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Meet our mentors

Neha Molasaria City - Pune | Occupation - Software Specialist, Amdocs | Field of study - Computer Science and IT

I have been teaching young children for a while and always look for new opportunities to share my experiences and knowledge with them. I feel mentoring is the perfect platform for this

Shloka Russell Mehta City - Mumbai | Occupation - Director, Rosy Blue Foundation | Field of study - Law and Anthropology

Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It's not.” -Dr. Seuss. I read this quote a while ago, while I was in college and it stuck with me. I think having the opportunity to influence a young mind, and help them realise their potential is an incredibly powerful thing. Mentoring is, according to me, the best way to have a deep impact on someone’s life, and to make a difference that will last forever.

Abhishek N City - Bangalore | Occupation - Student | Field of study - Engineering- Electrical and Electronic

I always wanted to be an important part of a person's life, guiding them in the right direction from a very young age. I’ve benefited myself from guidance my seniors in college provided me. I would like to be someone that a successful person recalls and thanks, for help provided in their growing years.

Harvinder Ghai City - Delhi | Occupation - Account Services Director, Amdocs | Field of study - B.Tech. in Electronics & Communication Engineering, Senior Management Programme from IIM Calcutta.

The desire to give something back to society, and guide the young brigade on the nuances of the industry. I want to share the tough lessons that the time and experience taught me so that someone else doesn't have to go through the same pains. I never had a mentor at the start of my own careers and I don’t want anyone to be deprived of such help and guidance.

Meet the pairs

SHYAM KULAVE (Mentor) | Director of Engineering, Cisco India

Why did you decide to take up the mentoring responsibility?

When I look back at my life, there are numerous events and people who have shaped my thinking and abilities. I think I have reached a place today because of all those efforts and incidents. I wanted to give it back to society by training and mentoring the younger generation.

What different types of activities did you focus on during the mentoring?

A lot of young people who join the workforce don’t have the necessary soft skills for the fast pace of work that happens today. The practicability of the engineering curriculum is not up to industry standards. Additionally, mentees from the Foundation from Excellence scholarship program often come from rural backgrounds and have studied in their mother tongue until undergraduation.  They may be under confident when it comes to the ability to express ideas and interact with people. I came into the mentorship with an open mind. I wanted to understand my mentee, Karthik’s life and aspirations. Once I started looking into his academic performance and his current social skills, I was able to identify certain gaps and difficulties. With him being in his second year, we focused more on academics initially. Over the course of the next few years, I look forward to working with him more on soft skills.

What did you do to build a strong relationship with him?

It was lot of listening and sharing from both sides. We didn’t just do serious activities. We would play table tennis together; that helped build the bond between us.

What have been some of your successes and challenges?

I felt initially that Karthik had some inhibitions about the mentorship but he was able to share more openly as time went on. He was able to understand some of the practical approaches I gave him for his academics, which helped him do better in academics.

What is your goal for the mentorship?

My goal for the mentorship is that Karthik will develop to become a complete individual. I’m not looking at it from merely the employability perspective. I want him to see life as it is, take challenges as they come and excel at everything that he takes up.

T KARTIK (Mentee) | 3rd year Computer Science and Information Systems Engineering, PESIT Bangalore

What are the different things that you do with your mentor?

Shyam and I meet once in two weeks. Shyam’s house is the most convenient location for the mentoring – so we often meet there. He guides me on technical skills and we also follow the Mentor Together curriculum. Whenever we get free time we also play table tennis. I’ve also gone to his office and met his colleagues.

What is the best part of the mentor/mentorship?

I used to think that academics was very hard. I couldn’t understand the way my teachers taught me. Also it was hard for me to adjust to college initially. Anytime I expressed a challenge, Shyam would guide me and respond to me. He never said that he was busy. I feel more confident when I’m with him. I feel that each student should have a mentor like him so that they don’t face any difficulties. He told me about the importance of soft skills, something that I had never thought about before. I have become more aware about soft skills and my actions.

How do you think mentorship will help you in achieving your future goals?

At times when I am unsure, Shyam’s experience helps me understand the best choice that I can take.  He always makes me think; he can give me the solution right away but he makes me think. He is more than a friend to me. Mentorship helps in overall development.

PUSHPA (Mentor) | Engineering Manager, Cisco India

Why did you decide to take up the mentoring responsibility?

I felt I am good at working with people. Mentorship was something on my mind for a while – I identified it as a goal for myself in my own personal development. I feel very satisfied if I can help young people through the experiences I’ve gained working for 13 plus years now.

Young people nowadays are inundated with information. They can get confused about what to do and how to deal with certain circumstances. Mentorship can be a vital support in such circumstances.

What different types of activities did you focus on during the mentoring?

I share a lot of my real life experiences. We talk about interviews she will appear for. For a few topics we do role-plays and see how we both perform. We later analyze and give each other constructive feedback. Sometimes we meet outside of work for coffee and discuss general things. I discuss areas of weakness and motivate her perform better. We also sometimes discuss technical subjects and I give her tips on studying. I share the latest trends in the hiring industry and what we are looking for in college students.

What have been some of your successes and challenges?

Successes: Veena says she has become better in time management. She plans her daily activities. I feel this is a great step for a student. Acing the job interview is also a very important goal for Veena. Through our various discussions she has learnt various aspects of a job interview and feels more comfortable to face interviews now.

For myself, I am able to go back to many of the basics which I had learnt in the beginning of my career. I am able to re-apply them.

What is your goal for the mentorship?

Help Veena become a confident person. Enable her to perform at her best by knowing herself and the environment better.

VEENA (Mentee) | 2nd year Computer Science and Information Systems Engineering, UVCE Bangalore

What are the different things that you do with your mentor?

We usually don’t stick to just the curriculum given to us. Apart from the curriculum, we discuss things which may be related to the given topic or sometimes which seem necessary to discuss at that point of time. Many times my mentor has discussed certain topics with me and we have later found them in the curriculum. She shares very good experiences which have occurred in her life; they make me learn and realise so many things. We once met just to have some tea and chat about what’s going on in our lives and how we both spent our holidays. That day was really great as we did something which was completely different from other meetings. It made us feel more comfortable with each other and have fun. My mentor also took me to a small exhibition that was setup close to her office. Even that day was lovely and it seemed like I was spending time with my friend!

What is the best part of the mentor/mentorship?

Through this mentorship program, I’ve found a mentor who is a friend to me at certain times, a guide who I can ask for suggestions, and a role model who has inspired me. She is a very good human being with whom I feel comfortable and can share my feelings. My mentor also finds out from me about what’s happening in my college life and tells me about the subjects which are important. She has given me suggestions on how I can make learning theory more practical. This program has helped me in all possible ways and I have started to realise the changes within me.

How do you think mentorship will help you in achieving your future goals?

I’ve set up a few SMART goals with my mentor. We sometimes discuss about how it’s going and if I’m facing any difficulty in achieving them. I know my mentor is always going to be there, especially when I need her help in taking decisions and achieving my goals. My mentor has helped me to gain a clear vision about my goals.

FAQs

Is Mentor Together a recognized organization?

Mentor Together is a registered not-for-profit organisation (No. 372/09-10). We are also registered under Section 12AA and under Section 80G of the Income Tax Act, 1961.

Mentor Together is the recipient of several awards – the IBM Catalyst Award in 2011, the Starbucks Shared Planet Award in 2011, the Mahindra Spark the Rise award in 2013, the Dasra Girl Power Award in 2014 and so on.

Mentor Together has also been covered in numerous local, national and international publications like India Today, CNBC, Times Now and the World Economic Forum. For the full press-coverage please check here.

How are the various projects of Mentor Together funded?

Mentor Together raises money from a variety of sources – Corporates, Foundations and through individual giving. Some of our partners include Amdocs India, Zensar Foundation, Cognizant Outreach, Foundation for Excellence, Magic Bus, and the Rosy Blue Foundation.

Where does Mentor Together work?

Mentor Together’s in-person one-to-one mentoring program is operational in 5 cities currently – Bangalore, Pune, Chennai, Mumbai and Delhi.

We have 2 remote mentoring programs – one for adolescent girls called ‘Mentor To Go’ (www.mentortogo.org) and one for engineering students. To sign up for Mentor To Go, please submit an application on the program website. To sign up for the remote mentoring of Engineering students, please submit a mentor application and mention ‘FFE Remote Mentoring’ in the question ‘How did you find out about Mentor Together?’

What is the mentor selection process?

This is the standard process we follow for mentor selection. Every mentor submits an application (hyperlink). If the basic criteria are met, we invite mentors to submit a second form which captures more details of their exact mentoring skills and interest. Following this we interview a mentor one-to-one for about 30 minutes. We prefer face-to-face interviews for this. Finally, if necessary, we conduct 1-2 reference checks on a mentor by speaking to individuals who know the mentor applicant personally or professionally.

Is there any legal document that the mentor needs to sign before he/she starts mentoring?

Yes. Mentor Together has a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) that specifies the scope, rules and regulations for the program. Anyone interested in becoming a mentor could ask to have a look at it during the personal interview with MT team. The MoU needs to be signed before mentors start mentoring.

Is there any training to be a mentor?

Yes, all mentors undertake between 8 hours (in-person programs) to 4 hours (remote mentoring) of compulsory mentor training before they can start the program. Our induction training covers the roles of a mentor, the background of the youth we work with, communication and facilitation styles, boundary setting and handling difficult situations.India, Zensar Foundation, Cognizant Outreach, Foundation for Excellence, Magic Bus, and the Rosy Blue Foundation

What is mentoring?

Mentoring is typically understood as a process through which an older experienced guide eases a younger person’s transition to adulthood through a relationship which provides support and challenge. Its origins come from the Greek play, the Odyssey, where a young Telemakhos is educated by Odysseus’ wise friend Mentor. In this sense it is a developmental relationship in which the young person is inducted into the world of adulthood.

What does a mentor do?

As a pair, mentor and mentee work through a curriculum designed and structured by the Mentor Together team. Mentors work on improving mentees’ language skills, developing mentees’ life skills, and helping them pursue their academic and career goals. As a non-parental adult, mentors are not perceived as authority figures, thereby creating a positive environment for youth to be themselves and grow into strong adults.

Mentor Together has specific programs for different age groups of mentees. To find out more about them, please visit our Programs page.

Is there any financial expense on the part of the mentor?

Travelling to meet the mentee is the only expense to be borne by the mentor.

Does mentoring require specific skills?

Mentoring broadly requires one to develop a friendship that can serve as a good support system for the mentee. However, while mentoring underprivileged kids, a few things need to be highlighted. A mentor should be able to manage emotions and respond with empathy. The relationship should also be democratic; there must be equal participation from the mentor and the mentee. During the course of the relationship, attempts should be made to facilitate discussions rather than leading them; this enables the mentees to open up and feel secure in the space provided to them by the mentor.

Is there any support provided to me as a mentor?

Yes, we provide a lot of handholding and support to mentors to ensure they can deliver high quality mentorship. After initial training, we provide assistance to plan and confirm meetings with mentees, facilities to submit meeting reports to our team, and regular check-ins at least twice a month to ensure mentor feedback is being addressed. Additionally every quarter we conduct evaluations on the quality and impact of the mentorship with the mentor and mentee. We also conduct refresher trainings and provide reviews to mentors.

Is there any other way to volunteer with Mentor Together apart from being a mentor?

Sure! We’re always looking for volunteers to help us out with the ground efforts. Additionally if you represent, or know of any organization that would like to partner with us in order to conduct workshops or run a similar mentoring program elsewhere, please reach out to any of our city team members. You can learn more about our team on our About Us page

Can I donate to Mentor Together?

Thank you for your interest to support our work financially. Mentor Together can receive donations from Indian nationals only. Donors receive 80G tax exemption certificates for their donations.