Two men standing against a wall with foliage. They are smiling at the camera.
Rafael Souza and Gary Rafferty. Image: Connor McKenna/

Mentorships can bring career development to both mentors and mentees

10 Nov 2022 spoke to Rafael Souza and Gary Rafferty about their mentor-mentee relationship.

When growing in your career, having a mentor is a great way to develop and learn from someone in a more senior position.

Mentorships are a two-way street, in which the mentee gets back as much they put in, while the mentor can often develop in their own career by exapnding their relationship-building and people-management skills.

While a mentorship can often help employees in specific areas such as software development or analytics, having a mentor also helps develope people skills, and can teach a junior employee about more senior, managerial responsibilities. This, in turn, can put the mentee on a strong career trajectory and even lead them to become a mentor in the future.

Gary Rafferty is the head of engineering for e-commerce site Zalando. He has been a mentor to senior software engineer Rafael Souza for several months.

The mentorship focuses specifically on recruiting and interviewing as well as what Zalando calls ‘talent championing’ or bar raising.

Souza said the mentorship helped him better understand the needs and perspectives of other employees, and how to build successful teams.

“When you’re looking for a mentor in your career, try to find people that went through the path that you want to follow,” he said.

“They will be more than willing to help you so they will grow as a mentor, and you’ll also grow in your career.”

Rafferty said the mentorship involves a combination of shadowing, reverse-shadowing and constant feedback.

“Mentoring someone really helps you to question the status quo to grow and develop yourself,” he said.

“You’re looking at things with a fresh set of eyes and questioning the way it is. It has been great for my personal development.”

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Jenny Darmody
By Jenny Darmody

Jenny Darmody became the editor of Silicon Republic in 2023, having worked as the deputy editor since February 2020. When she’s not writing about the science and tech industry, she’s writing short stories and attempting novels. She continuously buys more books than she can read in a lifetime and pretty stationery is her kryptonite. She also believes seagulls to be the root of all evil and her baking is the stuff of legends.

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