500 mentors – what is it and tips for writing your mentoring profile in COVID-19 times

27 March 2020 By Victoria Tomlinson

500 mentors – what is it and tips for writing your mentoring profile in COVID-19 times image

The platform is now closed and not accepting new sign ups.

500 mentors was launched at great speed, with the support of Leeds City Council, to help entrepreneurs and leaders (of any sector) in COVID-19 times.

You can join the site free with this link (sign up page). To log  in to the account follow this link – you just need to complete your profile, say if you want to mentor others or be mentored and then make connections. More details on all this below.

Initially with a Yorkshire focus, Leeds CC have agreed you can be from anywhere in the UK.

Who can mentor?

Senior people coming up to retirement or recently retired – or still working with spare time. We suggest you offer mentees a free 45-minute Zoom session once a week – but agree what works with your mentee.

Who can be a mentee?

Any entrepreneur or business leader or leader from public/voluntary sectors who could do with someone to talk to and/or practical help. We suggest you have a free 45-minute Zoom session once a week but agree what works with your mentor. Ideas as to why you might want a mentor here.

What do I do?

  • Sign up and create a profile (tips in this blog – remember the site works on AI, so think about keywords to make the matching process easy for everyone)
  • The ways to find each other 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 you are looking for. The mentor can then accept or reject – with a personal message in both cases. This also works the other way around. A mentor can also request a connection from a mentee to say I think I can help you with ‘X’.
  • Have an initial online chat with each other, agree if you want to carry on – and arrange a meeting if you do via the portal
  • Set up online meetings
  • Agree actions and dates
  • The site will prompt you to complete your actions

There is no limit to how many people you approach or help.

Weekly calls for mentors

There is a free Zoom call that mentors can join on Wednesdays at 2.30 pm. Email sandy@next-up.com if you would like to join this.

Tips on being a mentor

Thanks to Gareth Healey for tips on being a mentor in COVID-19 times

We have amazing mentors signed up already – do ask for their help.

Watch the short video below by Victoria Tomlinson to explain the 500 mentors campaign – and tips for mentors and mentees when writing your profiles or asking for help.

Contact us

We welcome feedback. This campaign and site were launched at incredible speed – days! We are still refining and tweaking it all to make it easy for you.

Contact sandy@next-up.com for help, feedback or ideas.

And finally thanks to so many people for supporting this campaign. Of course, Leeds City Council, also NorthInvest, RSM, Tech Mentors: Yorkshire. And the dozens of networks and business organisations lending their support to the campaign. Thank you – you are all making a difference.

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.

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