01 F2F 47 Group Photo
Professional Scrum Trainers at the Face-to-Face Meeting #47

Time went by so fast since my last Global Professional Scrum Trainers Face-to-Face Meeting at the Scrum.org Headquarters. My jetlag’s now gone but the feelings from that awesome experience still lingers on. Allow me to share my takeaways from the last F2F: Mentorship.

(This blog was co-written by Shirley Santiago and Jill Graves.)

Mentorship: From Mentee’s Point-of-View

Shirley’s Point-of-View

In the beginning, travelling on this PST journey felt like taking the road less travelled. There are ups and downs, multiple stops, different trails traversed, that often made it challenging for friends and family to comprehend why it was important for me to continue on this path. To help me along the way, I had someone who has had the same experience together with the support from family and friends.  

If you have read my previous post, you might have heard about Jill Graves. She has been my mentor since 2014. I don’t think I would be in this community if not for her encouragement and patience. I was at the crossroads of pursuing PST, but she, Peter Gotz, Steve Porter and Gunther Verheyen, were there to keep me going. I haven’t seen Gunther since the first time I saw him in the Train-the-Trainer event in 2015 but whenever I attend a F2F, I think of Gunther and the impact his support made on me. His one-liner email that said, “I will help” changed my life and the lives of the many that I get to work with. But that’s another story and I will save it for my next post.

So why do I talk about my mentors in my blogs? It’s for the reason they have made the biggest impact on my profession and on how I deal with the people I get to meet in my day-to-day life. According to Thesaurus, “mentorship is a state of being an informal teacher”. But experiencing it will be the only way to fully comprehend the meaning. My fellow PST, Char Beier, recently said, “Mentorship is a relationship”.

Jill and Shirley

Jill defined for me what MENTORSHIP is. Graduate school and my PST journey happened in parallel. Jill was there for me from the very start. I got my master’s degree the same month that I got accepted as a PST. Jill was miles away during my graduation, but she was there in spirit. This one is for my family and for Jill Graves. And I’m proud that she’s my mentor. We made it, Jill.   

Jill now heads one of the three Mentorship Tracks in the Scrum.org PST community, together with her PSF Co-steward Rich Visotcky.

03 Jill Graves and Todd Miller
In this photo are Jill Graves and Todd Miller, who is signing up in the PST Mentorship Program. 

Mentorship: From Mentor’s Point-of-View

Jill’s Point-of-View 

If I were completely honest with myself – and Shirley – I would have to admit that I didn’t really understand the ins and outs of the mentor role.  I did know that the PST journey is long and difficult.  I did know that my own journey was eased by a fellow Canadian PST who agreed to mentor me through the process.  And once my own process was completed, I knew I wanted to pay it forward to a future trainer candidate.

Enter Scrum.org, who supported the mentorship initiative and introduced me to Shirley.  Two strangers, living across the world from each other.  

We set-up an initial Skype call and introduced ourselves to each other.  We awkwardly talked about what our mentor/mentee relationship could look like.  And then we did the only thing that a Scrum Trainer could do.  We just jumped in. 

Shirley and I began our relationship through regular Skype calls, emails and texts.  We had no clue what would evolve but we trusted the process, and ourselves, and just got down to the business of establishing a relationship.  We talked about our jobs, our families, our goals and dreams and our objectives.  

Some things were just so neat to me – particularly that Shirley and I were 12 hours apart and when we talked, it was a completely different day for her.  I was mindblown.  I was just settling down for the night and Shirley was already getting ready for work.  How cool was that!

On the PST journey, there are a lot of checkpoints.  As Shirley prepared, I would offer advice and encouragement.  If results required more work, Shirley and I picked each other up and got back to it.  And in the end?  Success!  Shirley is now a valuable member of our trainer community and I couldn’t be prouder.   

And another thing.  Did you know that it is customary for people from the Philippines to bring presents, “pasalubong” in Filipino?  I didn’t.  I am enjoying a new found love of mangoes!

06 With PST Candidate Sukhi Kaur

Shirley and I are continuing our journey together as co-mentors for Sukhi – a current PST Candidate.  This picture was taken in Boston – June 2018 – where the 3 of us finally got to meet in person!

Shirley mentioned, above, the support I gave her on her thesis.  This is the power of the mentor/mentee relationship for me.  This was important for Shirley and so as her mentor, it became important to me.  We quickly shifted gears and focused on her thesis.  Following another ‘Scrumism’ – do what you need to do.  Again – success.  One thing I’ve learned about Shirley – there is no stopping this woman.  And now?   I am going to become her ‘ScrumMaster’ as she begins her PhD journey!!  Did I have any clue that this is what our relationship would evolve to?  None.  And that is the true beauty of mentorship.

Being in the Community

PST Ravi Verma once said, “I have found my tribe”. Yes, I fully agree. Being in this community has been one of the best things this life has given me. Can’t believe how blessed I am to be part of this family.