“A mentor is someone who allows you to see the hope inside yourself.” — Oprah Winfrey :sparkles:

A mentor is like a lighthouse when navigating the voyage of a career.

Throughout my career, I have gained many valuable insights from my mentors. The value of mentorship has been a driving force for my constant advocacy for it and my involvement in initiatives aligning with this purpose. Recently, I started venturing out as a mentor to experience the other side of the table. My first attempt at it was at Oakland Tech High School as a mentor to two female students aspiring to pursue a career in STEM. I am now taking my experience a step further by being a mentor to two graduate students at my alma mater- San Jose State University.

Here my thoughts on mentorship and often why we need a tribe of mentors.

Seeking mentors

A career in tech comes with its own set of challenges, experiences, ups, and downs. We sure can rack our brains and bang our heads against the walls regarding things that we are quite inexperienced about. On the other side, seeking mentors and learning from their experiences provides more perspectives. It’s more like having a support system. As a mentee, it is very crucial to be vulnerable and do an honest assessment of the ask to the mentor. Only then can a mentor be able to guide the mentee.

The need for a tribe of mentors

Although our mentors can be multi-faceted and experienced in many areas, one individual cannot specialize in everything. Plus, everyone’s experiences are different and diverse. Tapping into this is a great way to learn and grow in our careers. That’s why I believe in the idea of a tech tribe of mentors.

Building the tribe

I’ll break down three categories of mentors that comprise my tribe:

1. The dedicated mentor

I like the idea of having a dedicated mentor with whom I have a great rapport and feel comfortable sharing my lows and highs. The interactions on a regular cadence set defined goals to work on and are great motivators for constant improvements.

To find a dedicated mentor, it is best to reach out to someone you have interacted with before or someone whose work you admire and falls in line with your future goals.

Things I have learned from this:

  • Examining my goals

  • Evaluating passion for certain areas of work

  • Exploring new opportunities inside and outside work for growth

  • Saying no to the noise and yes to challenges

2. The ad hoc mentor

Sometimes, it makes sense to schedule 1:1s with people with who you may not work closely with but whose work intersects with your path.

For example, I would schedule a 1:1 with an architect to understand how better can I approach designing a new service by sharing some of my ideas and get feedback. Another example would be meeting with a senior leader to learn about their career journey and get insights on improving in certain areas I wish to. These are no commitment, ad hoc 1:1s that might end up having follow-up 1:1s if more ideas can be discussed.

Things I have learned from this:

  • The idea of zooming in vs zooming out

  • The value of understanding the bigger picture

  • Solving for problem space vs solution space

  • Personal leadership

3. The internet mentor

As weird as it may sound, I do have internet mentors. What I mean by that is individuals/ leaders who share about their career journey and learnings on their blogs, books, podcasts, etc.

Over time, I have identified individuals whose writing style and ideas resonate with me and the advice/ ideas presented are viable to try out.

Not every advice/ idea will make sense to you in your context.

Things I have learned from this:

  • Narrow down the internet mentors you follow to avoid chaos

  • Experiment with the ideas and establish a feedback loop


There is a lot we can learn from others around us if we are radically open-minded. Part of being a mentee is being energetic and clear about what you are seeking to understand. So, build your tribe of mentors. :sparkles: