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'Mentor and be mentored' is message at High Tech Council Power Breakfast

By KIMBERLEY HAAS
Union Leader Correspondent

January 10. 2018 11:41PM
Recruiter and professional matchmaker Holly Peterson talks about equality for women in the workplace during the New Hampshire High Tech Council TechWomen Power Breakfast on Wednesday. (KIMBERLY HAAS/UNION LEADER CORRESPONDENT)



GREENLAND — “Mentor and be mentored” was the message at the New Hampshire High Tech Council TechWomen Power Breakfast on Wednesday.

Holly Peterson, a recruiter and professional matchmaker at HubSpot, said during a panel discussion that a mentor is someone from whom you seek advice.

“I think there’s no baseline to be a mentor. It can really be anyone who is helping you,” Peterson said.

Peterson said encouraging women to apply for positions of power is important because female employees are 60 percent less likely to apply for a management role than males, even if they are qualified for the job.

Gillian Tierney, vice president of human resources at Sprague, said women are also less likely to ask for raises. Mentors can help people struggling in the workplace, Tierney said.

Tierney said the best ways to find mentors are to ask someone to help, network and develop relationships. It can be a formal or informal agreement.

“When I think back on my own career, I think of several people who never knew they were influencing me. I’m so grateful to these people, and they didn’t even know they were mentoring me,” Tierney said.

Mechanical engineer Caleigh MacPherson said it is hard to find a female mentor in some tech fields. MacPherson previously worked on the NASA Magnetospheric Multiscale satellite mission, and served as the team leader of the award-winning University of New Hampshire LunaCats. Their mission was to design and build a lunar mining robot for NASA’s annual robotics mining competition.

MacPherson said in her experience, she was mentored primarily by male bosses because there are few females in her profession.

David Armlin, director of services at HubSpot, said he has benefitted from female mentors his entire life. Armlin’s mother was a chemist, and his work experiences in Boston and Portsmouth have allowed him to be both a mentee and mentor.

Armlin suggested peer groups for employees who can’t find a mentor, or don’t want to participate in that type of career support.

Candice Benson, chairman of the TechWomen-TechGirls Committee, said nobody goes through life on their own.

“In personal and professional spaces, having a mentor can make profound impacts on lives and careers. For corporations, as well as individuals, the benefits of mentoring programs can stretch far and wide to increase confidence, camaraderie and productivity amongst a workforce, better ensuring preparedness and enthusiasm in today’s ever-changing world,” Benson said.

The next TechWomen Power Breakfast is planned for Feb. 14 at Manchester Country Club in Bedford. Attendees will hear from Melissa Gersin, the inventor of Tranquilo Mat.

Gersin is a former maternity nurse who pitched her vibrating, infant-soothing mat to “Shark Tank” judges.


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