The best kind of mentor we can offer to our students is one who believes passionately about mentorship. Tatiana considers mentorship to be:
“the most powerful instrument for growth…”
…and she has her own secret about it to share with us here as well.
Meet Tatiana Chernoglazova, or “Tania” as she is known to her colleagues, students, and friends.
Tania has worked in IT and High Tech fields throughout her career, specializing in product management. More on her career trajectory later.
Over the years, she noticed herself imparting her knowledge and supporting the professional growth of her colleagues and peers. Tania felt she gained so much from sharing her value with others that she realized she needed to formalize it. It was, therefore, a very logical and conscious step for Tania to join OpenClassrooms as a mentor on the Product Management path.
A practical education from OpenClassrooms
Tania was particularly impressed by the practical side of an OpenClassrooms education. She describes the curriculum as “to the point, current, relevant and effective”.
The importance that Tania places on her own continued learning, that of others, and the value of mentoring, was very clear in our chat. Her personal values are closely aligned with those of OpenClassrooms:
There is so much information around us, an infinite choice of what you can learn, and I believe that true education happens when you practice. It is scientifically proven that when you practice it is many times more effective than in theory.”
Practice and project-based learning are main tenants of the OpenClassrooms learning method.
Global Corp V’s Start-Up?
Tania started her Product Management career working for the global company, Fujitsu. She reflects on this as having been a wise step for the beginning of her career, and would recommend it because,
“In a big corporation you receive a lot of knowledge and help. You are a little part of a very big structure. This gave me a good, firm, fundamental, knowledge base.”
For the last 3 years, Tania has worked as a Product Owner in a “start-up” company offering information security systems. She is responsible for the development of a software product. As this is very close to the projects she mentors her students to complete with OpenClassrooms, she is able to directly share her knowledge and experience.
This is a very different environment, where experience perpetuates success. She explained that working in a Start-Up is,
“…striking, because things happen so fast and everything you do is impactful right away. It is exciting and gives fire to my motivation.
At the same time, you are responsible for everything, not only the good things. So you carry full responsibility and you need to be very mindful as there is no one behind you. I carry all financial business-related risks. If I fail, my company fails.”
How mentorship changes lives
Tania’s own education was initially in Journalism at University. This led her to work in marketing in a high tech company. She later decided to continue her education at Business School in Switzerland. She studied Business Administration, which is directly relevant to her OpenClassrooms mentoring now.
She was driven to succeed, and undertook this study whilst working and with a young family. Juggling and finding the balance to do this is a special skill set in itself,
“I learned how to do it. I realized I needed to learn how to combine all of that without burning out.”
“My secret is that I work with a mentor!”
Tania knows a lot about mentorship and she deeply believes in it.
So much so that she still meets with her own mentor about once a week, and in between meetings she thinks over what they have discussed.
To facilitate her personal growth she started to consciously learn how to make it possible to do everything she wanted in her life: to be a successful wife, mother, and have a successful career. She couldn’t do it without mentorship. She understood that she needed to put everything into order so she didn’t burn out.
“By taking these steps with my mentor, reading books, and constantly learning (I recommend OpenClassrooms courses which helped me in that as well), little by little I got an understanding of how it can all works.”
She says about her own experience as a mentee,
“My personal mentoring journey was so effective that after a year I was able to plan the launch of one more product for the company I work for now. I found it possible to sufficiently organize my time to allow me to start a new thing, on top of everything else, which required extra energy.”
Investing in Mentorship
Tania finds every mentoring session inspiring, and she hopes for the same effect on her students. Her mindset is that it is a team effort, as she shares and supports her students’ journeys.
“It is very rewarding being a mentor. After every session I feel very motivated, my battery is recharged. It increases my general productivity. Mentorship does give me an extra workload, but because of the effect it has on me, I can accomplish more in my life having these additional extra hours of work”.
Tania told us about a recent collaboration project that was very successful. Her student had to play the role of Product Manager and team up with a Developer (another student from the Junior Developer Path). Both students had different mentors.
The Product Management elements went extremely smoothly and the interaction between Tania’s mentee and his teammate was extremely effective. This was thanks in large part to Tania’s mentoring on previous projects focusing on communication.
“The speed and amount of results of deliverables were fast and regular. It was exciting because it imitated real life so much.”
She found it fascinating to observe how the collaborative project worked from behind the scenes for these students, and she enjoyed assessing the growth results of her own mentee student as a consequence of his whole experience.
In addition, Tania needed to advise and guide her mentee to learn a diversity of new skills and deliverables. By way of example, the very first step was a UX design task. Tania strove to explain this task in an effective way which she did by:
- firstly, telling her mentee a story of how it was done in her company, without any theory, only practice and explanations of hands-on experiences; and
- secondly, she selected brief but inspiring examples of how the task could be done, to demonstrate the best practice in this field.
Very soon Tania’s mentee had created some really strong material, which she considered matched that of an experienced UX designer.
Surprises can arise
One thing that Tania found memorable and surprising during this collaborative project was a difficulty her student had with one task – hypothesis and assumptions. This was actually the most simple task in the project: you make an assumption of what your user can do with this product or what this product is doing. It should be obvious and easy, but the mentee couldn’t believe it should be.
Tania’s challenge was to help him understand. A mentor always has to find a way to explain things effectively, and how you do this varies for every student. Tania needed her student to not over complicate his process. So she used simple words and questions to guide him into the direction she needed. He said ”is it really that simple”, she said, “YES absolutely!”
“As a mentor, I see that perfectionism can manifest a negative impact on motivation”
This is a student who was absolutely excelling. He was trying to meet a very high level and he struggled with some fundamental basics. Tania saw it as part of her role to help him avoid his perfectionism being a detriment.
Gold Standard of Mentoring
“I think a lot about education for myself, my colleagues, and my children. I am constantly and continually developing. I read articles and books daily, and have twice combined work with significant periods of study. This leads me to read about educational approaches and theories and I think of ways to make education more effective.”
We are fortunate at OpenClassrooms to have attracted such a high caliber of mentors. This dedicated, conscientious, and passionate approach is exactly what we aim to offer to all of our students through their mentorship experience.
Thank you, Tania! The skills you generously share are appreciated and your mentoring experiences have been insightful.