The goal of the wonderful (and free!) Women in Localization (W.L.) Mentorship Program is to empower women and deliver knowledge to provide guidance and career advancement. The program has been very popular since its introduction and we’d love to invite new mentors to share their knowledge. To demonstrate the impact being a mentor can make, our program lead and mentors share how amazing it is to be involved in this initiative.
Karla Vargas, Mentorship Program Director
Born and raised in Peru, I fell in love with foreign languages and cultures after living in Europe as an AFS exchange student. Because of this passion, I completed studies in translation, language teaching and linguistics and worked as a translator and educator before migrating to localization eight years ago. I currently work as a Marketing Localization Manager at Salesforce. I started volunteering with the Mentorship Program in May 2019 as a Program Manager and I became the Program Director in October 2020.
To date, we have made more than 100 matches. Our recipe involves taking a very close look at the applications to make sure that the guidance and expertise that the mentors want to offer clearly aligns with the mentees’ needs and interests. The process is very manual and long since the number of mentees is three times the number of mentors and we have to carefully read all information to make the best possible matches. At the same time, it is extremely rewarding when the mentors share how they were able to help their mentees achieve their goals and how much they have learned through the experience themselves. Our mentors are the backbone of the Program and I couldn’t be more grateful for all the support they continue to give us.
María Isabel Wendler, Localization Project Manager, Engineering and DTP Specialist at Glyph Language Services. I became a W.L. mentor at the beginning of July 2020.
I am originally from Margarita Island, Venezuela. From a very early age, I have had a great passion for languages. In 2004, I completed the University of Kentucky’s ESL program with the highest TOEFL score in my program, then I returned to Venezuela and pursued a bachelor’s in Modern Languages at the University of Margarita. Upon graduation, I moved to the Middle East in search of adventure and career opportunities. I lived in Qatar for three years and studied basic Arabic at Qatar University. In 2012, I moved to California and completed the Translation and Localization Management Master’s program at MIIS. After graduation in 2014, I started working at Glyph.
My experience as a mentor has been very rewarding. It not only gives me the opportunity to share my experiences in the industry but also helps me see things from a different perspective. My mentee is very responsible and makes sure that I have an agenda to follow before each meeting. I take our meetings very seriously and prepare in advance. I examine everyday challenges more deeply and think outside the box to find solutions to share with my mentee. I also encourage her to find her own voice and speak up when she has an idea. Sometimes women get shut down in the workplace or feel intimidated by a male-dominated office, but the more we lean on each other and fill our toolboxes with ideas, we can and gain confidence and grow and shine as professionals.
I believe there is a lot of value in brainstorming about past situations or simply asking for advice to level up your career. Mentoring has made me think about my own achievements and what I want for myself in the future. I see that my mentee enjoys our conversations and has been able to apply the solutions we have found together in real life. At the end of the day, the time I invest with my mentee is worth it because I know I helped someone that was feeling stuck or sometimes just needed a second opinion to move forward.
Gabriela Acosta, Freelance Linguist in the Spanish-English-Portuguese pairs with over 15 years of experience. I joined the Mentoring program in 2019.
I started as a technical documentation translator for the IT and telecommunications fields due to my previous experience as an IT instructor. This led to my current specialization in Software and App Localization. I’ve also worked in Quality Control for many years, as well as a translator/content creator for different Natural Language and AI projects.
Being a mentor has certainly been rewarding. Even though at first I was in doubt whether I was prepared to take this opportunity, it has proven to be an interesting exchange. Some of the most important benefits I found are:
- It’s a perfect place to share your insights and experience with colleagues.
- It gives you the chance to help colleagues grow professionally.
- It expands your networking circle.
- It offers you new ideas for your own personal career.
It doesn’t matter if you are mentoring a newly graduated translator or a seasoned professional, you’ll find common ground that you can both benefit from. In my opinion, it’s definitely a two-way experience where you can guide and advise other colleagues while also learning a lot from your mentees.
Carmen Cisneros, experienced Vendor Manager. I joined the program in May 2020.
I became a mentor because I wanted to help other industry professionals and meet like-minded people. It was very empowering being able to share where to find key resources with my mentee, advise her and share my views and my experience in the industry with her. It definitely was an experience that benefited both of us, as it helped me rediscover my passion for the industry and motivated me to start my translation blog Resourceful as a way to share my knowledge and experience with a wider audience.
Rachel Lord, Operations Director at Lionbridge. I’ve been in the localization industry for 20 years and have been an active member of Women in Localization for five years. I joined the program in June 2019.
My background is in language and business study and I really found my community in the localization field. I started volunteering as W.L. Northeast chapter manager from 2017-18, working with hundreds of members, hosts, panelists, speakers and an amazing chapter management team on events. In 2019, I became the W.L. Americas Geo Manager, which gave me the chance to work with inspiring W.L. volunteers across the USA, Argentina and Canada. I have equally enjoyed the Mentorship Program. I was matched with two mentees in June 2019 and both women inspire the heck out of me!
The Mentorship Program provides a very helpful framework that suggests we meet for one 30-minute meeting every two weeks or one hour per month. It also recommends that the mentoring should last around six months to help manage participants’ expectations of the time commitment. The framework advises that the mentee has the primary responsibility for setting the agenda, scheduling the meetings, following up on assignments set by the mentor and suggested our first session cover expectations. Our mentoring sessions were done by video and both came to their first session well prepared and with clear ideas about their “asks”. After the call, they send summaries with action items, which helps both mentee and mentor stay accountable.
One of my mentees was actively looking for a new role and asked for some feedback on her resume. We had some good collaborative sessions, with updated versions of the resume being shared and polished together. This mentee listed her target companies in a Google Doc that she shared with me. If I had any first or second LinkedIn connections in her target organizations, I made introductions. She got great help from those new connections to know more about the culture and opportunities in the target company. We also did prep work together before and after interviews.
The other mentee wanted to grow her professional skills and progress in her current company. She shared research with me on course and certification programs she was considering. I introduced her to people who had taken some of the study options, like a University of Washington PMP certification course, and these connections provided another viewpoint to help her decisions. We also discussed how she could ask the employer to consider sponsoring the cost of the courses. She showed initiative to be continually learning new skills.
Both mentees have inspired me with their energy and passion for developing as professionals. Being part of the Mentorship program is hugely rewarding and I got so much out of these relationships.
Ella Petlicka, Senior Localization Program Manager at Pinterest. I’ve worked in localization for eight years and translation for 15 years. I joined the program in the summer of 2019.
Originally from Poland, I came to the US via the UK where I did my masters in Translation Studies. I just experienced a job transition and realized how important it was to get other perspectives and opinions on my career choices. One of my friends became a mentor and encouraged me to join too.
I wasn’t expecting to get anything out of the program myself – I signed up to help others by sharing my knowledge, learnings and experience. But thanks to my mentee, this engagement turned out to be an enriching experience for both of us. My mentee is bright, extremely dedicated, driven and hard-working. She has the potential to achieve everything she wants – she just needed to be pointed in the right direction.
While she was working toward her goals, I got to watch her being so enthusiastic and motivated. I was reminded of myself when I was a new localization professional and was full of fire and passion for the industry. She helped me reignite this fire; she reminded me why I picked this career path. My mentee also inspired me to make some career choices myself. She unknowingly inspired me and gave me confidence to apply for the position I’m holding right now – a position that makes me happy and fulfilled. She’s a constant reminder to me that no mountain is too high, and I should reach for what I want without hesitation.
I managed several people during my career as a localization professional, but a mentee-mentor relationship is different. I found it fulfilling and empowering, because as a mentor I get an opportunity to create a meaningful positive change in someone else’s career, and – as a result – their life.
Are you inspired to help?
As you see from these real stories, mentoring is a rewarding and inspirational activity for both parties. If you want to make a difference in 2021, sign up to be a W.L. mentor today at https://womeninlocalization.com/mentorship-program/