I spoke about “Empathic Mentoring for Developers” for the Brazilian developer community.
The last two years, I have spent most of my time mentoring developers from underrepresented groups in the IT industry in Norway. I have focused especially on helping people with mental illnesses and disabilities, autism and aspergers, and also anxiety and depression. Too few companies hire or interview these people because of prejudices.
Mentoring by believing, trusting, supporting and deeply caring can transform the relations with your mentees, and I have personally seen wonderful people landing jobs and trainee positions one after another. They overcome challenges most others wouldn’t think they could, at times, not even themselves. The latter, is the hard part of mentoring: change does not happen over the night or a couple of days, but months. You need to patient, and willing to follow up your mentee over a longer period of time.
There is a ton of material, talks, and courses already about becoming a mentor, so why should you listen to this talk? I believe the existing material often miss some crucial points - the aspect of servant leadership, deep empathy, inspiration and vision. In my talk, I explain how I think about these important topics, and how I put these them into practice.
People from underrepresented groups do not need teaching - they need human beings believing in them, seeing them and giving them a chance. Any person in a position of power, can choose to use that power to help others or silently ignore people. As a leader, I chose to help and to include more developers from underrepresented groups into the communities and to mentoring programs so they can get into jobs. In the talk, I tell how others can do the same.