This article is written by 2020 Mentor Salla Palos and Mentee Sarah Causey.

As part of the Women in BIM Mentor Scheme in 2020, Salla and Sarah were perfectly matched and below they each describe their experience during this journey and the amazing relationship they were able to create.

Salla’s Story as a WIB Mentor

When I signed up for this mentorship program, I expected to be paired up with someone who was just getting their toes dipped into digital transformation, innovation and emerging technology. That has been the story in the past when women in tech have been the show horse for companies to look futuristic and innovative. I was excited to become a support and inspiration to whom ever might be the poor soul entering the world that I have found so fascinating for the past 20 years and feel inspired for the next 20 to come. I did not expect to be paired with such a perfect match like Sarah. It was like finding a soul mate, a person who spoke my language and was already on the same journey as me. I won the lottery! Literally!

The best part for me individually was to be paired with Sarah, a seasoned long term professional with a wealth of knowledge in industry disruption and the drive to make it happen in her own organization. Sarah as a person was the best part of this mentorship program because she came into our meetings prepared and ready to rock ‘n roll. She had a clear plan for what she wanted to accomplish from this program and was motivated to hear my thoughts about the questions we discussed. It was a balance of both mentoring each other.

What I learned from Sarah is that great by surrounding yourself with the great people amplifies the success you are already delivering, the career mentors and career sponsors are the lucky individuals who get to share the ride for a while and learn from the power house who is going to make their dreams come true. Sarah is the perfect balance of business and technology, applied to a specific discipline in the built environment industry. It’s like she is a piece in a jigsaw puzzle that is her own organization that supports her success as she is making her own organization successful. As a result from the mentorship program with Sarah I am adding more irons into the fire to make sure I give enough time for individuals to build up their readiness and come along for the journey I call the digital building lifecycle. Good things come for those who are patient, but it doesn’t mean we need to wait.

Sarah’s Story as a WIB Mentee

When I signed up for the WIB mentorship program I had just been promoted to Director of Design Technology at my firm; a role that had yet to be clarified. There are times in our lives where we move into uncharted territory. Those times can feel trepedacious but also exciting, and they challenge us to question who we are and what we can give to the world.

My first meeting with Salla I instantly felt I’d found a kindred spirit who I could open up to about my uncertainty. It was surprising how similar our journeys have been. Salla gave words of encouragement and shared her stories of success. As a mentor she was so uplifting, but also she pushed my thinking – which is exactly what I needed! To give an example, she helped me see what my role has to offer not only our internal team, but our clients. We talked through what embracing tech innovation means to each seat at the owner’s table. This 360 interpretation of my role allowed me to see what I could not yet see – a place in which I can more directly affect the people we design for.

Salla’s experience and perspective helped me sift through my thoughts. She emboldened me to push beyond the traditional pathways and define my own course. I honestly can say my conversations with Salla have changed my future for the better. That’s not to say I’ve figured it all out yet (ha!), but it was so meaningful to speak with a like mind who craves innovation and could come along side me this past year. I believe we may be there for each other as we both grow in the future. And I hope to pay this experience forward in mentoring other females in our industry through this program.