Becky Power started her professional career as a retail consultant, before joining Google in 2006. She spent the first four years working within Google’s strategy and operations team before moving into the partnerships world, leading business development for Channel Sales across EMEA. Her focus then shifted to working with some of the largest global travel, retail and finance aggregators before realizing that travel was her passion and settling into her current position.
Why do you choose to use your time mentoring others?
I’ve been really lucky to have worked at companies where there were internal mentoring programs— but I valued having external mentors, too. I needed to consult people who weren’t close to the details of my job, who didn’t know the politics of where I was working and weren’t “in the weeds.” Without having much context, they were able to give me advice based on what I was telling them, and the questions I was asking. I really value that type of perspective.
One of the reasons I dedicate my time to being a mentor is because I know from firsthand experience how hard it can be to find those external people. I want to make it a little bit easier for someone to find that type of mentor, if I can.
What do you personally gain from mentoring younger women?
One of the things I really love about mentoring is trying to put myself in the mentee’s shoes as I’m hearing the questions that they’re asking. It keeps me really grounded and helps shed some light on some of the things my own team at work might be thinking about. Quite often the types of questions my mentees ask me are things I used to ask at a similar stage in my career…but as time has passed I’ve almost forgotten what those questions were. In a way, mentoring someone is like keeping a finger on the pulse of hot topics—things that my own team might be thinking of or struggling with, but would be hesitant to come talk to me about.
I love helping people, and my hope is that acting as a mentor and sharing my experiences can help someone see something in a different way, or shed new light on a problem they’re facing.
Why do you like being a leader?
On top of getting to help others, I really love the psychological component of putting together a high-performing team. Who do you hire? What’s the right mix of experience, and personalities? How do you put those people in the right place within the company? And how do you create a safe environment where your team feels free to share their ideas, and can really grow and thrive?
When I started leading bigger teams, I felt that was when I could begin to really put my stamp on the hiring process. Someone once gave me this advice—as I moved through my career, I should write down the characteristics and actions of people I considered to be great leaders. And then I spent time reflecting on ways I could sprinkle those tenets of great leadership into my own day-to-day, but in a way that’s authentic to who I am. The goal is to create an environment that’s the sort of place you wish you could have been when you were at previous jobs.
“The goal is to create an environment that’s the sort of place you wish you could have been when you were at previous jobs. ”
On Sunday night, I want my team to be excited about coming to work the next day, and understand the vision, mission and purpose of what we’re doing. As a leader, it’s empowering to know that you can start creating that feeling, and drive momentum and enthusiasm.
How has mentoring impacted your own journey?
I’ll refer back to what I was talking about earlier about having an “outsider” perspective. That type of mentor helps me to see what I’m not already noticing on my own, because he or she isn’t in the details. I have an external mentor right now, and he’ll listen to what I’m saying, and then he’s able to synthesize everything into one very memorable phrase or sentence.
I’ll give you an example. I was talking to him about how I had stepped into a new role at work—it wasn’t a formal change, I simply inherited some more duties and responsibilities. As I reflected on it, I realized that not being formally granted that certain job title and authority I was looking for had negatively impacted my confidence, and my ability to perform at work. He said to remember three words the next time I felt this way: “Act as if.” So when I’m in similar situations at work where I’m feeling a bit of imposter syndrome, or when I’m covering for my boss and feeling like I’m outside my comfort zone, I hear those words in my head, “Act as if,” and they’re incredibly valuable.
He said to remember three words the next time I felt this way: “Act as if.”
Another great example of when my mentor really helped me: I was coming back from maternity leave, and was sharing my concerns about going back to work and he simply told me, “Put one foot in front of the other.” The most powerful thing about having this mentor is that he’s my opposite in many ways, but he’s able to stamp out the demons in my head, and remind me that I’m not the only one going through these things. People come out the other side of it, and I did, too.
What is the most challenging question you have been asked by a mentee?
“Should I take the job offer?” It was so challenging because it’s such a personal decision. Even if mentees share all the components of what’s driving their thought process, they might hold back some of the emotional aspects. You’re never going to know if your answer is the right answer. They’re in a bind, and you want to give them clarity. You want to be able to help, and be able to simply say “yes” or “no” and make it easy for them…and take the pain away! But you know it’s really their decision, a decision they have to live with. It’s important to put yourself in their shoes, and ask the weird and wonderful questions that will help them confidently reach a decision on their own. Ultimately though, you have to let them play it out themselves.
What advice would you give to a woman who is starting to serve as a (formal or informal) mentor?
Three things: First, be humble—be willing to talk about where you’ve made bad decisions and what you’ve learnt. Second, bring your whole self to the conversation—be willing to share and be really honest. Give specific examples of what you’ve gone through. Finally, be true to yourself…don’t be someone you aren’t.
Ceresa is a professional development platform focused on the mission of closing the women’s leadership gap. Our “Mentor Spotlight” series shares stories and insights from Ceresa mentors.