Posted in WIT, WITspiration

Announcing the launch of: WITspiration

I cannot begin to say how excited I am for this blog post because I finally get to tell you about something that’s been in the works for a while.

My good friend Tracy Boggiano (t | m | b) and I are happy to announce the launch of WITspiration, a women’s mentoring circle.

What is WITspiration?

The goal of this group is simple:

The logo for WITspiration: An image in the center shows a person helping another person climb onto a block. Under the image is the group's name, WITspiration, with the tagline "Lift as We Climb" underneath. The colors are a peach-y pink (or pink-y peach) with the image and tagline in a muted red.

To inspire and empower women in tech, starting with the data platform community, to thrive in their careers through community based mentorship.

Our tagline:

Lift as We Climb.

This is something we hear a lot from a lot of different people; Rie Merritt (t | m) is someone who I often associate with this phrase. It’s important for women to support other women. And this fits our goal perfectly. We’re not only a part of this to get the support we need but help others reach their goals at the same time. We’re truly lifting others as we lift ourselves.

What is a mentoring circle and how does it work?

I first heard about the concept of mentoring circles from Kellyn Pot’vin-Gorman (t | b). I loved the idea because of egalitarian qualities of it. Everyone is a mentee and everyone is a mentor. It’s a collective way to work together to hear the different thoughts and opinions and really work through various issues. For me, it’s also less pressure. I’m always worried that I may give someone bad advice or steer them wrong. With a circle, I have a partner who can also give another perspective and between us, we can provide more support for that third person.

We will create circles of 3 or 4 people, trying to match interests and goals as much as possible. Then we’ll leave it up to each group to find times to get together and mentor each other. We’ll ask one person in the group to help organize when the meetings happen, be someone we can check in with along the way, etc. Tracy and I will be assisting each group as needed along the way. Each group will meet for a year to give them time to develop their rhythms and achieve goals.

Are you interested in being a part of this?

If you would like to participate, here’s the form to fill out:

To find out more information about our organization, including our goals and code of conduct, you can find them here: This link will take you to our GitHub page.

We’re also on social media so make sure to follow us there:

Now that the important part is out of the way, I can share some of the background behind how we got here, if you’re interested in that sort of thing…

What inspired us to start this group?

Both Tracy and I have been fortunate to have benefited by having mentors. And both of us have been mentors to others as well.

A few years ago, I organized a WIT panel at SQL Saturday Boston with the theme “Models and Mentors”. I was struck by some of the people in the room who talked about mentoring others and having mentors at the same time. In addition, some people said that they had multiple mentors – which was something I hadn’t considered. But it makes sense: different people can help you in different areas.

Then two years ago, I was honored to be a part of WIT panel discussing mentoring, with Leslie Andrews (t | b), Gilda Alvarez (t), Deepthi Goguri (t | m | b) and Shabnam Watson (t | b). (You can watch the full panel here.) I was very much inspired by our conversation. One of the impressions I came away with was that it seemed that there was desire by a lot of people to find mentors but it felt hard to do. Were there more mentees than mentors and how can we handle the demand and share the load?

But I was noticing a trend in the things that I was noticing from the community, and it kept coming back to mentoring. When Paul Randal (t | b)  announced he was going to do a round of mentorship in 2020, I jumped at the chance to be a mentee. (You may notice a lot of the same topics that he had mentioned specifically found their way in our list as well. We definitely were inspired by Paul’s mentorship of others. We’ve added some additional topics and want people to add their own as well.) On the mentor side, I’ve been a mentor 3 times with the New Stars of Data, including this upcoming edition, and I have volunteered to be one whenever there’s an opportunity, even if I wasn’t chosen to be a mentor in the end. For me, volunteering to be a mentor, in any way I can, seems to be a way to “pay forward” the support I’ve gotten from others back to the community.

Which leads us to here and now. Tracy and I decided the time was right to start a mentoring circle here in our own data platform WIT community.

Where’s all of the great info again so I don’t have to scroll up?

The form to fill out to join WITspiration:

To find out more information about our organization, including our goals and code of conduct, you can find them here: This link will take you to our GitHub page.

We’re also on social media so make sure to follow us there:

Tracy and I are thrilled that we can finally tell you about this and get this program started. We hope you are as excited as we are!

And of course, if you have any questions about this, feel free to let us know!


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