Learn how Raquel Cunha Became a SAP Mentor
SAP Mentor nominations can be made year-round. The current deadline for this round is March 1st. More details can be found here. A common question is how do you become a SAP Mentor? See Colleen’s story here. See Moya’s story here. Now this is Raquel‘s story below.
Q. How did you become a Mentor?
A: I was a member of SAP Community since the very beginning, in 2004, mostly answering questions in forums and learning from other members, but wasn’t aware of SAP Mentors program until 2010, the year of my first SAP TechEd. There I saw some people using those strange t-shirts and was a bit curious about it, as everyone usually is. Then I started to notice the Mentor lemon besides the profile of some people I followed on SCN, and found out they were SAP Mentors. Not a long time after that, in 2011, there was an SAP Forum in São Paulo in which Brazilian SAP Mentors Marcelo Ramos, Henrique Pinto and Tobias Hofmann were going to talk about the SAP Community in Portuguese. I attended the session and was very excited to help them in the organization of events in Brasil and to spread the word about the Community. At that time there was already a SIT in São Paulo every year and they were planning to organize in Rio and São Leopoldo. (See picture of Raquel at the right speaking at a SAP Inside Track – photo credit Marcelo Ramos)
I then started to contribute with them, and inspired by Marcelo I started to write blogs on SCN instead of only answering questions. I already had the experience of writing articles for SAP Experts (Solution Manager Expert at that time), but never a blog. It was not very easy to start, I wrote at least 2 blogs which I never posted until I finally left the comfort zone and ignored the fear of being criticized, and posted the first. After the first time, things were much easier and I tried to continue posting.
Some time later I had the pleasure to be contacted by our dear Marilyn Pratt, who invited me to speak as a panelist in the Woman in Technology event she was planning for SAP TechEd Madrid 2011, and tell my story about being a woman in IT and travelling the world working with SAP. That would be the greatest challenge of all for me, but I again left the comfort zone and accepted. On that day I could meet in person many of the SAP Mentors and community members I was following and only knew virtually, and they could know a little bit about me. In the meantime I was asked by a SAP Mentor that I consider my SAP Mentor mentor if I would be interested in becoming a SAP Mentor too, but I didn’t know yet what to answer, as I was still confused about what an SAP Mentor was.
Some months later, in April 2012, I received an e-mail from Mark congratulating me for being nominated and selected to become a SAP Mentor, and no clue about who nominated me, but I suppose it was the community members and SAP Mentors who were following my contributions and who knew me and my professional background. I was so nervous and so happy with that e-mail! I was with a customer at that time and I remember to have showed her the e-mail very excited and she congratulated me very happy too.
Q: What qualities does it take to become a Mentor?
A: This is still a hard question to answer, as besides knowing the SAP Mentor Magic Foundations, it’s still very subjective. For instance we all have different ways to contribute with community and with SAP, some Mentors are more active on SCN, some are more active in events, some are deeply involved with SAP Products helping to improve them (and not going public about it), others are giving their feedback to SAP executives. But all of them are passionated about what they do, about technology, about SAP, and want to share this passion with others and lead them, and inspire them. So, for me, to become a SAP Mentor you should:
– see in yourself some of the magic foundations
– be passionate about what you do
– be really willing to help others
– be interested in helping SAP to deliver better products and better services giving your sincere feedback and positive criticism
– be available to Mentor others and lead by example
– share your knowledge and experience
– be inclusive. Be pro-active. Be amazing if possible! 🙂
Raquel is pictured above speaking at a packed SAP TechEd Networking session. Picture is by Raquel.
Q: How has your experience as a Mentor helped you?
A: It helped me to meet some great people who today I consider my friends. It somehow made me contribute more in areas I was not yet contributing, like if it was a push I was needing to act more. I am very shy and being in front of a group of people to present or tell my experience is not something easy at all for me, but I have been trying to get better on it. And that was much because I was inspired by other SAP Mentors. I had the opportunity to speak in Expert Networking Sessions at TechEd, something I never had the chance before, and share my knowledge in person with customers, consultants and SAP employees.
As an SAP Mentor I had the opportunity to host interviews with SAP VP and Product Managers for TechEd Live, something so challenging and so enjoyable.
Being an SAP Mentors also helps to give more value on your feedback for SAP, since you are recognized as an expert in your area. At TechEd I could for example discuss about SolMan with SAP Solution Manager VP in one of the Mentors meetings with SAP Executives, besides having the chance to give feedback to SAP Product Managers in person. And the same happens with customers, who look for your feedback and support, and see you as a source they can trust. At TechEd I could also support hands-on sessions as a co-speaker, helping the Solution Manager teams during their sessions. This support is offered to SAP Mentors every year.
Of course being a Mentor helped in terms of visibility too, and visibility helps you to make new contacts who can potentially be new customers or partners, or new friends. Having another SAP Mentor as a colleague and share a project is also a great experience, and it happened to me.
Q: What recommendations do you have for others to become a Mentor?
A: Be yourself. If you see you have the foundations to become a Mentor, just keep doing what you do, or if you believe you can do better, do better! Share your knowledge and experience by being active on SCN or social media, or speaking in events like SIT, or even organizing events for the community. Make yourself visible, so people can know you better and recognize what you do. I am sure there are amazing people doing an amazing work but the community or SAP is not yet aware of them. Share your magic! And always remember that Community Matters. Be part of the community, engage, support, share your voice, add your value.
Thank you, Raquel, for sharing your story. Follow her on twitter @RaquelSolMan
Picture to the right is from the SAP TechEd Gallery, pictured is Mark Finnern, Raquel, Marilyn Pratt and Peter Langner – the JAM Band.
Do you know someone who has what it takes to become a SAP Mentor? Be sure to submit your SAP Mentor nominations by March 1st.