Tri-Online Mentoring with Girl Geek Coffees

Tri-Online Mentoring with Girl Geek Coffees

AustraliaQueensland, New South Wales, Victoria, Australian Capital Territory, Adelaide, Western Australia, Tasmania, Darwin, and overseas, Australia
Organization type: 
nonprofit/ngo/citizen sector
Project Stage:
< $1,000
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

"Girl Geek Coffees (GGC) provides meaningful interpersonal support to female students and early career in ICT and related STEM fields."

About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

Mentoring for females in ICT at student and early career level across states of Australia and other chapters around the world. Most mentors are hard to find, too busy, or the mentoring program costs too much. Students and early career females generally don't earn that much money, and can't afford the high price of a mentoring program. Also, they aren't necessarily matched with "like minds". Such as putting a programmer with a female HR mentor doesn't really assist them to develop in their chosen technical field. There are also inconsistencies between support and offerings between states of Australia. Either the smaller states miss out, or the students aren't catered for in the mentoring programs. This misses a critical target market for ICT attrition rates, with high drop out rates.

Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!

The GGC also looks to create "Tri-Mentoring with Girl Geek Coffees" program online, free or nominal cost to students and early career. This would be at a national and international level. A pilot program would be delivered to the existing GGC Lead Ambassadors, followed by the rest of the Ambassadors and opening it up to the general members. It might also be possible to obtain accreditation with the Australian Computer Society Certified via the Professional Education (CPE) program, which would count towards modules of a unit. A spin off of the program could possibly also service the male population, as to date there is no Australian ICT national mentoring program. ICT enrolments in Australia are presently on the decline, which puts its innovation and intellectual capital at risk.
Impact: How does it Work

Example: Walk us through a specific example(s) of how this solution makes a difference; include its primary activities.

Implementation: 1. Mentee, Mentor 1: a few levels above, Mentor 2: senior person. 2. The Mentee chooses from female or supportive male mentor, ICT expertise, goals, and location preference. This could potentially connect people from around the world. 3. The GGC Tri-Mentoring program is delivered via web and mobile applications, inclusive of written, audio, and video communication channels (e.g. email, IM, Skype and Google “Hang Outs”). 4. Both an IT platform and mentoring program will be designed, with options to bond in groups of common interest virtually or in person. 5. User generated content will moderate the Mentoring program, through data capture and feedback from experienced mentoring program volunteers. 6. A forum would enable common questions to be answered by mentors and mentees alike. 7. Mentors would be obtained from existing female in IT groups and also GGC Industry Ambassador companies (e.g. Girl Geek Dinners, Anita Borg Institute, FITT, WIT, ACM-W etc.) 8. Similar idea to a Dating web site: self-matching of profiles, choice of mentors, with “matched” lead generation. The mentoring program would make a difference through better matching between mentors and mentees. It would reduce costs of accessing appropriate mentors, and potentially increase the numbers being matched. Those in smaller cities or remote locations would for the first time obtain appropriate mentor support in their studies and career.

Marketplace: Who else is addressing the problem outlined here? How does the proposed project differ from these approaches?

Currently the FITT organisation offers a mentoring program at a minimum cost of $800. This is useful except that it isn't offered in all states, and candidates aren't matched well according to specialty of ICT. Furthermore, there were only 20 mentor and mentee pairs in Sydney and only 4 in Brisbane. That is only 24 pairings being offered. Melbourne offers a free mentoring program via the Victoria ICT for Women, however this doesn't target students very well. There are some offerings for Engineering and ICT students via the Sydney based Lucy mentoring program, which is seeing some traction. WIT has just started with a relatively free program in Brisbane, but there are little to no ICT members amongst them. Adelaide, Perth, Tasmania and Darwin aren't catered for with ICT mentoring.

Founding Story

I was attending the Google Anita Borg Retreat for females in ICT. It was the first time I had met so many females in ICT all in one room! Usually there would be just a couple, and often they wouldn't interact. There was a lot of heated discussion on initiatives which would benefit females in ICT to improve their numbers, or conditions. Given the opportunity to speak to so many females, I noticed that all of them had something in common. Each had at least one person in their life that had acted like a solid rock, a mentor and role model to inspire and steady their course. This person could be a male, or a female, a person in ICT, mother, father, boyfriend and so on. It is a person of whom enabled a foundation from them to spring, and constant source of warmth nurturing of their potential. I wanted to enable more females in ICT to have this in their lives. Starting connecting them through coffee meets ups was a first step, with in depth mentoring the second.
About You
Girl Geek Coffees (GGC)
About You
First Name


Last Name


About Your Organization
Organization Name

Girl Geek Coffees (GGC)

Organization Country


Country where this project is creating social impact

, XX, Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria, Australian Capital Territory, Adelaide, Western Australia, Tasmania, Darwin, and overseas

Age of Innovator


Gender of Innovator


How long has your organization been operating?

1‐5 years

Has the organization received awards or honors? Please tell us about them

2012, 2011 – iAwards Women of the Year (Finalist)
2012 – Vic ICT for Women of the Year (Finalist)
2011, 2010 – Microsoft Tech Ed Women in IT: Community Contributor of the Year (Winner 2011, Finalist 2010)
2008, 2009 – Google Anita Borg Scholar (AU/NZ) (Finalist)

Community Leadership:
2012 – Australian Computer Society YITCon (Speaker)
2012 – Young ICT Explorers (Judge)
2011 – iAwards Australia 3.0 Forum (100 invited leaders)
2011 – E.X.I.T.E IBM Camp (Keynote Speaker)
2011 – Health Informatics Conference: Games for Health (Speaker)

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How long have you been in operation?

Operating for 1‐5 years

Which of the following best describes the barrier(s) your innovation addresses? Choose up to two

Access, Cost.

Social Impact
What solution(s) does your initiative address to better the lives of girls and women by leveraging technology? (select all applicable)

Access to technology, Access to education/training.

What has been the impact of your solution to date?

Girl Geek Coffees has assisted hundreds of females in ICT to feel less isolated, obtain support and mentoring through its coffee group meet ups around Australia. These events provide a safe and relaxing environment, networking, support, advice, the ability to share experiences, valuable friendships and partnerships.

For the frist time in Australian history, females in ICT at student and early career level have a group to support them, to feel part of, and journey with. They have a collective voice which is starting to be heard by the leaders in Industry, Academia and various ICT organisations. Previously the students and early career females in ICT were only supported by around two localised Universities, of whom had a few active senior Academics working in the area of gender and ICT. However the low numbers of females in ICT, demographic differences, and gender norms of interaction have prevented a cohesive community, and thus a voice.

What is your projected impact over the next 1-3 years?

Girl Geek Coffees aims to have a stable national presence within this year, with a view to establishing thriving GGC supergroups in all major states of Australia. Those in regional areas will be able to access support through online forums, social networking, and mentoring platforms. It currently has GGC start ups in various countries around the world, and would like to continue to develop that. With the development of a solid mentoring program, the GGC would enable more in depth support of its members, targeting their needs and niche areas to a better level of detail. This would increase the value of being part of the organisation, and ability to impact their lives in a meaningful and ongoing manner.

What barriers might hinder the success of your project? How do you plan to overcome them?

The current barriers to success are actually the females themselves, namely their ability to feel threatened by the leadership of other females and associated praise they get. To address this highly sensitive and compassionate leaders have been put in place to lead the supergroups. These iteratively bring together the various females interested in obtaining and providing support. The second factor is the relative youth of the leaders and duration in which they hold their leadership positions. Choosing student and early career females as leaders means that there is an ever changing target of volunteers, frequently with challenging personal circumstances. Again, the choice of principal leaders to bring the members together creates stability and focus.

Winning entries present a strong plan for how they will achieve and track growth. Identify your six-month milestone for growing your impact
Identify three major tasks you will have to complete to reach your six-month milestone
Task 1

Establish a web site

Task 2

Enable personal profiles for members, mentor profiles, a matching algorithm, and ability to keep the program on track.

Task 3

Design a written documents for the mentoring program.

Now think bigger! Identify your 12-month impact milestone

Complete the Pilot Program for Tri-Mentoring with Girl Geek Coffees (GGC)

Identify three major tasks you will have to complete to reach your 12-month milestone
Task 1

Complete Pilot Program

Task 2

Evaluate Success of Pilot Program through surveys, interviews and in writing

Task 3

Plan for the second phase of the Tri-Mentoring program, targeting a larger audience.

Tell us about your partnerships

Girl Geek Coffees currently is sponsored by Google, of whom cover the cost of coffee and cake to a maximum of $500 per chapter each semester. There are now other companies of whom host GGC meet ups and donate their HR time and in future their mentors and donations. These include international players such as Avanade, Thoughtworks, and the Reading Room. It also covers national companies such as the Suncorp Group and Commonwealth Bank of Australia. We are expecting in the near future the addition of Accenture, Microsoft, Deloitte, Telstra, NICTA, and CSIRO just to name a few.

Please elaborate on any needs or offers you have mentioned above and/or suggest categories of support that aren't specified within the list

Interested in any offers to support the initiative of Girl Geek Coffees, and enable it to be sustainably propagated to other countries around the world. Happy to provide resources to other initiatives in terms of connections with Ambassadors, social media marketing, and cross-pollination with similar organisations.