Recently I was thinking that mentor culture here in Manila isn’t as strong as it could be. We’re too secretive and bound by our existing social circles. We’re a shy, soft power based country. We don’t ask for what we want as much as we should. I hate it. Mentorship is an invaluable resource to young people.
It’s a huge pet peeve of mine to keep information in a silo. That’s why I started TBC: to democratize specific info I knew. I wanted anyone and everyone to see what my answers were on questions others were asking me. A repository of info for anyone who wanted it.
So, I decided to use that same drive I have for opening up information to all to fix a few problems I saw stopping mentorship culture from flourishing here in Manila, with the help of Jayne Tinhay and Angela Rivera.
Enter Mentor Menu.
Mentor Menu is simply a list of people who are becoming experts in their respective fields. And they are willing to volunteer some of their time in answering questions to people who want to learn more about their respective fields.
We strongly believe that people who share their knowledge both improve their craft while helping others improve theirs. Even if they’re just a few steps ahead of a total beginner. That’s why we’re inviting people to both contact anyone in the form with their questions. Or to join the form and share what you know with anyone interested.
WHO CAN BE A MENTOR?
Anyone! We just do a quick screening process through your credentials to make sure no fake accounts or spam get through. Also, we’re a little biased to people around our age and to women. Because we want to make #Asianwomenmentors a thing. The bias manifests in us maintaining a ratio for the list, and prioritizing women first.
If you’re interested in signing up as a mentor, here’s the link to the Mentor Menu MNL Signups Form: http://bit.ly/2uHR8Fu
Feel free to refer or nominate people you know who are willing to talk about what they know, to anyone who asks by sending them this form!
DO’s FOR THOSE REACHING OUT TO THE MENTORS:
Do make sure to introduce yourself a bit and explain what you’d like guidance on. They can help with tutoring, pointing you to resources, life tips, general career advice. Or even just a casual conversation about what it’s like to work in that industry or study that specific topic.
Do look at their links and references first to see if they’ve already answered your questions. If they have and you ask the same question, they’ll probably just link you to those (which is what I do all the time).
Do be respectful at all times, and take nothing personally because a lot of them are busy, and you’re the one asking for a favor. Patience will always be appreciated.
Do reply back to them within 24 hours with any follow up questions but more importantly with thanks. Especially if you don’t have any more questions.
Do ask them if you can do anything for them in return. These are busy people. If you could take 1 task off their plate in exchange for their knowledge, that’d be amazing.
Do volunteer as well if you want to get involved with any organizations or businesses they’re running.
DONT’s FOR THOSE REACHING OUT TO THE MENTORS:
Don’t be shy! Don’t be afraid to reach out to these people to ask for help any time! They’re on this list because they’re going to reply to you.
Don’t ask them to vouch for you or to recommend you for any jobs, until you’ve established a strong relationship with them.
Don’t ever message them “Bump” or with a giant thumbs up, so that your chat goes to the top of their inbox. That’s rude.
SAMPLE TEMPLATE FOR REACHING OUT:
Here’s a sample email template for reaching out:
My name is Justine Chua, and I’m a recent college graduate from Ateneo de Manila University, which I saw you graduated from as well.
I’m reaching out, because I found your contact details in Mentor Menu and noticed that you’re the CMO for Stillfresh, and after doing some research, I found both your career journey and startup so inspiring. I’m impressed by how quickly Stillfresh has grown in the last 2 years, and your other work as a food waste lobbyist for Sen. Bam Aquino. If I could achieve a fraction of what you have, that would be a dream come true for me.
It would be great to learn more about your experience in the startup industry, especially as a young woman, and the qualities you feel have helped you become so successful since graduating from ADMU. I’d especially love to hear what it was like starting Stillfresh as a student, pitching it for funding, and finding your way as a product and group in the industry.
I would be more than happy to meet you for a meal or some coffee or wherever is more convenient for you. Or if you’d prefer a conversation over the phone or chat, please just let me know. I’m very flexible, and even just 15 minutes of your time would be invaluable and greatly appreciated. I’m also willing to trade my services as a virtual assistant for 2 weeks or to help you out with anything you have on your plate in exchange for your time too.
Would it be possible for us to find a time to chat?
Thanks so much,
If they take you up on the meal or coffee, you, as the one who invited, have to pay for it. If you can’t, delete that from your email!
Edit the template to fit who you are and what you can offer in return for the time and knowledge you’ll be asking from them. Don’t feel like you have to use the whole template, I purposefully put a lot in there so you can pick and choose what’ll be useful for you.
Above all else, be transparent about what you want to know from your initial message pa lang.
WHAT ARE OTHER POSSIBLE USES FOR MENTOR MENU?
- Speaker list Take this list as an opportunity to host talks in your schools or for your organizations with different speakers. These people have a different approach, perspective, and set of experiences that could help understand a topic better.
- Networking leads Already a part of the field and looking to meet others? Want to collab with someone interesting in another field? You could use Mentor Menu for that purpose too!
- Finding a consultant or freelancer for your business
Some of the people on this list could be your new business partner, consultant, or freelancer that’ll help take your business to the next level.
We’re also establishing a support group for people who volunteer as mentors to teach them mentorship basics. Like setting up productive mentor calls, boundaries for what they are or are not comfy talking about, how to find recurring questions and turn them into content so you don’t have to repeat yourself, and more!
We’re firmly committed in helping a new generation of experts come out from this mentorship experience. Which is technically one of the expertise I’m offering my mentor time for.
Have fun learning! 🙂
In case you have no idea where you are, welcome to The Border Collective! Where any question you’ve got on internships, resumes, or careers in the PH can and will be answered. I’m Justine, founder and writer of all things here.
Catch Up-Personal is a slot for me to share things that aren’t necessarily about careers or job hunting. But I still think it’s important for you guys to know. Humor me, please.
Today is all about Mentor Menu, my new side project with my new co-founders. If you want to volunteer and help out, email Angela Rivera at firstname.lastname@example.org
If there’s something you want to ask but never knew where to send them to, drop them in The Border Collective’s Google Form or ask.fm. Being a kid myself, I’ve probably gone through the same situations. And at the very least, I can tell you what NOT to do.
Content Partnerships, Plugs, or Business Deals? email@example.com
Email your proposal and a summary of why that’s relevant for TBC’s audience. Don’t worry, we don’t charge money if you’re student-run, just social media x-deals, just like we did in our features for MSE Summit or the APEX Challenge.
Support TBC? facebook.com/TheBorderCollective
If you want to publicly support us + get brownie points from us, like The Border Collective’s Facebook page!
Hope you read something useful, til the next time I write something, bye~