10 tips for using the 500 mentors platform

26 March 2020 By Victoria Tomlinson

10 tips for using the 500 mentors platform image

This platform is now closed and no longer accepting sign ups.

Our thanks to so many people who are supporting and signing up to our 500 senior people to mentor Yorkshire entrepreneurs and leaders campaign which was launched yesterday.

We have done this at speed to help entrepreneurs, business leaders and leaders in voluntary and public sector organisations through the pandemic. And because it’s been so quick (we only had the idea end of last week and found the mentoring platform my2be on Monday morning), we have not had time to do the usual information pack as to how it all works. Thanks for everyone just bearing with us as we get it refined and sorted! (I should say my2be have brilliant in doing all this so quickly)

So this blog is to explain how the platform works for both mentors and mentees.

A note first to explain my2be’s concept. They haven’t separated out mentors and mentees because they are about creating a community of people who are generous and will help each other – so someone who thinks of themselves as a mentor could need help from an entrepreneur who thinks of themselves as a mentee. We are in discussion as to whether this is right for the longer term, but this is how it works for now.

So once you are signed up, it is up to the mentee to search on the site – by keywords or looking at profiles and identifying someone who they would like as their mentor. But a mentor can reach out also.

The ways for mentees to find a mentor are

  • Type in keywords if you are looking for specific help – you will get suggested connections
  • Search people in the community and see what they are offering

If someone looks a good fit, click on the Request Connection button and explain what help they are looking for. The mentor can then accept or reject – with a personal message in both cases.

If you are both happys, set up a mentoring meeting. All of this can be done through the site.

Please note, because of the support from Leeds City Council, the mentees should be from Yorkshire but we welcome mentors from anywhere. And if you really want help and are from further afield, we aren’t going to turn you away.

To make things easier for everyone we have listed some tips when signing up on the mentoring platform

  1. This is the link to sign up and thank you so much for supporting this campaign

You need to fill in your name, DOB, email and a password

  1. When you have filled in these details you will be sent an email – we are just rebranding the email from Next-Up but it might be from my2be. Check your junk box if you don’t get an email pretty quickly. Click on the link in the email and this will have verified your email for the Next-Up / My2be site
  2. Add a head and shoulder photo and fill in the details in the sections (if you don’t have a photo easily to hand, take a selfie – smile! – save it on your Desktop or phone and then go to that file to upload)

About me and Looking for

There is a glitch at present about linking to your LinkedIn profile but we are working through this

Here is a VIDEO LINK: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7CtZGwspJA0 to guide you through the signing up process. It was created for the main platform and is quite American – we’ll try and do our own more tailored to this campaign when we get a minute!

A few tips when adding your details

For the mentors

  • In your profile mention as many points about your experience (think of them as keywords) so the system can help in matching/finding you.  The biography (About me) is open for you to put what you want but we suggest you include in the ‘looking for’ section, things like ….
    • The types of entrepreneurs/leaders that you can particularly help at the moment
    • Sector experience
    • Specific experience that people may need eg
      • Fundraising
      • HR
      • Continuity plans
      • Scale-up
      • Innovating in a crisis
      • Emergency response

For the mentees

  • Write a clear paragraph about who you are and your background that is relevant to what you are doing now
  • At least one paragraph about your organisation/business/start-up so others can see if they have relevant experience to help you
  • A simple one sentence about the help you most want now – this could simply be ‘I work on my own and would love to check in with someone once a week’ to ‘I have been asked by the NHS to scale up my product overnight and I have no experience’ or ‘I could do with talking to someone about our employees and keeping them safe’
  1. If you had previously registered on the My2be site please make sure you now connect to the Next-Up community as this is a closed group. You should see the Next-Up community in your dashboard

     5. On the left you will see suggested connections.

These are the people that show up as they are selected on keywords which you have added in the looking for box on your profile.

We don’t label people in the sign up process, so you can be both a mentor and a mentee. This allows for more peer to peer and reverse mentoring. Anyone who wishes to be a mentor doesn’t have to wait for a request from a mentee. They can send a connection request and select “I can help with”. 

  1. This is a free service. The mentors could be recently retired or still working, but able to spare 45 minutes a week for online support, free of charge, for three months.
  2. It is important to stress that mentoring relationships are confidential so the mentee can talk about anything in a way they may not be able to do elsewhere
  3. Setting up Zoom or Skype
    • You can connect to people and set up either a phone call/ Zoom call or Skype call.
    • When you like to set up a Skype call or Zoom call make sure you are set up on your device with Skype and/or Zoom. Both Skype and Zoom have free accounts
    • Please find here a video to explain setting up your own Zoom account
    • Please find here a video to explain setting up your own Skype account
    • We are suggesting a 45-minute call because this is the length you get on the free version of Zoom. You can of course set up another call straight after if you both want to continue
    • Please do use the camera so your mentee can see you – this face to face is really important in current times, especially as so many people are working on their own. It creates more of a sense of being in touch with people
  4. It is important to stress to both sides that mentoring is a confidential relationship.
  5. Rules of engagement

Yorkshire entrepreneurs and leaders

  • The mentors have agreed to support you on a free basis – they want to use their skills and experience to help you. Please be aware the mentors are not liable for any actions you might take as a result of their suggestions or introductions
  • All discussions are confidential between you and your mentor


  • Please don’t pitch to be a non-executive director or to get paid work – let the mentee take the initiative if it is at all relevant
  • We have not done due diligence on the businesses or organisations – if you want to invest, donate or become involved, it is your responsibility to do the necessary financial and legal checks
  • You are not giving ‘advice’ but impartial comment and suggestions. It is up to the entrepreneur or leader if they want to action any suggestions of yours
  • All discussions are confidential between you and your mentee
Author Image

Written by Victoria Tomlinson

Victoria Tomlinson is chief executive and founder of Next-Up. Next-Up supports employers with a range of services for directors, partners and employees to help them understand the impact of retirement on mental health and create a plan to use their skills and experience in new ways to ensure wellbeing. A key part of our role is to inspire people with ideas and contacts, beyond traditional expectations. A former director of EY, she is an international speaker on unretirement, personal branding and using LinkedIn strategically as well as on leadership and women on boards. She mentors chief executives and directors, start-up businesses and ex-offenders. Victoria is Honorary Teaching Fellow at Lancaster University and chaired an advisory board for University of Leeds.

1 Comment

  • An experienced Director with an MBA from Durham University. David has experience of helping small businesses at all stages of growth.

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