When Hospitality Technology asked Dayna Kully, co-founder and partner in 5thGenWireless, what professional goals she has recently set for herself, she replied without hesitation “supporting other women in reaching their goals!”
Kully has more than forty years of experience working within the hospitality technology industry, including past leadership roles at Enseo, Corning, Sprint, Mitel Networks, and more. While she has made significant contributions to supporting the hotel tech industry, she no longer finds it necessary to focus on just her own professional growth.
“At this point in my life,” she explains, “Supporting women in reaching their goals is more motivating to me than setting and reaching my own professional development goals. It’s incredibly rewarding to watch women grow and discover their true potential and grow within their professional lives.”
While helping others thrive is a major perk to being a mentor, there are additional benefits as well.
“It’s also amazing how much I learn about myself through my mentoring of others,” she notes. “Being a sounding board for others also makes me think about things with a different, refreshing lens.”
Mentoring Is a Large Responsibility
Like anything rewarding, however, being a mentor is hard work and a large responsibility. Kully says she invests a significant amount of time into preparing for her sessions with mentees. For example, if a mentee asks for help in an area where Kully happens to have limited experience, she’ll spend a lot of time thinking through introductions to professionals that do have experience in that area and who are willing to share their insights with her mentee.
While Kully has been an informal mentor for most of her life, she recently became a part of the AHLA Foundations’ eMentorConnect pilot.
“This is a structured process with tools and relevant data I wouldn’t have otherwise had access to,” she explains. “It’s really opened my eyes to a new level of mentoring and I’m enjoying the process and learnings.
Some Advice from a Seasoned Mentor
For Kully, helping women chart their way forward is the ultimate professional goal. And with her decades of experience within the hospitality technology industry, she has picked up some great pieces of advice for helping women manage their IT careers.
First, she recommends that women develop strong relationships with a handful of key mentors both inside and outside their work environment. Second, she advocates for women to constantly be networking within the IT ecosystem.
“This is imperative so that when opportunities become available, you’ll be top of mind,” Kully explains. “A great way to network is to actively participate in hospitality and travel associations. Then nurture those relationships with regular communication.”
Not Just a Mentor, Also a Mentee
While she takes pride in being able to mentor others – she has often been on the other side as the mentee.
“I have had many mentors in my own career, and I continue to develop new relationships with those who play a mentorship role,” she explains. “Every mentor has something different to offer and they are often invaluable when it comes to guidance and networking. In fact, they all continue to influence my decisions and most of my mentors have morphed into lifelong friendships because I developed such a close and trusted relationship with them during the process.”