How Calendly Helps Me Make Tech More Accessible for Women
How did you find a mentor? It's not easy, especially as a woman in tech, but Calendly helps make it just a little bit easier.
July 01, 2019
I don’t remember how I got the idea to put a link to my Calendly on my personal website, but I’m glad I did. It’s allowed people from anywhere in the world to get in touch with me and schedule one on one mentoring sessions - something that isn’t easy to do on the interwebs.
If you’re not familiar with Calendly, it’ s a scheduling tool that integrates with your calendar and allows people to book meetings with you. There’s a free tier, or a more customizable paid tier that I use - I can have multiple meeting types AND a secret link to extended scheduling spots I can use for just my non-profit leadership team. I’ve been using Calendly since 2015 with managing my non-profit for everything from scheduling interviews to one-on-ones with my leadership team members.
While the scheduling tool IS fantastic, the real way Calendly has helped me make an impact is by providing ACCESS. Typically when people look for mentors, they start with their own communities and personal networks. For women from smaller communities or women just starting out with no network this means far fewer opportunities to meet potential mentors, or even just peers who share their struggles. By linking to my Calendly on my website it not only gives people direct access to me, but filling out a simple form is way less intimidating than figuring out how to write and send a cold email.
I really should refer to myself in this post as a support system instead of mentor - that title sounds too formal for many situations(though I do have formal speaking mentees I’ve taken on) - and I have had women reach out to me via Calendly for everything from breaking into the speaker circuit to frustrating situations at work where they just need someone to talk through problems with and have someone who cares help them figure out a course of action. I also get a lot of requests from people wanting to learn how to build communities(thanks SEO!) or organize events teaching women to code, or people who saw me speak at a conference and are looking for help and advice.
Having an “open” calendar may sound terrifying, but it’s more controlled than you think. I’d also like to say that I’m human, and sometimes I just get fried from work, life, etc, and am NOT in a good mental place to spend energy coaching others.
I can toggle off meetings for a while to recover some of that emotional energy, and that’s ok. Helping others doesn’t mean helping to the point of burnout, and it helps to keep in mind one of my favorite phrases:
I hope this didn’t come off as shilling for Calendly, because what I’m really shilling is a way to make it easier for people to use their privilege to give back to the community, and to encourage that mentality moving forward. For an industry so obsessed with making the world better through tech, maybe we can shift a little of that passion towards helping others help make the world better through tech.