• Mentoring

Mentorly, the Platform Built to Break Down Barriers to Mentoring

Aurore Evee | August 5, 2020

Mentorly is the brainchild of two women artists and entrepreneurs, Ashley Werhun and Katherine Macnaughton, who after facing the personal experience and pain points echoed by hundreds of artists and young entrepreneurs, sought to make mentorship more intentional, accessible, and immediate. They created Mentorly.co to bridge the gap in education, offering mentees “real world” guidance and, ultimately, contributing to a more vibrant, global community.

Mentoring is a proven approach that can improve a start-up’s chances for success. When starting a business, simply adding a mentor relationship into the equation can increase an entrepreneur’s success rate by 20-30%. Mentoring is not limited to the entrepreneurial world alone, however. Similar results can be seen in the more traditional work world, as well as in education.

Mentorly: towards a more inclusive mentorship

At a time when inclusion is more important than ever, the two women have successfully met the challenge of expanding this vital educational approach, making it accessible to a broader audience.

Mentoring has long been seen as a relationship between two people from the same community, the same network or the same social circle. The drawback to this approach is that an island effect is created where only people in the same social circles ever have access to making connections and finding mentors, while diverse and underrated talent is sidelined. With an online platform like Mentorly, mentees and mentors from different cities, provinces or even different countries can connect easily and take advantage of an experience they would not have gotten in a traditional face-to-face setting.

“Four years ago when we started Mentorly, we were dismayed to find that mentorship, if not sidestepped altogether, was often informal, unstructured and inaccessible to most,” says Katherine Macnaughton, Co-founder and COO. “It drove us to create a solution that would break down barriers that keep mentees and mentors from connecting, so that they could focus on building strong, meaningful connections and leave the rest to us.”

Mentorly: supporting organizations through COVID-19

In the midst of the COVID-19 crisis, the platform launched a new business solution to help companies and organizations navigate this crisis. Originally designed for one-on-one mentoring sessions between emerging creatives and industry professionals, the new enterprise solution integrates perfectly into schools, workplaces and large organizations across industries.

Mentorly saw a rise in usage of over 300% in the month of April because it offers a complete and efficient system that includes easy navigation, a booking system, video calls, tracking tools, and mentor matching and recommendations. In addition, organizations were seeking to maintain their mentorship programs during these difficult times. Such was the case for Réseau Mentorat.

Formerly known as Réseau M, Réseau Mentorat has been a leading business mentorship provider in Quebec for the last 20 years, providing high-caliber, in-person mentoring programs to entrepreneurs from all backgrounds. Given the time and resources required for face-to-face meetings, the Montreal branch of the organization had already decided to team up with Mentorly prior to lockdown to incorporate digital mentoring into its offering. The COVID-19 crisis served as the accelerator to get the service up and running as soon as possible. Réseau Mentorat plans on rolling out digital mentoring services to all of its 3,000+ Quebec members after completion of the first phase.

To learn more about Mentorly, click here