Just over a year ago, my business partner, Allan Fine, and I started a new business which we called the E-Mentor Project Ltd., with the intention of positively impacting people through marketing and supporting an effective, leading-edge mentoring system, MentorCloud.
Through our company, we are providing a platform for people with experience to share with mentees who will learn from their wisdom and knowledge. Many people are looking at career shifts and changes, while others are looking to advance their education or position within corporations, and we believe that mentorship will help to re-establish a person-to-person connection that will enable people to move to success and proficiency in less time and with greater confidence. As American author and businessman Zig Ziglar said, “A lot of people have gone further than they thought they could because someone else thought they could.”
Our original vision was to work with the petroleum industry as companies have laid off and reduced staff very deeply in recent years which has left fewer people with less experience to do more work. We ran a survey early in 2016, sent to just under 400 petroleum industry people, and learned many things in the process, some of which we weren’t expecting.
Our first question was “Has there been someone in your life, a mentor, who has helped you get to where you are today?”. Personally, I have had MANY mentors who have helped me become the person I am and to achieve the things I have. My parents, many teachers, friends, and various professional connections have all been instrumental to my growth and journey. While I’ve never had a “formal” mentor, the situations where mentors have appeared and been instrumental to me have been numerous and rich, each and every one of them.
Several of the respondents to our survey said that they had NEVER had a mentor. That raised the question with me of the less formal situations in life when mentorship occurs. I can’t imagine any successful person who hasn’t been positively influenced and impacted by other people. My conclusion was that they had just never experienced a “formal” mentoring relationship. If we expand the concept and experience to more “informal” mentoring relationships, I believe we have all experienced them.
The second question we asked in our survey was “If you had the opportunity to be the mentor you wish you had, would you make the time and commitment to be that person for someone else?” Many of the respondants said they would be a mentor for others, if they weren’t already acting in that capacity, while some said that they were too busy. My observation is that, because companies are operating so lean right now, people are stretched to their maximum capacity and perhaps even a bit beyond. I sense that there is a feeling of being overwhelmed, for those people who take great pride in the work they do, and have been tasked with far too much of it.
Since we ran our survey and assessed the responses, we expanded our original vision from working with the petroleum industry exclusively, to working with academic and alumni networks, corporations, professional associations, and entrepreneurs around the world. With MentorCloud and its founder and visionary, Ravi Gundlapalli, we intend to reach one hundred million people with this system by the year 2020.