Speed Mentoring Roundtables

Bring Your 'A' Game to the Table

By WISE National

Group of ladies sitting around a table talking at the WISE Boston's Speed Mentoring Roundtables event

WISE Boston's Speed Mentoring Roundtables event. Photo credit: Nicole Hirsch Photography.


Already signed up or saving the date for your local WISE chapter's Speed Mentoring Roundtables? Smart move. But it's only the first step in taking full advantage of this unique experience. 

A cross between the executive roundtable and speed mentoring platforms, the event is an opportunity to meet, network and discuss pressing career questions with a diverse group of professionals. And while the atmosphere is more relaxed than some traditional networking events, don't be fooled — the advice you receive or connections you make just might lead to your next career advancement. With an assist from WISE San Diego's director of mentorship, Jennifer Greune, here are our insider tips for making the event a productive one. 

What to Expect

  • Each attendee — or "mentee" — is assigned to a table with 6 to 10 other women of similar career level. You will get more information on your assigned group once you arrive at the event. 

  • Industry veterans — or the "mentors" — will rotate through each table every 15 to 20 minutes or as designated by the event host. In general, each table of mentees will meet with three mentors, through this may differ by chapter.

  • Your chapter may kick off the event with an icebreaker to help everyone get to know each other better.

  • There will be additional networking time before, in between and/or at the conclusion of the roundtable sessions for you to mingle with other attendees. 

Success: Where Preparation and Opportunity Meet

Maximizing the time with the mentors and your peers is about having a plan in place: 

  • Use this opportunity not only to network with the mentors, but with the peers at your table, as well. Your peers will likely have had or will have similar issues or career concerns and will be great resources. 

  • Keep an open mind. Quality insights, advice and connections can come from anyone at your table or in the room — regardless of their title, company or years in the industry. 

  • Think through the questions you might have for your peers and the mentors beforehand. Even better, if your chapter advertises the mentors in advance, do some research so you can tailor your questions. 

  • If you do not get a chance to ask your question during one of the sessions or felt it might be too personal and better for a one-on-one conversation, then seek out that mentor during a break or after the roundtable sessions have concluded. Keep in mind that not all mentors will be assigned to all tables. 

  • Try to get out of your comfort zone. You might be attending with co-workers or friends, but set a goal before the event and make a point to talk to several new people you haven't had conversations with before. 

  • You don't have to ask questions, but the best roundtable conversations are driven by attendees. Some chapters may include a moderator at each table to help move conversations along, but this is your time to ask questions, so make the most of it. 

  • Be authentic and natural, and come ready to engage with a diverse group of attendees.

Read more about Speed Mentoring Roundtables.