We’ve all heard it before – “Everyone needs a mentor”. But how do we find one? Even the most successful minds in the world, like JetBlue chairman Joel Peterson says “Quite frankly, finding that special teacher will come down to luck and resolve”. There’s been no easy way, until now…
We’ve been on both sides of the equation. My co-founder Katherine, hit a wall with her work as a filmmaker. She sought to bridge her two interests, filmmaking and entrepreneurship, but was unable to find a mentor who could advise her. On the flipside, sitting on buses several months of the year as a touring professional dancer, I would receive countless questions sent to my various inboxes, like “Should I come to this audition?”, “Would I have a shot at a contract?” and I had no idea how to answer without roping myself into a one-way, superficial exchange. This informal way of communicating didn’t offer any real connection or chance for me to get to know any of these aspiring dancers. The problem became achingly apparent: artists are hard-pressed to find guidance that can help steer their careers, develop and sharpen skills, and build confidence.
We have apps and online services that order us food, a ride, and even successfully – for some – match us with partners, but why should helping young, determined, and incredibly talented artists be overlooked? When I think back to when I would wrap up master classes while on tour, with fifty little sets of eyes looking up at me in wonderment and time limited to a handful of questions, I would feel terrible. I wanted to give more. These conversations needed to be longer, recurring and one-on-one.
With little to no tech background, Katherine and I set out to build a solution. We founded Mentorly, which has been live for three months now! We’ve surrounded ourselves, quite naturally, with our own stellar team of mentors and advisors; startup gurus and tech geniuses who are able to guide our vision and goals so that we can offer a seamless and intuitive solution for aspiring and professional artists around the world.
On Mentorly, users can book a mentor, schedule, pay and meet one-on-one via our video conferencing channel. It’s a one-stop-shop for mentorship. Mentees that have used Mentorly are raving about it: “I was given very achievable goals and challenges that I can do to improve as an artist. He also gave me a better sense of where I’m at in my development. It was incredibly valuable to me!” and “it’s the best spent money!”. Mentorly is a bilingual service, English and French, that serves artists worldwide in 25 countries. High-level guidance is provided from notable mentors, such as Ariana DeBose of the Broadway “Hamilton” and “A Bronx Tale”, Kathryn McCormick of “So You Think You Can Dance”, Andrew Wan, Concertmaster and First Violinist with the Montreal Symphony Orchestra, and Joy Womack, Principal Dancer with the Kremlin Ballet. We also have entrepreneurs to help bring your idea and work to market, such as Caterina Rizzi, Co-founder of Breather and John Michael Schert of the Trey McIntyre Project and Executive Producer of the Treefort Music Fest. These are just a few among the 150 accomplished mentors who are on Mentorly! A little over three months live, Mentorly is already making waves, being featured on CBC, Global News, Breakfast Television, CJAD and publications such as The Dance Current and BetaKit.
We were tired of the common rhetoric that becoming a professional artist is a pipe dream. It’s not. Many are doing it and they are fulfilled and successful. We believe that Mentorly will close the gap between “aspiring” and “professional” as we are all working towards self expression; going into the studio, theater, office, classroom every single day, digging deeper into ourselves and the world around us. We are a reflection of society and have common goals in our work. Mentorly is here to help those that are “doing it” by guiding the next generation of voices. Peterson says it’s all up to luck, but who has time for that? Let’s make our successes intentional and make mentorship our catalyst for growth.
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