation come to life – check out the links below, and please share the start of our journey on your own social media platform.

Introduction Blog

Information on STEMAspire

STEMAspire Event – 23rd May 2018

The STEMAspire program not only offers one on one mentoring support, but also the chance to get together as a group at arranged events. The latest one in the Dell EMC office in Glasgow was a real success. Read about the key speakers, workshop agenda and highlights of the day.

With the agenda set, speakers confirmed and workshop content ready to go, the Dell EMC Glasgow STEMAspire workshop was ready to rock, inspire and guide our visiting mentees and guests.

The steering guidance for the agenda came from feedback from Mentors and Mentees around objectives and goals, giving the mentees a fantastic opportunity to learn some important lessons in preparing for employment and personal development

The day kicked off with a pitch on the STEMAspire Social Media campaign, where my mentee plays a starring role in a short animation about our experience and the benefits she gets from the program so far. – Introduction Blog

We were then treated to a few key guest speakers talking us through their career and lending some golden nuggets of advice. Take a look at their LinkedIn profiles below….

Key Note Speakers

The first speaker was Chelsea Jarvie, Security and Information Risk Manager at Social Security Directorate. Chelsea has been recognized for her passion for Women in IT and was named “Woman of the Future” by Equate Scotland – LinkedIn profile – https://www.linkedin.com/in/chelseajarvie/

The second speaker was Gillian Docherty, CEO of The Data Lab, which is one of 8 innovation centers set up by the Scottish Government to enhance innovation across key sectors in Scotland. Gillian has been recognized in industry as “CEO of the year” at the Digital technology awards. LinkedIn profile – https://www.linkedin.com/in/gillian-docherty/

Both speakers focused on the importance of Networking and grabbing an opportunity when it arises!

Speed Networking

The mentees then got the opportunity to participate in a speed networking activity. This was a fast-paced networking experience which provided a safe environment to test newly learnt networking skills and the opportunity to meet and learn about some of the external Industry Leaders supporting the event as well as their fellow Mentees from other Learning Institutions

Workshop 1 – Hire-ability

After a short lunch break, the workshops kicked off. I was delighted to be a presenter in the first of the 2 planned workshops on Hire-ability. The hire-ability workshop came in 3 parts.

CV Writing – Do’s and Don’ts

Firstly, Debbie Fraser of Talent Acquisition took us through the important do’s and don’ts of CV writing, from making sure your CV has 2 pages, making it punchy, displaying your skills, metrics and achievements.

Thru the Lens of a Hiring Manager

Ian Capperauld was the second speaker for the Hire-ability workshop and focused on “Thru the Lens of a Hiring manager”, which for some mentees, who are students, was a great insight into the preparation for a job interview, the common characteristics that hiring managers seek in a successful candidate and the enthusiasm that should be displayed.

Personal Brand

The last part of the Hire-ability workshop, which I presented, was about Personal Brand. This short and interactive piece was about how to develop your personal brand statement and how to manage your Online brand. The STEM students were really engaged with the activity in selecting well known “celebrities” and telling us about their public brand and were given homework to go away and develop their own personal brand statement for future discussions with their Mentors.

Workshop 2 – Confidence Building

After a short comfort break, the mentees gathered for the second workshop – Confidence building.

This was an excellent workshop around Barriers to confidence, tips for overcoming challenges and then a great exercise on building your elevator pitch.

Barriers to Confidence

The Barriers to confidence opener focused on turning CAN’T into CAN by dispelling fear, negative self-talk and worry. One of the main quotes – which I thought was very inspiring was “The best way to gain self-confidence is to do what you are afraid to do” (Swati Sharma)

Overcoming Challenges

So, how do you overcome confidence challenges? Its all about the positive and the preparation. The team gave some great handouts around Self Esteem journal, gratitude exercise and assertive communications.

Elevator pitch

The STEM Students had 10 minutes to prepare their elevator pitch and a selected brave few stood up and gave their pitch to the whole group. I was delighted that my mentee Vardah took the bull by the horns and went for it!

Summary

All in all, it was a successful event and the first of many to come throughout the course of the STEMAspire program. The hope is that the STEM Students could take away some key life skills and knowledge and also some new contacts within Dell EMC that they can reach out to in future.  The feedback received so far on the event is very positive and our Mentees left feeling inspired and motivated to take control of their next steps in their journey.

I’d like to thank the amazing DELL EMC team in Glasgow for their dedication, hard work and for driving this very important agenda within the industry. They are a team to draw inspiration from and a real pleasure to work with.

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