What is near-peer mentorship?
Our mentorship programmes are modelled off of near-peer mentorship because we have seen firsthand how successful it can be and the positive impact it can have, when facilitated effectively.
Near-peer mentorship is where mentors are an average of 3-5 years ahead of a mentee, or just a couple of life stages ahead of them. This form of mentoring results in highly relevant advice and enhances both the mentor and mentee’s ability to relate to one another.
Additionally, we have designed our programmes with the idea of ‘giving and receiving’ whereby women can be and receive mentorship simultaneously. As people, we have an innate desire to give back, but we also have a desire to learn, so we’re offering the opportunity to do both. This is where our name – OneUpOneDown – came from.
Is there a cost for the mentorship?
There is no cost to become part of our network to help it remain as accessible as possible to as many women as possible. As we grow, this may change, however, we intend to keep our mission central to our actions.
I have no experience as a mentor, can I still join?
Yes. One of our foundational beliefs is that everyone has a unique experience that is worth sharing. Our role is to help more people develop the skills to be able to use this to provide value to others through mentorship. So this is an excellent opportunity for you to develop mentoring skills. Start by looking at our mentor guides. These will give you a set of principles and a process to guide you as a mentor. When we match you with your mentee, we’ll make sure you have the support, resources and feedback you need develop yourself as a mentor and add value to your mentee.
I don’t feel like I have much to contribute. Will I provide any value as a mentor?
You’ll be surprised by the value you can provide to someone who is a couple of steps behind you. You have already made some of the decisions that they are about to make, and whether you made the right decision or not, you will have an outcome that you can learn from. If you can take the time to listen to your mentee, reflect on your own experiences, and authentically share the decision you made, the outcome and what you wish you’d known when making the decision, you can add value. Have a look at some of the mentor guides we have created. These will give you some principles and a framework for being an effective mentor.
What if I don’t click with the mentor or mentee I’m matched with?
No problem, you can let us know and we’ll arrange for you to be matched with someone else. No hard feelings, just ongoing learning and development for everyone involved.
Why are the mentor relationships only for 3 months?
Our aim is to create a structured relationship that promotes rapid development. Our hypothesis is that by limiting relationships to 3 months, both the mentor and mentee will be more committed to getting the most out of the period. It’s like a sprint with a specific outcome in mind rather than something that drags out over a long time.
Once the three months is up mentors and mentees can be matched with someone else with a new goal as the focus. Our hope is that connections made will be long lasting so even once the mentor sprint is over, you will continue to have that person in your corner. This means four new authentic connections will be made each year, assuming an individual chooses to be a mentor or mentee on a continuous basis.
We are experimenting with the duration of the mentor/mentee relationship to find out what gets the best outcome for both parties.
Why is this only for women? Can men join too?
By focusing only on women as our niche, we increase our changes of creating successful matches as there is a higher probability that a mentor has the personal and professional reference experiences that will allow them to give the most relevant advice.
Our hope is that if we can build a product that is excellent at matching mentors and mentees, other groups can replicate what we have created for One Up One Down.