Frequently Asked Questions
What Is the 100K Mentor Challenge?
The 100K Mentor Challenge is a national movement and coalition of students from across the country partnering with ProMazo to provide 100,000 Mentors to 100,000 students from underrepresented backgrounds during the upcoming academic year.
The entire recruiting process has been upended because of the coronavirus and it has decimated the chance for students, especially those from underrepresented backgrounds, to build the networks that are crucial to securing full time work after college. We wanted to provide those without a network to fall back on with the support that will be necessary to survive this crisis and ensure we don’t have a lost generation just when diversity efforts within higher education have begun to pay off. Our goal is to create immersive mentorship experiences so students can receive the guidance they need before graduation, helping them develop lifelong advocates for their professional careers. We also hope it will be a new way for companies to sponsor people from underrepresented backgrounds to join their firm and recruit the next generation of leaders.
Who are the people behind the 100K Mentor Challenge?
The leaders of the movement are students who are directly impacted by the changes that are happening in recruiting and ProMazo. ProMazo through its student networks was able to help assemble a wide variety of students to lead different parts of the movement. The 100K Mentors Challenge has over 40 students working on the initiative to ensure we reach our goals. Currently, there are four different teams working together to turn our idea into a reality. The App Team is building out the technical platform on iOS and Android, the Algorithm Team focuses on correctly matching students to mentors, the University Team is focused on developing and executing the strategy to register students as mentees on the app and the Corporate Engagement team’s goal is to build a coalition of corporate supporters and register mentors. ProMazo has donated part of the technology to run the mentorship program and because of its work with companies and students in the past is guiding the program as their way of giving back during this crisis.
How do I get involved?
i. Take the Mentor Pledge ii. Encourage colleagues and team members to join iii. Secure buy-in from senior leaders and ERG groups iv. Share that they pledged on social media and invite friends to join v. Form a Mentor Group at their company to share best practices and learn how to connect with their mentees
What commitment am I making when I register to be a mentor?
An individual makes a commitment to mentor a student for one hour a month for the upcoming academic year (8 sessions). All of the interactions happen virtually and are set up through our mobile app. To reduce the amount of time a mentor spends in choosing who they will help, almost the entire mentee selection process is automated. At the start of every Season (every 4 months), a mentor must indicate that they wish to participate in the upcoming Season so we can make sure we don’t have any zombie matches with students.
Is the expectation that one mentor is assigned to one student based on their interests, and that they have an ongoing, monthly relationship?
Mentors have the option of mentoring up to 5 students at a time, but we expect most to mentor one person at a time. The app will suggest potential mentees based on 20+ factors ranging from professional aspirations of the student and industry of interest to personality and leadership style. After the match, they will meet at least monthly for one hour through a video conference call.
What does the program cost?
The whole program is completely free because we want to be able to help as many students as possible.
Who controls the relationship?
You have full control of the relationship. We have built several safeguards to ensure the relationship is productive for both sides. First, both the mentor and mentee sign a pledge to be prepared and ready for their meetings. The mentee agrees to come to each meeting with questions & topics they want to cover, that they will act in a professional and respectful manner and that they will finish any tasks they were meant to do between the sessions so that the sessions can be productive. Second, we only allow the students to contact the mentee through our chat feature in the app and we are going to be implementing a way for mentors to limit when the mentee can reach out to them to ensure they are not bothered during working hours, family time or too late at night. We also require each mentee to register with their student email so that we can verify their identity and notify their school if there are any issues. Finally, we have a flagging feature whereby if a student is not living up to the pledge or there are any other issues, we can be alerted and the student can be blocked from the platform.
Can anyone be a mentor? Are there particular levels/functions/areas of discipline that matter?
Yes, that is one of the best things about the Challenge. The students will come from a wide variety of backgrounds and majors so we will be looking to bring on a wide variety of mentors. We also do not limit our mentors to a certain seniority level and encourage young professionals to register as mentors because we feel every professional can bring a unique perspective to help a student through this difficult time.
How will I be assigned a mentee?
First download the app (available on iOS & Android). When you register, the app will ask about your background as well as the types of mentors you wish to have. You can select from a variety of backgrounds and professional occupations. Based on shared characteristics like profession, interests, etc., you are then matched with a portfolio of potential mentees. After the match, you can schedule your first meeting with your mentee(s) through the app and work with them over a four month “Season” using the guides and structure the app provides or go off on your own. After every Season, you have the option of switching to a different mentee if you desire and adjusting the types of people you wish to help.