It is almost eight weeks to the day since we launched the Mentorship Program. Here is a quick update on how it went so far and where we are heading next.
We are genuinely amazed and grateful for the extremely positive feedback we received. The demand for mentorship is far higher than we anticipated and confirms that there is a need for this kind of service. In the first week, 17 people signed up to be mentees, followed by another 16 over the following seven weeks. We have received requests from all over the world, most of them from women.
Liron Lavi Turkenich, Luisa Baeta, Isabel Urbina and I review and discuss each request individually in order to find the most suitable mentor for each application. This is admittedly quite a time-intensive workflow and is somewhat aggravated by the fact that we are four women living on three different continents and in three different time zones. We are still working our way through the applications but we are happy to report that we have successfully introduced 20 pairs of mentees and mentors so far.
Most applicants ask for portfolio guidance and career or educational advice. Some people simply look for a sounding board or an opportunity to discuss type related topics and to understand how they can get more involved in the lettering and type communities. We check in periodically to ensure everyone is still happy with the arrangement and we encourage both the mentor and the mentee to contact us if the relationship is not working for some reason.
Our mentors come from very different backgrounds; they are experienced typographers, type designers, lettering artists, font engineers, calligraphers, educators, researchers, creative directors, people who know their way around licences, contracts and running a business, book designers, UX designers and packaging designers. What unites them is their love for letterforms and their willingness to pass on this enthusiasm. We know it is tempting to ask these brilliant minds for feedback on works-in-progress; we like to take the opportunity to remind everyone that the mentors provide career guidance, not professional consultancy.
While we accepted male mentees all along, in our initial post we asked only women to volunteer as mentors. We emphasised that, depending on demand, we would give priority to mentees belonging to underrepresented groups in the industry, and we stand by that. However, we would like to avoid having to reject mentorship requests because we lack suitable mentors. Having a better understanding of the demand, we would now like to ask professionals of all genders to volunteer as mentors. If you want to get involved, please fill in this form and we will get in touch as soon as possible. For those who are enthusiastic about offering mentorship to women or people of colour only — we appreciate that! — you can also specify that when you sign up.
If you are looking for career, industry or educational guidance in type, typography, or the lettering arts, have a read through the FAQ and fill in the form. We will get back to you with suggestions shortly.
Thank you all for your continuing support and commitment.