Ayan Ali started her mentoring journey as an Assistant Editor and finished as a Junior Frontend Developer at Elsewhen. She thanks her mentor, Bruna Tofani, Dev Coordinator at Hotmart, for helping her switch careers and get her first job in the tech industry. Mentoring has enormously boosted both of their confidences and proved that you don’t always have to get things 100% right. What else have they learned over the 12 mentoring sessions together?
What inspired you to join the mentoring program?
B: A personal goal of mine is to make the world a better place for women. I try to encourage and support them to make a difference, so for me, this program was an opportunity to do that and to also expand my network.
A: When I was changing careers, I soon learned that there is so much information out there that it would be less daunting if I had someone to get guidance and support from. And so, finding women who’ve done it before, and getting them to show me the road helped me figure things out and find a foot in more easily.
And were your expectations met since you joined the program?
A: They were exceeded. The success of our regular meetings can be measured not only by the outcome but also by some other soft skills that I developed, such as confidence and putting myself out there. Those are the essential things that led me to the big results.
What surprised you since you joined Femme Palette?
B: I was surprised that I could actually help someone as I was quite insecure about myself. Sharing my experience with Ayan and seeing her grow was awesome.
What topics do you cover in your mentoring sessions?
A: One of the things I enjoyed the most about the program was that Bruna has seen me from the very beginning of my journey - finishing the boot camp - all the way up to landing my first job in tech. It has been an evolution of various discussions, from making myself stand out CV-wise and getting involved with the IT community, to developing more leadership and communication skills as well as understanding the bigger picture.
What have you learned from your mentee?
B: Something I have learned from my mentee and try to remember every day is - don’t be afraid to ask for help, because we are all constantly learning. Ayan is a great communicator and was very focused on the goals which I perceived very inspiring. Also, our diverse backgrounds were a big advantage.
"Something I have learned from my mentee and try to remember every day is - don’t be afraid to ask for help, because we are all constantly learning."
What has been the biggest contribution to your career so far?
A: It is challenging to boil it all down to one, but for me, it was being confident and going for things. Thanks to mentoring, I learned how to leverage the resources I already have whilst also being open and willing to learn new skills and understand different perspectives.
"Thanks to mentoring, I learned how to leverage the resources I already have whilst also being open and willing to learn new skills and understand different perspectives."
What was your favorite mentoring moment?
B: For me, it was when Ayan got a new job. Everything we worked for and focused on suddenly came true. It was a very special moment for both of us.
A: I agree, the application might have been me, but it was Bruna who provided the support and taught me to be honest and to show up for myself. In that job, I didn’t do particularly well in the technical test but because I leveraged all the other things that we discussed during our sessions, I was able to get the job. Without Bruna, I would have never had the courage to maybe even apply to it or would have been put off by the technical test, but knowing that you don’t always have to get it 100% right blew my mind.
Is there something you would recommend to mentors & mentees?
B: I would say focus and passion. And don’t be afraid to ask for help as it shows your proactiveness. Also, the diversity of our backgrounds made this connection extra strong.
A: The goal-setting right at the beginning of the mentoring journey really helped me focus. It is not particularly fun to write down something so abstract but thinking about practical ways to accomplish it helps you make the most out of mentoring. Looking back, 12 sessions later, I cannot believe that we have achieved all of my goals in some way.
And one of my main takeaways is also being OK to be a beginner and asking seemingly silly questions. I am an overthinker and thanks to Bruna, I learned to just put it out there and if it’s silly, you can always laugh at it, and if not, you will get your answers and perhaps help other people as well.
Anything else you would like to add?
B: It was a great experience and I hope to keep our connection with Ayan going also for the future. It is more than being a mentor and a mentee, for me, it is about being close with other people, even if the time is difficult.
A: The one thing I learned is that the world of work is constantly changing and the standard is high. In the past, we had apprenticeships where others could show us how things work but nowadays, soft skills like communicating, building relationships, and thinking beyond the work are not taught at school. They have to be developed through striking conversations and mentoring has that human aspect to help you do that and share experiences with others.
Women (not only) in tech ought to support each other. That is why we created a special mentoring program for women in IT to help them stand their ground and establish themselves in the tech industry. Thank you, Bruna and Ayan, for showing how powerful mentoring can be - not only in one’s career but also in life in general. Good luck in your future endeavors!