We’ve heard from our two SpeakEasy speakers for CAST 2016, Pete Bartlett and Julie Lebo. I caught up with another of their mentors to hear about the other side of helping new voices to take the stage this year. Katrina Clokie had this to share:
Have you mentored a Speak Easy mentee before, or was this the first time? Why do you choose to work with Speak Easy?
Yes I have mentored through Speak Easy before. I work with Speak Easy because I found it challenging to step out and propose to speak at testing conferences. I was afraid that I had nothing of value to contribute and, at least at first, public speaking was something that I dreaded. The help I had from more experienced speakers was, and continues to be, invaluable. I’ve volunteered as a Speak Easy mentor to try and offer that same assistance to others. By offering a friendly face that can help de-mystify the proposal process, refine presentation material, or improve delivery. I’m particularly passionate about encouraging more women to take the stage.
How do you establish a successful the mentor-mentee relationship? How do you talk about, and set, expectations?
After an email introduction we spoke regularly via skype. I have found that my more successful relationships have been with people who are driven, flexible in their goals, open to suggestion, and take ownership of their development. These are all difficult things to set expectations around. I haven’t always been successful in creating productive mentoring relationships where these traits were absent.
Did you choose to work with a mentee specifically for the CAST conference, or did you suggest that your mentee submit a proposal to CAST specifically?
I suggested that my mentee propose to CAST. It was the first international conference that I was accepted to speak at and I know that the CAST committee have a specific focus on promoting new voices in the community. I was very happy that my mentee was accepted as a speaker.
What suggestions do you have for others considering becoming mentors?
I would encourage anyone with experience as a conference speaker to consider helping others.
What did you learn yourself as a Speak Easy mentor? What was your biggest takeaway?
My biggest takeaway is that mentoring is to help someone find their voice, not to help them find my voice. I have learned a lot about when to push for changes in proposals or material vs. when to leave things alone.