When you’re seeking a mentor, you’re probably looking to those who are in more senior positions. But what if you were to consider a mentor who has just broken into your field?
This concept of “reverse mentorship” is one that’s endorsed by Detria Williamson, former Chief Marketing Officer of IDEO, who says she always has a mentor and has learned a ton from those who are 10 roles earlier in their careers. Her thoughts on mentorship fit into her wider belief that teams are best set up for success when managers value the different life experiences and educational backgrounds that employees bring to an organization.
Detria was a recent guest on season 7 of the Design Better Podcast. In the episode, she shares what it means when design becomes commoditized and how remote and hybrid work impact inclusivity. She also discusses how diversity can be engineered, but inclusion cannot.
“When you really go for inclusion and belonging, that’s when you start to see retention,” Detria says. “That’s when you start to see innovation and heightened creativity.”
A sought-after public speaker, Detria has received multiple Cannes, ProMax and Webby awards. Her “secret sauce,” she says, was having a diverse and inclusive team in which everyone felt heard, valued, and respected.
by Eli Woolery
Eli is the Director of Design Education at InVision. His design career spans both physical and digital products, and he is a lecturer in the Product Design program at Stanford University. You can find Eli on Medium or on Twitter.