BREAKING INTERRACIAL BARRIERS THROUGH THE POWER OF COMMUNITY AND MENTORSHIP
Community is a very powerful tool available to us as humans. Maybe you’ve heard about communities, and you’ve probably read one, two or more write-ups that talk about community and its usefulness, if that’s the case, then you might probably be interested in a multiracial community of 4000+ women in technology and sciences across 4 continents of the world.
That description talks about Wentors.
What’s a community to us?
A community is a place of people that have things in common and share. They not only share, but they also support and nurture each other.
Humans build communities whether consciously or otherwise, we chose as an organization to build a community saddled with a shared responsibility of nurturing women in technology across the world.
Before its founding in September 2020, our founder, EduAbasi Chukwunweike and cofounder, Unoma Adeyemi, former colleagues at Microsoft had a shared experience of the challenges common to women in technology. Though having different origin stories in tech, they faced similar struggles.
The desire to ensure that other women do not go through the same rough as they did, led to the creation of Wentors; a global community that nurtures women in technology, committed to seeing the increase in the rate of participation and retention of women in technology.
What problem are we solving?
We are solving a gap problem; a gap in knowledge, experiences, solutions to similar challenges, etc. And the best way to ensure that more room is created for women in the technology industry is through mentorship.
EduAbasi speaking about her journey as a career woman in tech said,
“I believe my journey would have been a bit better if I have had a mentor early on in my career”.
We recognize the power of mentorship, the insight it brings, the fresh perspective, the support, the belief and faith in the person being mentored and the years of experience being communicated. That’s something powerful, yet it’s seemingly out of reach to the ones who need it the most.
At Wentors, we become the bridge that connects these two categories of women together; the ones who are willing to mentor and the ones who want to be mentored. And with that, we began building a vibrant community of women in technology that extends past racial bias and existing stereotypes in the industry.
In October 2020, we launched our pilot mentorship cohort with over 500 applicants from within the African continent. At the end of the program, we had successfully provided mentorship and kick-started cross-border relationships for over 200 women in technology.
We knew we had struck the right chord when feedback from our pilot cohort started rolling in. Over 33% of the participants said the program was excellent and well-timed, with 44% and 22% saying their experiences were very good and good respectively.
78% of our early mentors were willing to participate in the program again and 2 years down the line we have silver badged wentors, who have participated as mentors in all the mentorship cohorts launched since 2020.
In 2021, we launched the IWD mentorship cohort to celebrate International Women’s Day 2021 by providing mentorship for 1000 women across Africa and Europe. We had over 1000 applications to the program from Africa, Europe, America and Asia.
This would mark our entry into 3 other continents as an organization as we had mentors and mentees come in from several regions. When we would speak to our wentors and wentees after the program, we got some heartwarming feedback that further ignited our passion to see women in technology across the world receive mentorship.
Here are some of the feedback we got:
Chinyere Nwaudu, a wentee from Nigeria said this about her experience with her wentor during the IWD mentorship cohort in 2021:
“I’m thankful for the opportunity, it came at a time when I was at a crossroads and really needed to figure out the path to follow in IT. Now, with the guidance of my wentor, Itohan, I have certainly gained more clarity. All thanks to Wentors for this amazing opportunity. I am immensely grateful. 😊🙏”
Oluwatobiloba Dada, another wentee from Nigeria also said:
I deeply appreciate Wentors for giving women a platform to interact with other female experts in their various fields. I especially thank my mentor, Janan for her time and advice. I intend to keep in touch with her even after the program is over.
Ellen Andreasson, a wentee from Sweden said in brief:
Thank you for a truly developing journey to learn and believe more in me!
Aarti Balana, a wentor from Hong Kong shared her experience also:
It was truly an amazing experience mentoring Wentees on this journey. They both are very dedicated, hardworking and there is definitely a spark in them. I would be happy to recommend them or help them in future as well.
We believe so much in the power of community, but the community is only as powerful as the people who make it up. We believe we have people who are passionate about the growth of every member of the community.
This value is deeply rooted in the Wentors’ community.
So far, we have provided mentorship for 4000+ women in technology, facilitating the creation of cross-border relationships across the world. We have trained 6000+ women in soft skills relevant to the industry such as; storytelling, personal branding, Networking, impostor syndrome, communication, presentation, etc. Bringing in top experts like Lida Citroen, Alison Shamir, Allison Clarke, Ameen Haque, Karika Yonreme, etc. to anchor these sessions.
We however have been strategically fortunate to have inspired women all over the world to seek out better opportunities in the technology industry.
Our story however would be incomplete if we do not recognize amazing partners and communities who were not only sold out to our vision but contributed resources to ensuring that we can reach as many women in the world as possible.
We’ve had mentorship cohorts sponsored by Safaricom PLC, Dell Technologies, and Amazon Payments, and partnered with Microsoft, ClearStory International, Hernovation, CIO, Women in Tech Gothenburg, also working closely with Jimdo and Stripe to bring recruitment opportunities to members of our community.
From launching the pilot cohort in 2020 to partnering with 16+ organizations in 2021 to launch the IWD program to 32+ in 2022 we reckon we have built and are still building a community that can power the vision and dreams of women and young girls all over the world.
We now have women at Meta, Microsoft, WhatsApp, Dell, Amazon, MTN, Google and many others as mentors in our community,
What’s next for Wentors?
Our bold ambition is to impact 8,000,000 women across the world by 2030. We still have a lot of work to do as we keep our gaze locked on our vision to nurture women everywhere in the world.
In reality, we are getting back to work.