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Lea Skrinjar – Meet the Mentor

I’m a seasoned Product Strategy Consultant and the Founder of Pax6 Design Consultancy with a decade of experience in Product under my belt. I began my career as a teaching assistant and researcher in the fields of Architecture and Urban Planning which has contributed to the knowledge and approaches I use now. Besides work, you'll often find me immersed in my passions—competitive tennis and piano.
Lea Skrinjar

Founder & Product strategy consultant, Pax6 Design Consulting

Why did you decide to become a mentor?

At some point in your career, if you are good at your job and surrounded by people who want to learn, you become a mentor - sometimes without knowing it. People start coming to you for advice. And they keep coming. That is how I started. Then, I started gaining mentoring requests and seeing ads for job positions and mentorship platforms. I’ve always enjoyed teaching, sharing knowledge, and motivating people in their projects, so I stay open to similar opportunities when they come to me. Mentoring is an incredibly fulfilling experience that brings me great joy. What truly excites me is the eagerness of my mentees to learn and grow. It's a level of interest that is often rare when working with a larger group, particularly within a university setting. This genuine curiosity and thirst for knowledge is one of the key factors that has kept me engaged in mentoring throughout my journey.

How did you get your career start?

While employed as a researcher and teaching assistant in architecture and urban planning at the university, I pursued a side job in UI/UX design as an interest. As I created my own learning journey and relentlessly acquired knowledge, I realized the reward of working in product design and decided to focus on it. Although I did not have formal mentors, I received a tremendous amount of support and guidance from influential people in the industry, following their books, courses, and events. In addition, I was able to transfer a lot of knowledge - design methods and processes - from architectural design to product design. I had a good starting point. It was natural for me to approach holistically and strategically, and to do research. Therefore, I found myself engaged in strategic projects almost immediately.

What do mentees usually come to you for?

Mentees seek my guidance for a range of reasons, from tackling specific design challenges to honing their skills for a career in UX or product design. Some arrive with a clear set of tasks, while others come with broader goals in mind. I also work closely with designers embedded in startup environments, helping them navigate the unique challenges of fast-paced innovation. Effective mentorship hinges on understanding each mentee's individual background, aspirations, and learning style. Often, it takes time for mentees to fully grasp the depth of what a mentorship can offer, especially if it's their first experience. Distinguishing between a one-time consultation and an ongoing mentorship is crucial; the latter involves a more holistic and sustained approach. What's particularly rewarding is that our journey together often transcends their initial objectives. It's a dynamic process, evolving as we uncover new areas of growth and development. I find it fascinating to discern what will be most beneficial for each mentee and to strategize on how to help them reach their desired milestones. This holistic approach ensures that our mentorship is not just about meeting their immediate needs, but also about nurturing their long-term growth in the field.

What's been your favourite mentorship success story so far?

Over the past two years, I've had the privilege of mentoring over 20 individuals, some of whom I've worked closely with for extended periods. Each mentee's journey and accomplishments are a testament to the power of mentorship. Witnessing their progress, regardless of the form it takes, is deeply gratifying. Some have embraced new skills, while others have expanded their perspectives. A few have made significant strides with their startups, and there are those who have secured jobs in the field. One standout success story is a mentee who decided to pursue a master's degree—a testament to their dedication and growth. Each of these achievements, big or small, represents a success story in my eyes, reinforcing the impact and value of mentorship.

What are you getting out of being a mentor?

Being a mentor serves as a powerful catalyst for my own learning and growth within the field. It pushes me to stay up to date with industry trends and advancements ultimately elevating my own expertise. One thing that really inspires me is to see how people think and how they approach problems. Engaging with bright, driven individuals has been a source of continual inspiration. Witnessing their unique ways of thinking and problem-solving is both fascinating and instructive. Moreover, mentoring has fortified my leadership skills, bolstered my confidence, and enhanced my ability to tailor guidance to individual needs. This journey of mentorship is a reciprocal one as I find myself gaining as much as I give, creating a virtuous cycle of mutual development and success.

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