CIC Blog: speed-networking
Information Modelling & Management Capability Programme (IMMCP) Delivery Team
Transport for London
With a background in Computer and Information Sciences I was never sure whether Construction Industry was the right sector for me. I was anxiously looking for a mentor and/or a guide who could advise me and give me the confidence to take control of my career path. So when I was asked to take part in a speed mentoring event I gladly agreed to participate. This was a great opportunity for me to obtain advice from professionals with years of industry experience.
The event was very well organised. A list of the mentors with their biographies was received several weeks before the date of the event. Most of the mentors were known to me but I still had plenty time to find out more about them. A breakfast briefing session was also arranged to provide an introduction to the concept of speed mentoring and discuss some potential questions and topics that we may want to raise with the mentors.
On the evening of the event there were about 40 people of all ages. We had half an hour to network before the event started. The event started with a welcome and a short overview of the evening and the purpose behind it and it was closed with the same speaker thanking everyone for attending. We were all allocated three mentors; two of our preferred choice and one ‘wild card’. The mentoring session lasted for about 45 minutes and during this time each mentee had the chance to speak to their pre-allocated mentors. Mentors had allocated seating with a corresponding letter to help the mentees find them. We all had 15 minutes each to discuss our personal vision for the next few years. 2 minutes before the 15 minutes were up we would receive a warning to wrap up our conversation and move to our next mentor.
Once the starting bell went the room exploded with intensity of several people talking at the same time, chaotic yet it was inspiring and remarkable! Some may say 15 minutes is not enough time to discuss your future career but short meetings can often be as useful as long programmes. In my case it was certainly enough time to get me thinking about what I could achieve with my educational background and give me the momentum to start planning ahead. On registration I was asked to provide a short paragraph about myself. I was very pleased that one of my mentors had put the effort in to reading it so he already had an idea of what I have achieved so far and what may be the best route for my career.
This was a great way to establish connections and to network with other individuals within the industry besides having the chance to seek information and insight from senior professionals whose constructive advice can go a long way! I found my mentors very easy to talk to, with a positive attitude and willing to share their experience and knowledge explicitly. This event is now one of my favourites as I actually got something out of it and it has made me wonder why mentoring isn’t more common? In today’s world sharing knowledge is a key to developing core skills, improving personal capabilities and would enable gaining competitive advantage and I believe construction industry holds a lot of hidden knowledge. We also have a lot of fantastic practitioners within the industry, who as mentors can give us their views on how things work (or should work), they can help us look at situations in new ways and they can certainly help define our career paths. These people are pushing the industry forward and we should make the most out of their knowledge and expertise. As someone in her mid-career level I would absolutely recommend attending a mentoring session.
Contributor: Sonia's background is in Computer Sciences and Information Systems Management. Sonia entered the world of Construction when she started her PhD at the University of Northumbria looking at impacts of BIM on Communication patterns of Construction projects. Sonia is an Incorporate member of the CIOB (ICIOB) and is currently working as a BIM consultant.