Learn more about this week's spotlighted community mentor, Samuel Adranyi, a Humans of IT Community Ambassador and Microsoft Azure MVP who shares his mentorship experience with 5 mentees via the Humans of IT Community Mentors mobile app!
On today's #MentorshipMonday, meet our featured mentor, MVP, and Humans of IT community ambassador, Samuel Adranyi:
Q: Tell us a little about yourself.
A: My name is Samuel Adranyi. I am Ghanaian and I have been in Tech for a little over 12 years. I moved home to Ghana last year. Prior to that I was working in the US - Beaverton, Oregon to be specific. I started my tech journey quite early in Grade 4, when I started writing Q basic. I love learning so naturally, I like to share and teach others too. I have been an instructor for 4 or 5 years at a tech school here in Ghana before I left for the States. So, it is kind of like an extra curricular thing that I enjoy. I am always trying to learn something, and then once I learn it, I look for a way to share it.
Q: What does mentoring mean to you?
A: One of the things I realized during the early journey of my learning was that there were people that were surprised and intrigued that someone so young could be so interested in computers and technology. Thankfully, I got a lot of support from parents and friends and I realized that the support I got from people really helped motivate and kept me going. The fact that I had some form of an internal support system from my family made a huge difference to me. If this is how it is, I figured that there are a lot more opportunities for other people like me to be guided, mentored etc and it will make the journey so much easier for them. In my case, I got that. Unlike most people that have to learn all on their own (which can feel lonely/isolating at times) or just go to school to learn it, as a budding technologist I have had the luxury of having a 1:1 instructor after the regular class. So that gave me the insight on the value of helping guide people and it was how I ultimately become passionate about mentoring.
Q: When did you first start as a mentor?
A: I would say that for as long as I can remember! Here is an example: in primary school when we started with computers - our school only had 2 units. We didn't have a computer lab because it was something that had just started, plus computers were very expensive. The computers were stored in the headmaster's office. When it was time for computer class or lessons, we had to go to his office, get the computers, take them back to class, and set them up. Back then there were no indicators on the keyboard or the mouse to tell you that the green one goes to the keyboard and the purple one goes to the mouse. There wasn't anything like that – so you had to figure it out, look at the ping count. That was part of the training, but after a while I was the only person that could immediately assemble and put the computer together. I happened to be one of the few that could do it, so after that I was the main custodian for making sure the computers were properly set up. I loved it doing it so the instructor would say, "Help your friends". So, from Grade 4, I just kept helping my friends (my earliest mentees of sort!), and this simply continued into high school. Now here we are!
Q: Amazing, so is this what inspired you to be a mentor?
A: Yes, here is another example – in Ghana you get to select your high school based on your preference. It all depends on your grades to determine whether you'll get your first or second choice selection. Fortunately, I got my first choice and they were using the high school's computer lab for the administration process– to get your uniform, books, and stuff. So, I was peeking into the computer lab and I was talking to my Dad, telling him that I am not joining to join the computer class. He was surprised and asked, "Why not? You love computers." And I replied, "Look at the computers - they are so old. They are older than the ones I used back at home." Unfortunately, or fortunately for me the computer instructor was just passing by and he overheard me. He said, "Young man – what are you saying about my computers?" Almost immediately I gave him the specs of his computers (without even touching them, just from looking at them). He went silent, and looked astoundingly at me, then my Dad and back to me. My Dad was smiling- you know, the proud father moment. The teacher said, "Do you know anything about computers?" Then my Dad jumped in – "Oh yes, this is my son and he already took all the credentials surpassing even me in Windows 95, DOS, Q Basic - he has all of the paperwork from the certification pack." So, the teacher looked at me and now seemed a bit interested - he then said, "When you are done with your admission process, come see me." What was cool was that I had collected all the diskette packs (mind you, there weren't CDs at that time). You had drivers that were generic – I had Printer drivers, Windows 95 drivers etc. I had a full stack and would bring them to school.
After admission, I went to the lab and started having a conversation. Most of the computers were broken down – and at that time most of the schools had to wait their turn to have computers repaired, so if the computer broke down you would have to just sit and wait until someone comes from the Capitol to fix the computer. During the first 2 weeks of school, I was going around fixing the computers. The headmaster would come by the lab, and he would watch me at work and exclaim in surprise, "Wait, another computer is now on, and then another computer is on too!" The instructor would say, "Yes- this young guy here has been fixing them." Since there, it has just been like that; I learning by doing, and then extend my knowledge by helping others. This has inspired me to continue to help others all throughout my career.
Q: How did you get matched with your mentees?
A: Actually, we first met outside of the mentorship app but eventually moved onto it. When I got back from the States, I wanted to mentor a few very enthusiastic and determined people in Ghana. I originally with 5 people on my own outside of the app since we already had something going, but then during one of our Humans of IT x MVP community calls we heard about the Community Mentors app. We wanted to have a more formal process and the app allowed us to have more structure. So now I tell any potential mentee: go on the app, sign up, look for me, and then we can have a more formalized process.
Q: What has been your experience with the app?
A: The app is a cool thing – it is a great way to have a formal process for mentoring. It is fun and is a good experience. This gives people a way to connect with you and actually form a connection
Q: What is the key to being an effective mentor?
A: Being yourself - it sounds simple but that is the greatest thing I have seen. Make your mentees like part of your life – thinking like my home is their home. They know when to be goofy with you and also when it is time to get serious. If you are yourself around your mentees, it goes a long way. They need to know that you are human and make mistakes too. They need to see that you make mistakes and that it is okay to not be okay. Sometimes mentees think mentors are that perfect unicorn, but no one is perfect. When you start making yourself accessible and being vulnerable too, that is when mentees can really learn from you.
Want to start your journey as a mentor and/or mentee?
1. Download the Microsoft Community Mentors app (make sure you're on the latest v3.0!)
2. Log in with your Tech Community credentials (Note: You will need to be a member of the Humans of IT Community). If you are not already a member, you will be prompted to complete your Tech Community registration and officially join the Humans of IT community.
3. Create your profile and look for your future mentor and/or mentee!
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