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ARA IN THE NEWS: ARA Announces Enhanced Mentorship Program—New Managing Director Market Expansion Plans

CHICAGO — January 22, 2016 — With January marking National Mentoring Month and a new year underway, ARA, an organization committed to helping Attract, Retain and Advance women in the IT industry, announced today it is launching a new mentorship program to support the high-demand for its services. ARA also announced Britni Salazar as its first Managing Director and the launch of its sixth market, Denver.

“When we launched ARA nearly three years ago, we underestimated the interest people had in being matched in mentorships,” said Megan McCann, one of ARA’s co-founders and President and Founder of McCann Partners. “Initially, we made matches one-by-one as people requested them and then hosted a speed mentoring event to help grow the program. As interest increased, though, we explored options to take the program to the next level, including building our own platform and reviewing technologies already in existence. After much due diligence, we made the decision to partner with MentorCloud, which enables us to return our focus to the success of the overall program, take advantage of increased speed and accuracy of matching, and realize our goal of going from 200 matches to more than 2,000.”

ARA’s enhanced mentorship program leverages MentorCloud, a leading online mentorship platform that makes it easier for mentees and mentors to connect, engage and share knowledge. Some of the program’s features include:

  • Upon registration, automatic matches are made for mentors and mentees based on their interests and needs, whether it’s a more experienced mentor seeking a mentee, peer-to-peer level, or mentees looking for guidance from a senior-level mentor.
  • The ability to ask custom questions for counsel-related to issues such as applying for a specific position, asking for a raise or navigating office politics, among others.
  • A community board where mentors and mentees can interact in real-time, sharing insights and news.

In addition to increased demand for mentorships, other aspects of ARA have seen significant growth. As a result, after reviewing similar organizations’ operations and consulting its Board of Advisors, ARA’s co-founders ClearEdge Marketing CEO and Founder Leslie Vickrey, Harvey Nash Vice President of Business Development Jane Gilligan Hamner, and McCann, recently hired Britni Salazar to manage its day-to-day operations.

“When we were looking for someone to fill ARA’s Managing Director role, Britni was already helping us with marketing, and she immediately stepped up to the plate and expressed interest in taking on the challenge. Starting as a mentee in the program and understanding our mission to the core, we all agreed Britni was a natural and perfect fit to lead ARA as we work to achieve our future goals,” said Vickrey.

As Managing Director, Salazar will oversee ARA's growth in existing and new markets across the country, facilitate events, programming and services for women in technology, and direct operations.

“When I first attended an ARA event, I was hoping to make at least one connection with someone on a similar career path as my own. Instead, I’ve been fortunate to meet countless women who continue to inspire and motivate me, including my very own mentor,” said Salazar. “I look forward to not only successfully debuting our new mentoring program, but exploring new markets, launching our consulting services and white labeling the ARA mentor program for companies interested in adopting it for their own organizations. I can’t wait to share more about these exciting initiatives throughout the year.”

ARA has hosted more than 25 events across its five markets, including Chicago, New York, Seattle, Houston and Silicon Valley, with Denver launching in February. Events cover topics such as “Women in Technology: The Male Perspective,” “Lessons Learned from Trailblazing Women” and “Developing a Career Toolkit for Success.” The next scheduled event, a Career and Mentorship Forum, will take place in Chicago on March 8th.

“We’ve been thrilled with the turnout and engagement at our past events, and can’t wait to continue that success with new events in the coming months,” added Jane Gilligan Hamner, Harvey Nash Vice President of Business Development.

Ways to get involved

Join the conversation at #ARAMentorMonth.

To learn about becoming a mentor, mentee or sponsor of ARA, visit http://www.aramentors.com/get-involved/.

To register for an upcoming event, please visit the ARA events page.

If interested in launching an ARA Chapter in your city, leveraging the ARA mentorship program internally in your organization or requesting support for diversity and women in tech, please contact britni@aramentors.com.

About ARA

ARA aspires to Attract, Retain and Advance women in technology by cultivating relationships via mentorship, events and programs. ARA aims to nurture strong female leaders who bridge the talent gap as they support, influence and advance in the IT community. All three co-founders, Jane Gilligan Hamner, Megan McCann and Leslie Vickrey, were recently named to the Chicago TechWeek 100 and BlueSky Innovation Vault in recognition for contributions to women in technology.

Media Contact

Allison Kaplan
ClearEdge Marketing for ARA
akaplan@clearedgemarketing.com
312-315-9855