Written by Juliette Weiss Sept. 5, 2022
👋 Hello!! I am a Design Manager at Microsoft with a proven track record of bringing version-0 products to life. I currently lead the Dynamics 365 Connected Spaces and Mixed Reality design teams.
Why did you decide to become a mentor?
Mentorship is bi-directional. While the mentee gleans knowledge and guidance, they are actually opening up their mentor’s view of the world. As a design leader in Big Tech, I knew my view was limited and decided that mentoring others would give me the opportunity to widen my perspective.
Choosing MentorCruise as the platform to do so fits well into my personal financial goals, as well. I had been looking for ways to increase my number of income streams, authentically. How might I do things I love and make money for it? Mentoring here has made that goal come true.
How did you get your career start?
Prior to transitioning into tech, I came from a traditional Bauhaus graphic design education at RISD. I had a sharp focus on brand and package design, working for companies such as Landor Associates, Airbnb, and Subaru of New England. While I appreciated the craft of design, I craved the business logic paired with it.
Fortunately, I was still in college when I had this revelation which gave me more flexibility than some have during a career switch. I decided to take time off from school and intern at IBM and Microsoft. Those internships solidified that a career path in UX would be a perfect pairing of my passions for both design and business.
I joined Microsoft full-time in 2016 and was instantly hit with a wave of imposter syndrome. Did I really belong here? Do I know what I am doing? There seemed to be so much more to learn! This discomfort was actually quite exciting and led me to continue my lifelong journey of learning. I pursued a master’s degree focused on User Research and a graduate certificate in Project Management, all while working full-time. My new-found confidence paired with my depth of knowledge in a breadth of areas has led me to a successful product design leadership path.
How do you usually set up mentorships?
When we get started, we will first focus on getting to know each other and ensuring we are a good fit. At the end of that session (and every session to follow), we end with clear expectations and goals for the next session. Some areas that I most commonly work with mentees are:
I have also worked in some specialized areas, such as:
What’s been your favourite mentorship story so far?
Each mentorship has been so unique that it’s hard to say which has been my favorite. With that being said, there are commonalities to successful mentorships.
The best experiences I have had are when the mentees are committed to their own growth and come to each meeting prepared. The diligence put in week over week builds momentum on their small wins and gets them to their goals faster. As a mentor, there is nothing better than seeing someone grow in their confidence over time.
What are you getting out of being a mentor?
Along the lines of how I see mentorship as bi-directional, the additional perspective directly benefits the way I work every day. By understanding designers’ journey breaking into Big Tech, it helps me develop ways to improve the way we recruit and think more inclusively. Often times, hiring managers gravitate towards targeting talent already in Big Tech. Seeing the immense amount of talent that hasn’t had a chance to work in Big Tech gives me more data points to amplify the benefit of expanding opportunities.
Mentorships also provide a mentor with ways to practice leadership techniques with a diverse set of folks. I actively practice questions from the book “The Coaching Habit” to enhance my ability to truly coach and not lead teams with my own biases.
71% of Fortune 500 companies can't be wrong – mentorship is crucial to career growth. Our free 'state of mentorship' shows you the facts, stats and studies on this career superpower.
Including 10% discount on your next session!