Growing a Social Business: Social Networks and Mentorship: Len Rosen CMS Wire: Women in Tech (WIT)
December 5, 2011

Organizations, whether for profit or not, invest in infrastructure and people. Infrastructure requires a one-time investment and occasional refresh. People, on the other hand, continuously cycle through an organization. The experience they gain as they master their jobs represents assets of enormous value. When they leave, the assets vanish unless the organization implements a harvesting program. That’s when a mentorship program within a company proves its worth. Once mentored, new employees prove to be durable, long-term assets, unlikely to leave. We call this type of mentorship B2E (business-to-employee).

The same can be said about B2B (business-to-business) and B2C (business-to-customer) mentorship where organizations work with other businesses and customers. Through mentorship, businesses can inspire and lead within their industry. Through mentorship, businesses can reinforce relationships with existing customers and turn prospective customers into permanent ones. Through social network-based mentoring, businesses can utilize the social aspect and take unstructured data such as casual chats and email exchanges and structure the information to make it useful for learning...

Formal mentorship programs are the kind in which companies and organizations with a specific cause invest. Some are deployed as enterprise network solutions. Many are web accessible. Some connect to public social networks but more and more reside behind-the-firewall in private social communities.

One such is the CanWIT eMentorship, a social network connecting women in technology. CanWIT stands for Canadian Women in Technology. The eMentorship initiative focuses on providing senior management IT women coaches for young women working in the industry.

CanWIT’s origins date back to 2003 when an initiative between the CATAAlliance, supporting IT innovation in Canada, and Springboard, providing venture capital for women-led businesses, led to its inception. Today, CanWIT is a national IT community network with chapters located from British Columbia to Atlantic Canada.

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