This article was taken from a talk Priscilla gave at the Women in SaaS summit in September 2021, available to watch on-demand here. Since then, she has taken on a new role as a Security and Trust Architect at GitHub. Congratulations, Priscilla!

Women in SaaS may be over, but we know you're just itching for more riveting insight from the trailblazing women in SaaS!

why not dive into our second installment in our Women in SaaS series: Mentorship and career progression with Priscilla Aubrey. With experience in major organizations such as Dell and Github, Priscilla has a wealth of experience and insight at her disposal.

Here, Priscilla takes on one of the most crucial topics for women in SaaS today: mentorship and career progression

At Future of Saas we believe that creating greater inclusion in the workplace creates a broader field of dynamic, exciting talent. But that can only happen if those at the top are reaching out a helping hand to those on the way up. 🤝

Training is a cornerstone of diversity, equity and inclusion. And good training comes from top leadership qualities. But don't just take it from us, take it from a proven leader. Over to you, Priscilla!

A little bit about myself

I’m a mom, I’m a DIY enthusiast, and I've been in the IT industry since I was 19. I'm a grandmother, I'm a gardener, I'm a candle maker, not a baker though – that's not my thing. I tell you all this because it's important to remember that we're all so multifaceted.

When the opportunity came up to talk about career progression and all the bumps, lumps, and changes we go through along the way, I thought to myself, “Priscilla, you’ve had a pretty dynamic career, and this is a great opportunity to share.”

So, in the spirit of sharing, let’s dive into mentorship and career progression.

Women in SaaS: taking risks for career progression
In the lead up to the women in SaaS summit 2022, we’ll be hearing from a whole host of women SaaS leaders on some of the most challenging topics facing women in SaaS today

Sourcing your internal mentors

I’d been with Github for about 60 days before I approached anyone to ask about mentorship. We had lots of webinars and calls; I would watch and listen in, and that's how I sourced my mentors.

I looked at folks who had skills and attributes that I wanted to grow, and that's how I started choosing the mentors that were right for me.

We use Slack to communicate within my organization, so when it was time to reach out, I sent a message saying “Hi, my name is Priscilla Aubrey. I'm part of this team, and I would love to connect with you and have a one-on-one.”

I never used our first meetings to ask anyone to be my mentor. Although I'd seen these folks in action, I'd never sat down with them one-on-one before.

I wanted to take the opportunity for us to get to know each other and find out if it would be a good fit. And you know, some of the folks that I linked up with weren't a great fit, but a lot of them were.

Your mentors are the people you're going to be asking some really heavy questions to. You’re going to look to them to lead and guide you, and provide honest feedback about your career.

That’s why it’s so important to ensure that your values align. This should be someone whose voice you’d be willing to follow if you were stranded on a mountain together and you had lost your glasses and couldn’t see (like me!).

3 benefits to female leadership in SaaS (and 5 steps to making it happen)
28.8% That’s the total percentage of women working in the technology industry back in 2020, according to this report. This report suggests that the percentage is projected to reach 33% in 2022.

The need to increase your salary over time, whilst staying on track with your goals

You need to give yourself time to plan. I’ve found myself in that very position. In my last role, I knew I wanted to make a change. However, I have a mortgage, and I have a child, and kids get expensive as they get older!

I knew I wanted to transition into a role that was more cloud-driven, so I had to quietly make my plan. While I continued to put great effort into my job, I did everything I needed to do to move forward.

I'm not gonna tell you it was easy. As your needs and wants shift and change, sometimes it's hard to keep focused. You have to be disciplined enough to stay on track.

I continued to work, and I also researched the field I wanted to move into. I took my CCSK – my cloud security certification – and I started to become more involved in the cloud security field.

And then, when the opportunity came, I was able to transition seamlessly.

We have to eat, we have to have somewhere to live, and it can be hard to balance those requirements of life with our ambitions. But if you can create a plan for what you want to accomplish within six months or a year and stay focused, you can get there.