While current circumstances are a headache for most people, in many ways it has fostered a remarkable sense of solidarity within both local communities and creative circles. Organisations have stepped up their financial support in the wake of the crisis, while individuals are donating their time to skill sharing, just-for-fun projects and there are a spate of new opportunities to glean words of advice from prominent creatives.
The latter taps into the growing number of mentoring schemes now available, many of which come in response to the various disadvantages that are still rife in the industries. One such initiative is the newly launched Mentor-At-Home scheme from inVisible Creatives, a platform seeking to address the gender imbalance among leaders in the advertising industry.
“As female creatives we are still playing catch up to get as much exposure as men, so opportunities to get exposed to the right mentor are harder to come by,” says founder Maddy Kramer. “Mentors are often attracted to mentees that remind them of when they were younger,” adds inVisible Creatives partner Senta Slingerland. “Because the majority of senior positions in the creative industries are taken up by white men, younger, male, white talent tends to find it easier to find mentorship.”
We feel like finding one mentor is a bit like dating: it’s all about chemistry. We wanted to help demystify mentorship a bit and introduce creatives to many possible mentors
While many mentoring relationships – whether formal or loose – often involve a single mentor, Mentor-At-Home operates in a novel speed-dating format devised by Slingerland, where mentees cycle through different mentors.
“We are often approached with the ask of helping people find a mentor. But we feel like finding one mentor is a bit like dating: it’s all about chemistry. We wanted to help demystify mentorship a bit and introduce creatives to many possible mentors so that they can find the one that feels right,” explains Kramer. This approach is aimed at ensuring “the hunt is not time consuming and that the conversations are incredibly focused. The mentees come prepared and skip the small talk. Mentors appreciate that.”