Building an Equity Mentorship programme 101
‘Be the change you want to see’ is a statement that young Black professionals have heard a plethora of times. As of recent within the Black workforce, this quote is an inference to Black people having to be the spokesperson of diversity within their company, or when aspiring towards positions of senior leadership in homogeneous spaces. But what happens when the change you endeavour to make is bigger than you, the promotion and has the potential to change the lives of others? Tableau’s first partnership webinar Navigating the Future of Tech spoke about the skills and mindset one needs to effectively thrive in the world of technology. Returning with yet another insightful and thought-provoking subject matter, Marcus Stephenson, Specialist and Founder of the ‘Equality Mentorship Program’ within Salesforce, led Tableau’s second webinar with BYP to discuss the various processes that come with building an Equity-Based Mentorship Program and the lasting impact it has.
Tableau is a platform that helps users explore and manage subject data. Currently, it is the market leader for modern business intelligence. After collectively recognising the work that needed to be done regarding diversity, equity and inclusion, the equality group BOLDforce, which stands for Black Organization for Leadership and Development has since been established. The goal? To expand and empower the Salesforce Black community through a supportive network of allies across the company, alongside the facilitation of conversations based on race. A tangible form of this support is the Equality Mentorship Programme, created by Marcus Stephenson.
‘Business can and should be the greatest platform for social change’ believes Marcus, who explained the importance of mentorship in his own journey when he joined Salesforce. ‘When I got to Salesforce I leaned on mentors. Sometimes we find people along those journeys that allow us to transcribe and translate what we are seeing into words we can understand.’ Mentoring is one of the most effective ways to upskill, build connections and progress within one's field. ‘I saw myself climbing the ranks’ but data showed statistically that Marcus would not be able to achieve such because of his background and the colour of his skin.
Upon this, Marcus realised the importance of and that presenting an idea with a community is more effective as there is strength in numbers. ‘Leaning into the community makes you strong, you shouldn’t start with I think this is a good idea, but we think this is a good idea. It shows that there is a community backing you’
His top three tips for creating a like minded programme:
- Plot your idea with a small group: You want regular, consistent feedback from those around you. This will make your idea stronger, durable and helps to shed light on gaps that you may have missed.
- Form relationships: The world works on relationships, one of the things that can separate someone from receiving a promotion or that new role could be that person you know or in an unfortunate case, don’t know. Reach out to people and expand your network
- Make sure that your idea is helping people, connecting them to opportunities that they would not usually have. Endeavour to create opportunities for people who would not always have access to certain spaces or people.
If you have an idea to help people within your network and believe there are still ways that senior management and colleagues can grow and learn alike, then catch the rest of Marcus’ tips here.
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