Many women do not pursue data science careers because they lack support navigating a field dominated by men. The Data Science for All: Women's Summit helps rising data scientists get matched with industry professionals advanced in their careers who provide critical guidance, reinforcement, network effects and career opportunities to program Mentees. For Women aspiring to be data scientists, Mentors shine a light on the best path for navigating data careers.
On September 18th the Fall 2020 Women's Summit kicks off virtually. Participants -- called program 'Mentees' --- form small project groups to work on an industry-specific data science capstone project throughout the 5-weeks of the Summit. Each project group is assigned a professional Mentor who helps the team achieve success during the program and beyond.
Mentorship is the cornerstone of a supportive and sustainable community of emerging data scientists and experienced professionals.
From the Mentor's perspective, pairing with Mentees gives the Mentor an opportunity to share information about her/his company's culture and to build a personal relationship with vetted and enthusiastic women data scientists through a shared professional experience. Especially for mentors who are men, the pairing with Mentees who are women can help bridge gaps and improve connectivity at the firm, as well as help create a culture which supports diversity and inclusion initiatives.
Past Women's Summit mentor, Hussein Safa, Data Strategist at Citadel, described Mentorship as "being able to share valuable advice that I wish someone gave me in the beginning of my career". Deirdre Alphenaar, Director of Market Intelligence at Point72, emphasized that learning between mentors and mentees goes both ways: "Developing people and engaging in the process of teaching is as valuable a learning experience for the mentor as the mentee." Finally Dio-Ann Valmores, Data Analytics Manager at Title Nine, highlighted the relationship building component of mentorship as she said that she had a chance to "Meet a great group of women (mentees and co-mentor) who I feel I'll keep in touch with and network with in the future."
Mentors from previous iterations of the Summit came from companies committed to gender diversity such as Citadel, EY, Point72, Salesforce, TwoSigma, Twitch, Collective Health, and Twitter. Most mentors have 4-10 years experience, and roles ranging from Senior Director of Global Data and AI to VP of Global Head of Pricing and Machine Learning Engineer.
Throughout the 5-week Summit, Mentors devote 6-8 hours of their time to meet with their Mentees, provide career guidance, professional development and high-level project feedback on the applicability of their group's project. In past Summits, we've been amazed by some past mentors who have gone above-and-beyond scheduled programming to provide 1-1 career advice to their team members and even to host professional development webinars to address the entire cohort and pass on their knowledge, strengthening the next generation of data science leaders.