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When/where to mentor?

There is not one-size-fits-all approach to mentorship. Adapt to your schedule and current responsibilities. What matters is that you mentors when you can and where you can.

⏰ When to mentor

We have families, friends, hobbies, and other responsibilities. How do you fit mentorship in too?

It doesn’t have to be time consuming:

  • It can be an hour a month
  • 10 minutes over a span of many months
  • Whenever it fits your schedule

Be mindful of when you can help, and then do it. Stay flexible and adaptable as your schedule changes.

Keep in mind the various mentorship forms and whether you would prefer something formal, informal, or a combination.


Time traveling email

I enjoy business, product, data, psychology, tech and people. Awhile back, I reached out to an alumnus for career advice. He’s a busy individual, a co founder of a SaaS company. He replied with a lengthy email. There were follow-up questions, his opinions, and assumptions, and insights from his experience.

We never had a phone call. Or met in person. But that email exchange had an impact.

Time is not equal. I estimate that it took him about an hour to write that email. But at the same time, it easily saved me a few weeks worth of mine.

🗺️ Where to mentor

Mentorship can occur anywhere. It can be in your ...

  • organization/company
  • team
  • local communities
  • online
  • anywhere

You can also think of it as an onion, peeling back different layers:

  • self > team > department > organization > industry > community > world
  • it can take place in physical locations
  • can happen online/remotely

➡ I go to them

You're the one taking the first step and initiative. Sometimes, people want to reach out, but feel uncomfortable/shy. Or they don't want to inconvenience. Similarly, they may not know who is willing to share.

Taking the initiative, you can mentor at:

  • schools
  • meetups
  • conferences
  • hackathons
  • internal events
  • external events
  • organizations

⬅ They come to me

You can be a like a lighthouse, signaling to others, "If I can help in, feel free to reach out."

For example:

  • posting a welcoming message (with what type of info to ask), on your
    • social media, Twitter pinned tweet/bio
    • LinkedIn summary
    • personal site/blog

For those with large followings, although there are ways to manage with filters, email aliases, and more, it will still require nuance (more details to come).

Ideally, mentees should also be reaching out with thoughtful questions and research.

🏛️ Mentorship Programs

If you're looking for mentorship programs to get involved with, check out this growing compilation of initiatives.