'She’s been life changing': Why female mentors matter in tech'

Today, founder June Angelides was quoted in the Guardian regarding the importance of her mentor, Amali de Alwis, in her journey to create Mums in Technology. 

June Angelides and Amali Alwas
June Angelides decided to find a mentor when she was on maternity leave with her second child. Working in the entrepreneur arm of Silicon Valley bank in London, she felt established in the industry yet worried about slipping behind. “I had a drop in confidence after my first child because things move on so quickly,” she recalls. “Having a baby makes it difficult to network in the same way – you can’t just join everyone for drinks and you also worry that people will see you as less committed.” She decided that learning to code could give her an advantage when she returned from leave, as she’d be able to “speak to startup founders on their level”.

She found Amali de Alwis, chief executive of Code First: Girls, a coding school that aims to get more women into tech, through a Google search and messaged her to ask if she would like to meet for coffee. “I was too old to do her courses but was keen to see if she could help me in any way. She asked me lots of open-ended questions and helped open up exactly what I wanted to do and why. She then suggested that, as I hadn’t been able to find a course that was right for me, I set one up myself.”

The result was Angelides’ company, Mums in Technology, which runs coding classes that women can bring babies to. “Amali opened up her network to me and was so generous with contacts. She started unofficially mentoring me immediately – she didn’t hold my hand too much, I’d go off and do things and she’d then review them. She’s been life changing.” Angelides also turned to de Alwis when deciding whether to return to work or pursue her business full-time – she chose the latter.

It’s almost like having an agent – someone who keeps an ear out and looks for opportunities for you
From de Alwis’s perspective, her own experience of being mentored – by the woman who hired her in her previous role – has helped her understand what works and what doesn’t. “I meet a lot of people for coffee but I don’t end up mentoring everyone – it’s a very organic thing,” she explains. “One of the biggest challenges for women is having the confidence to enter into leadership roles or entrepreneurship. That’s where role models come in – it’s good to see people’s career road maps.”
— https://www.theguardian.com/careers/2017/jan/16/shes-been-life-changing-why-female-mentors-matter-in-tech