By: Anshu, Software Engineer
“The mind is not a vessel that needs filling, but wood that needs igniting.”—Mestrius Plutarchus
A mentor isn’t someone who answers your questions, but someone who helps you ask the right ones. After joining the McAfee WISE mentorship program as a mentee, I understood the essence of these words.
WISE is a community committed to providing opportunities for growth and success, increasing engagement, and empowering women at McAfee. Each year, WISE helps women network and find opportunities for their career development.
Joining the McAfee WISE Mentorship Program
The WISE Mentorship Program was introduced to address how women have been underrepresented in the tech sector, especially in cybersecurity. It’s believed that mentoring can address and improve job satisfaction and retention, which is how the program found its way to India and I learned about it. As an employee at McAfee for over five years, I had the opportunity to learn a lot of new things, but networking was a skillset I needed to hone. I thought this might be my chance to develop my skills, so I enrolled as a mentee.
I was partnered with “Chandramouli” also known as “Mouli” who happened to be the executive sponsor for the WISE India Chapter, as well as one of our IT leaders.
The Mentor-Mentee Relationship
My sessions with Mouli were informal conversations rather than formal sync-ups. We not only discussed the industry and women in tech—but also our personal stories, the books we read and are inspired by. We discovered a common love for badminton, so we started sharing analogies of how we would handle situations at work compared to game and life scenarios.
And the lessons learned were humbling. You win, you lose, you conquer. This thought shifted my perspective to think about how I would react if it was a badminton match. Would I accept defeat even if the opponent was on game point? Would I play differently even if I knew the match was lost? I realized I would fight and fiercely compete. This simple shift started to make me think on my toes daily.
Like many people, I had a fair idea of how I wanted my career to shape up, but with the help of a mentor, I began to steer faster toward my goal. In just one session, we were able to identify areas that were slowing down my development.
Developing My Skills
We noticed that networking was one of my key improvement areas, so we decided to tackle this with baby steps. He assigned small but achievable tasks to me—tasks as simple as creating a LinkedIn profile and connecting with former and current co-workers.
What happened after that was truly amazing. People from all walks of life in the industry, from my school, college, and more, started connecting with me, and it was then when I realized I had made an impression. Now I find it easier to initiate conversations, knowing that people are ready to help and talk about things we mutually love. As small as these strides might be, they helped me not just move ahead, but also provided me with measurable momentum.
Being able to discuss and question the status quo and engage with someone who is more experienced, knows the art of the game, and is a fierce champion for WISE is something I look forward to every month. Thanks to McAfee for giving each one of us this opportunity to help further our careers and to help us dream big.
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