Episode 48: Supporting Underrepresented Talent Through Technology-Based Mentorship

Welcome back to Tech Forward, listeners! On today’s episode, I spoke with CEO and Founder of The Mentor Method, Janice Omadeke. The Mentor Method is a DC-based company devoted to creating inclusive workplace cultures by mentoring diverse talent. The company has been featured in The Washington Business Journal, Entrepreneur, was a 2016 Tech.Co Startup of the Year nominee, and a 2017 Startup Grind Global Exhibition selection. During our conversation, Janice and I will discuss her path to becoming an entrepreneur, her aspirations for the business, and her advice for other founders looking to follow in her footsteps.

After a long career in graphic design working with Fortune 500 companies, Janice turned her attention to creating a mentorship program in late 2015. While most people know intuitively that mentorship is worthwhile, Janice emphasizes that it is, in fact, critical to career advancement. Mentors are five times more likely to be promoted in the lifetime of their career, and mentees are six times more likely. Tailored corporate level mentorship programs such as The Mentor Method play a large role in helping companies retain their underrepresented talent. While there’s no shortage of material for people seeking advice on career development, having a mentor who is focused on you, your career, and your goals is what makes you unstoppable.

With this in mind, The Mentor Method works within large companies who purchase a license and enroll their talent. Using a patent pending algorithm to eliminate bias, mentors are paired with mentees for a 4-month partnership to develop professional skills. These partnerships generate useful data that enables companies to make strategic decisions and build more inclusive environments. “If 80% of the employees in a company say they don’t feel proficient in a particular skill, that’s something the company should pay attention to. Especially if it’s a requirement for promotion within that company, they can bring in additional tools and resources to help employees refine those skills.”

Implementing a mentorship program also plays a role in closing the fundraising gap for underrepresented founders. Traditional fundraising strategies within the venture capital space encourage founders to leverage their networks for access. These networks, however, “have evolved over time to exclude certain demographics. There is a correlation between a lack of mentorship and access, and the lack of funding getting allocated to founders in certain groups who are equally qualified.”

Janice, thank you so much for coming onto the show to share your insights, the work you’re  doing with The Mentor Method, and some stories of how mentorship has helped you in your career. Thank you, also, to everyone out there listening, sharing, and reviewing the show. See you next week!


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