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Spotlight on Service: Rachel Brean

By 12.01.20
Reading time: 4 minutes

At Silverline, we are proud to participate in Pledge 1%, a movement to encourage high-growth emerging companies around the world to build philanthropy into their business. In honor of Giving Tuesday, we wanted to highlight a Silverliner who has gone above and beyond to help an organization thrive. 

Meet Rachel Brean, a Silverline Financial Services Account Executive based in New York. Rachel had been working at Silverline for a year and half. Prior to joining our team, she worked at IBM for three years, and before that worked in delivery and as a sales engineer in the nonprofit technology space. She lives in NY and enjoys trying new restaurants and running in Central Park. She also likes to give back.

She introduced Silverline to the joys of mentoring through the organization BUILT BY GIRLS

BUILT BY GIRLS prepares female and non-binary students to step boldly into careers powered by technology, and their mentoring program, WAVE, connected enthusiastic young go-getters with professionals throughout the tech industry.

How did you get involved with BUILT BY GIRLS?

I was involved probably three years ago, before I joined Silverline. One of my close friends was affiliated with BUILT BY GIRLS and let me know that she was involved in this fabulous mentoring program. They were always looking for mentors, so I figured, “why not!”

In previous roles, I worked for a software company that exclusively worked in the nonprofit space and all of my clients were nonprofits, so it was nice to be giving back even if my current job wasn’t in the non-profit sector.

How many mentees have you had?

About dozen. You are usually assigned one mentee a quarter, depending on how many mentors are available.

Rachel Brean at A BBG event

BUILT BY GIRLS, Girl You Better (Net)Work: Photo by JP YIM

Have you stayed in contact with any of them?

Oh yeah, some have been really proactive and it’s been so fun to watch them progress in their careers. Because some of them are now in college or working and when I originally mentored them they were still in high school or freshmen in college. I have one or two in particular who have been really good about reaching out and we’ve stayed in touch, which has been fun – even if now it’s virtual instead of at the Silverline office.

Are any of your former mentees employed in the field that they were interested in exploring?  

Yeah, they actually are! One of them in particular was studying cybersecurity, and she was really technical. And she’s doing that now. 

How did you go about getting Silverline and so many of your coworkers involved?

I had mentioned it to our chief people officer, because I thought it would be a really good fit based on the ability that people can be remote. Obviously, our colleagues are all over the country, so I thought it was a great partnership given that people didn’t need in-person face time to be a mentor.

The time commitment isn’t anything crazy. It’s minimal time with a really huge impact. And when we got the chance to co-sponsor their event, Girl, You Better {net}Work, and speak for a few of the sessions, we jumped!

We now have about 20 Silverliners who volunteer as mentors with the WAVE program.

Rachel Brean at a BBG event in NYC

BUILT BY GIRLS, Girl You Better (Net)Work: Photo by JP YIM

I think, for me, it’s been interesting because even though I’m not a developer or super technical, I can talk to these girls about the business side of tech and actually how an actual business works and what the different roles are – things you don’t really learn in college. You’re not likely to learn about an RFP process or what a sales cycle looks like or like how marketing interacts with sales to drive campaigns and website traffic in a college course. 

Once they actually get into their internships or careers, it really helps a lot that they hear and have experienced firsthand the different facets of a business in general. And that’s where I’ve been able to contribute a lot, even though I necessarily wasn’t a computer science major in college.

It makes tech less intimidating and it opens up a lot more opportunities for females that would just maybe rule out. Right. It’s great that our different backgrounds can encourage them to still look into tech and find that they fit. Silverline has mentors involved from our marketing team, from our project management side, and it’s great to show that working in tech can still be creative or strategic without involving a background in computers, software, or coding.

I always think it’s so surprising when I get into conversations with mentees and I realize, “you know, I’m a little bit more technical on this than I thought.” So it’s a nice opportunity for mentors to learn about themselves, too.

What keeps you coming back each quarter?

Part of the reason I’ve stayed involved for so long and encouraged others is that BUILT BY GIRLS makes it really seamless and really easy to be a mentor. They provide like a session guide for every meeting that has wonderful prompts and talking points and they provide thoughtful, targeted messaging. But they also keep it open-ended enough that you can be flexible as a mentor and establish how you want to best work with your mentee. 

I know mentors that have been all across the spectrum in terms of  how much formality they want and how much they want to follow the session guides and everything. And I just really appreciate that they do a spectacular job with appealing to their audience, and not making tech intimidating. They keep it fun and uplifting, colorful and cool.

Interested in working with a team of folks with a knack for giving back? Silverline is hiring!

Ready to see real results? We can help.

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