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January 26, 2023

National Mentoring Month: Growing with Ansys

There is an old Chinese proverb that emphasizes the importance of nurturing people to achieve growth and prosperity as one would a crop. Though it takes different forms in its many interpretations, a common version is: “If you want to grow a harvest in one year, grow a crop. If you want to grow a harvest in 10 years, grow trees. If you want a harvest that will last a lifetime, grow people.”

So, how do we grow people? Unlike education or academia, which historically offer one-way learning environments, mentorship is an excellent alternative that provides a mutual and collaborative experience for both the mentor and mentee.

To celebrate National Mentoring Month, we would like to highlight Ansys’ longstanding commitment to mentorship, including the opportunities it fosters within Ansys as well as within the communities it serves globally.

Growing from Within

Ansys identifies mentoring as a trusted relationship outside of traditional employee–manager dynamics. In Ansys’ global mentoring program, which is open to all employees, mentees are paired with mentors who have experience or expertise in shared areas of interest. The program facilitates these connections within departments, across business units, and even across countries, continents, and job functions.

“Our goal with the program is to promote knowledge-share in a way that enables people to learn from one another,” says Ellie Monaco, a senior manager in talent management at Ansys. “Because we have such a smart workforce, mentoring truly helps us all learn from one another, share experiences, and grow together.”

Mentoring over breakfast

Mentoring programs give employees an opportunity to engage with colleagues outside of meetings in more casual settings.

Everyone at Ansys benefits from mentoring as it promotes a culture of development, drives performance, and expands networks. Mentors can give back to the company and help others, while mentees can grow professionally and learn. Through both mentoring experiences, the organization builds bench strength and drives engagement.

Ansys also gives back to the communities it serves by participating in mentoring opportunities that encourage science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education to learners of all ages and at all levels, including groups who benefit from assistance with removing barriers to growth.

Some initiatives that support these efforts include participation with the American Corporate Partners (ACP) mentoring program for veterans and active-duty spouses; Maharshi Karve Stree Shikshan Samstha’s Cummins College of Engineering for Women (the first all-women engineering college in India); Young Men and Women In Charge Foundation, Inc., which increases workforce diversity by preparing underserved youth for STEM careers; and the Society of Women Engineers mentoring network.

Recent feedback from an ACP program participant commended the Ansys and ACP collaboration for setting up a successful mentorship match with Mark Smydra, a director of strategic initiatives and integration at Ansys.

“ACP has nailed the process of matching mentors with mentees; Mark Smydra has been absolutely fantastic,” says the mentee. “His experience, coaching, interview preparation, and communication over the past eight months have been materially significant to the critical elements to my employment offer. The value and quality of anything must be judged based on the results — both quantitatively and qualitatively — and ACP and Mark have produced exceptional results.”

Mentoring by the Numbers

We are creating a culture of mentorship at Ansys because we know mentorship works.

According to statistics compiled by McCarthy Mentoring1:

  • 71% of Fortune 500 companies have mentoring programs.
  • In a five-year study of 1,000 employees, retention rates were higher for mentees (22% more) and mentors (20% more) than for employees who did not participate in mentoring programs.
  • Millennials planning to stay with their organization for more than five years are twice as likely to have a mentor (68%) than not (32%).
  • 89% of those mentored become mentors.
David Vega

David Vega, a lead research and development engineer at Ansys, participates in Ansys’ global mentoring program.

In addition, America Needs You (ANY) surveyed hundreds of professionals who mentored first-generation college students and over 90% reported that their experience as a mentor helped them become a better leader or manager at work2.

“Building a culture of mentorship also helps us to be intentional about how we support all employees at Ansys,” says Monaco. “Mentoring also helps close our gender and diversity gaps by providing support, changing perceptions, removing obstacles, fostering accountability, building networks, and increasing confidence.” 

Finding Meaning in Mentorship

Ansys sees the benefits of mentorship threefold for the mentor, mentee, and organization.

How does mentorship benefit the mentor?How does mentorship benefit the mentee?How does mentorship benefit the company?
  • Drives self-awareness
  • Expands professional networks
  • Improves leadership skills
  • Increases awareness of talent
  • Enables reverse mentorship
  • Increases job satisfaction
  • Accelerates development
  • Enhances self confidence
  • Expands professional network
  • Increases job satisfaction
  • Increases possibility of promotion
  • Increases knowledge
  • Builds bench strength
  • Grows a culture of development
  • Drives engagement and retention
  • Supports inclusion and belonging
  • Increases cross-cultural understanding

David Vega, a lead research and development engineer at Ansys, joined the employee mentoring program seeking a valuable mentor connection within his workplace.

“Everyone knows mentors are essential, but finding the right mentor is hard. In fact, I do not have one mentor, but I have several mentors, most of them outside Ansys,” says Vega. “I hope that I can find a mentor inside Ansys that helps me navigate the Ansys experience and suggests paths to grow inside our organization. The Ansys employee mentoring program can help to find this mentor.”

Mentoring interview

Research shows that participation in mentoring programs can increase employee retention rates.

Anne Woepse, a manager of research and development at Ansys, enrolled in the program both as a mentor and mentee.

“I believe it is important to connect with people that you may not have day-to-day interactions with,” says Woepse. “Mentorship is a great way to learn from each other’s experiences and share in some of the lessons learned throughout one’s career.”

Paving the Path, Hand in Hand

In addition to conventional mentoring opportunities, Ansys supports reverse mentoring. This approach is an innovative way to encourage learning and to facilitate cross-generational relationships. An example of reverse mentoring is placing a junior-level professional as a mentor while placing a senior-level employee as a mentee. Essentially, reverse mentoring pairs people in unique ways to grow knowledge up, down, and across the five generations3 that are currently in the workforce. Digital transformation is one area that benefits greatly from this type of pairing because younger generations are sometimes more familiar with emerging technologies than their senior-level peers.

Learn more about #LifeAtAnsys at Ansys Careers and apply for a job today.



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