How Do I Find a Female Mentor in non-academic Chemistry?
February 25, 2015 2:09 PM   Subscribe

I'm a woman in science. I recently finished my Ph.D in Chemistry, and, after getting burnt-out on the academic track, I've gotten a job in a small startup synthesizing new materials for energy purposes. I've been told to find a "female mentor" to help me navigate the startup/industry world of chemistry. But how do I find a female mentor? Where do I look? What do I look for?

The only other women at my company are my direct supervisors, so it seems strange to go through them. I'm in Seattle, if that matters.

n.b. This is a question on behalf of my SO, but I'm framing it in the first person for ease of reading
posted by DGStieber to Work & Money (5 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Maybe check out Iota Sigma Pi? It looks like their Seattle chapter is inactive, but they might be able to connect you with people. For my field (transportation), WTS has been very valuable and welcoming. Hopefully Iota Sigma Pi is similar.
posted by kendrak at 2:23 PM on February 25, 2015

Do your academic contacts have industry contacts as well? Even if these contacts don't include the kinds of woman mentors you might need, they probably know some people.

I'd look in places such as your university's job placement folks, your chemistry department's Board of Visitors or similar, your university's research foundation/technology transfer organization, etc.

The American Chemical Society has an industry division.

My postdoc chemist friend says, "Academics with industry contacts can be hit-or-miss, but it's definitely worth asking. Many of the content divisions have social events at ACS national meetings. If that's not an option, regional meetings might be good depending on the representation of the division of interest at that meeting.

Oh -- the WCC (Women Chemists Committee) is probably also a good place to look -- I have no idea what online resources they have, but worth looking into."
posted by St. Hubbins at 2:31 PM on February 25, 2015 [2 favorites]

I'd say through networking.

Check out events with Seattle Association for Women in Science. Check people out, see who you click with. Then approach her and ask a questions, start with a coffee date, or a lunch and see if there's...chemistry. If there is, Bob's your uncle, there's your mentor. Also friend, also sounding board.

There's a Seattle Technology & Science page on the I Love Seattle site. Don't know if any of them appeal.

There's a start.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 2:33 PM on February 25, 2015

Postdoc friend adds:
"Also, this has nothing to do with finding a mentor, but myIDP could help. It might be more generally useful for getting the most out of her mentoring relationships once she establishes them."
posted by St. Hubbins at 2:39 PM on February 25, 2015

My postdoc friend is back! She says, "Hey - I thought of the conversation we were having about your friend when I read this. Possibly helpful comments?"
posted by St. Hubbins at 3:27 PM on March 18, 2015

« Older Creating a website and keeping my identity secret   |   Fuel or feed pellets- is there a demand? Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.