How We Got Started

Girl Geek Scotland set up our mentoring community in June 2016. This was set up in response to

research which identified mentoring as critical to developing careers for women in technology.

Objectives for 2016:

• Create 1 role to Lead the Mentoring Programme, to be responsible for organising events and

manage matching of candidates with mentors through our partners

• Create an annual programme of 4 – 6 informal networking meetings

• Estimated participants per event 30 – 50

• Place 15 people per quarter (a total of 30 people) in 2016

• Develop a network of partners to support our programme with sponsorship and mentor


This is an ongoing project which we expected to grow slowly over time and improve incrementally in

response to the needs of the community.

Performance Exceeded Expectations

We estimated events to attract 30-50 people, and that perhaps 30-50% of the audience may sign up

for mentors. For our first event we booked a venue for 50 people, but due to over 100 ticket

registrations we moved to a larger capacity venue. We expected 12- 20 requests to be mentored, but

instead had over 130 by the end of our second meeting.

Applications were closed temporarily, to enable us to implement a number of mitigating strategies to

better support the initiative which I have described below. We were able to place over 60 people in

2016, and with our new personnel and processes in place we expect to successfully place 200 people

in 2017.

Objectives To Meet 2017 Goals

• Grow our Mentoring Team to 8 people in clearly defined roles

• Diversify programme through a number of channels creating a one-to-many, and many-tomany

model for improved efficiencies

• Develop an online network to engage with wider group (geographically distributed)

• Identify Key Issues and Challenges from online network to feed into the programme

• Grow core operational support from Admin Comms and Marketing to 3 people

• Create an annual programme of 4 Mentoring Events and Workshops

• Provide for 80 – 100 participants per Mentoring Event (up to 400 people pa)

• Place 50 people per quarter, and a total of 200 people in 2017

• Finesse onboaring of candidate mentees (wider group than events programme)

• Finesse onboarding of large-scale corporates to support our programme in bulk

• Develop process for Mentoring Team to enhance quality of matches

Value of Project

Our initial set up included a launch event with a paid speaker at £3,600, and 3 subsequent events at

£600 each, making a total of £5,400 for 2016. These are cash costs and do not include in kind

support or core operations.

Our current estimated budget for the 2017 Mentoring Programme (full cost of recovery (FCR),

including in kind support) is £26,390.00. Core Operations (at FCR) of Administration, Comms and

Marketing are estimated at an additional value of £6,892.13 to support this project annually.

The total estimated (FCR) value of our 2017 programme is £33,282.13.

Lessons Learned: GGS Mentoring Programme, Risks Challenges & Mitigation

Matching candidates with mentors is time intensive and requires gathering of high quality information

from both parties. GGS is experienced in setting up teams and developing clear lines of

communication and roles to meet our goals. We grew our Mentoring Team to eight volunteers to

meet the matching requirements. This includes a Team Leader, four Relationship Managers, two

Online Engagement Managers, and an Educational Development Officer. Each has a distinct role, but

work is shared across the team using Slack. Our relationship managers are recruiters, HR specialists

and talent managers who bring a wealth of expertise in identifying skills, knowledge and experience of

both parties for excellent matches.

We also have experience of outreach and relationship building with industry partners for funding and

in kind support. Previous sponsors of this scheme include Administrate, ScotlandJS, SICSA,

Informatic Ventures. Over the past few months we have grown our partners list for the mentoring

community to include large scale corporates and recruiters, who will be able to offer support by

matching our candidates with mentors from inside their organisations. Partners now includes General

Electric, Sky, Amazon, Fandual, Enigma People Solutions, Cathcart Associates and Spring

Technology Personnel. We also have a number of new partners in the pipeline that we are engaging

through Corporate and Social Responsibility, HR and Recruitment departments.

We are refining our process to improve the experience for both parties. This includes improvements to

key messages across the user journey, capturing information from candidates; onboarding, training

and managing mentors; supporting mentors and mentees during the engagement period; gathering

feedback, and re-engaging candidates and mentors in the scheme. We are exploring software options

to support this.

Fewer women in technology means that the GGS mentoring community includes men and women.

Typically bias in mentoring means that men are told to get specific accreditation, develop skills, gain

experience in handling finance, attend critical meetings and develop relationships, while women are

simply told to improve their confidence. Both male and female mentors are guilty of this. While the

reasons for this are not fully understood, it is clear that mentors need training to provide clear

guidance, a knowledge of the research, and an understanding of how their own unconscious bias

might influence their advice.

We have introduced a programme of 4 events annually, to explore key issues and challenges in talks

and group activities in workshops. This one-to-many model improves efficiency, and the workshops

enable peer-to-peer learning and support. Our programme caters for both parties – improving

confidence, mindset and leadership skills amongst mentees, and sharing best-practice in relation to

onboarding, career planning and progression and retention of women in the sector for SMEs and

Corporates. Our partners provide pertinent case studies, and workshops are designed to encourage

knowledge sharing and community building in small groups. Partners, mentors and mentees are

invited. You can see our full programme here:

In addition to this strategy we created an online network. We have two Network Managers who’s role

it is to provide additional support materials to the community, facilitate Q&A, gather information and

feedback issues and challenges that can be incorporated into future events, to our core mentoring