Mentors Help Women Open Doors at Dell, in the Community

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When Shayla Reed started working as a contractor in Talent Acquisition at Dell, she immediately knew she wanted to do more, learn more and grow in a cutting-edge company. She had just earned her Master’s in Human Resources and was ready for her next big challenge.

four women seated talking

“I had the opportunity to have a mentor,” Reed said. “That mentorship provided me the ability to learn more about what other opportunities were available, including IT project management. I felt like that would be a perfect fit for me. I was excited to know that I could be hands-on, learning about data center implementation projects.”

Since getting hired full time at Dell as an IT project manager, Reed has continued learning as much as she can while also paying the mentorship she received forward. She’s the President of the Black Networking Alliance Employee Resource Group (ERG) on the West Coast, a role that affords her the opportunity to, among other things, host an executive speed coaching program.

“Participants get professional and career coaching with different executives,” Reed said. “That’s one of the best things that I’ve been able to do here: help support the people that are here.”

From Executive Assistant to Product Manager

Trinidad Hermida credits her career growth to great mentors as well.

“My previous boss saw that I was really good with program management as her executive assistant, so she started to give me opportunities to manage different programs within diversity and inclusion,” Hermida said. “Those programs on top of my regular work were a lot, but she had confidence in me. She let me know that if I could prove that I could do it, it was an opportunity to move and grow.”

Move and grow she did, from an executive assistant to a product manager. In addition, she moved from the Hopkinton, Massachusetts offices to Santa Clara, California. Her mentor recognized Hermida’s strengths, opportunity areas and showed her what to build upon, what to hone. She continues this mentorship relationship today, meeting bi-monthly for coaching, which has enabled and contributed to her success.

two women talking

Organizations Make the Difference at Work, in the Community

Karen Washington noted that Dell’s programming for women is a great source of support for career growth.

“Dell actually has a group of executive male leaders that help women succeed,” she said. “They have mentoring programs that help women get more exposure in the organization. What I love about Dell in regards to women is that they’re really heavy into recruiting at the Society of Women Engineers. We also have a program called Women in Action (WIA).”

Washington noted that WIA teaches members how to present, helps with personal branding, how to navigate the company, and most importantly, network.

Washington pays it forward by mentoring both at Dell with the Society of Women Engineers, as well as in her community with Girls Who Code, and the Girl Scouts, to help them learn about technology at Dell.

“We’ll go into the classroom and we’ll do some technology assignments for the kids, or we’ll teach them technology aspects that are third- and fourth-grade level, that they can really understand,” she said. “We sell hardware, so we’ll bring in all the devices and let them test them out. The beauty of this is that girls sometimes aren’t interested in technology at first, and then we come and they say, ‘I want to be an engineer.’”

The mentorship opportunities have been very rewarding for Washington; some girls have even kept in touch with her.

“They want to come to your job, they want to learn more or have you help them with their math.”

For Washington, mentorship at work and helping the next generation of women is critical.

Looking for a great career with mentors to match? Look no further.

About the Author: Jenn Koiter

As the Recruitment Marketing Regional Lead for North America, Jenn Koiter is responsible for showcasing Dell Technologies as an employer to attract top talent. To that end, she creates and promotes authentic, compelling content about life at Dell. Jenn has taught at colleges and universities, worked for a cultural nonprofit, and volunteered to help end human trafficking, bonded labor, and wrongful imprisonment in India and Nepal. Jenn spent a year and a half of her tenure at Dell on the road as a digital nomad before settling on the East Coast. Jenn holds a B.A. in English and Religion from Northwestern University; an M.A. in the Social Sciences from the University of Chicago; and an M.F.A. in Creative Writing from Antioch University.
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