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Building tomorrow by enhancing your roots: past, present and future of Mentors4u Colombia

di Team Editoriale | M4U

The history and future of Mentors4u Colombia is the story of thousands of people and the experience of organizations that have replicated the mentoring model to support young people in their professional transition processes; therefore, what Mentors4u Colombia has experienced over the years is a collective transformation.

The pillars of this transformation have been identified in two spheres: on one hand, the impact on the individuals who have participated in the development of the programs, and on the other hand, the continuous learnings from design and operation. As the Mentors4u Colombia team, we have identified best practices that have been key to our past, present work, and what we aim to achieve in the future.

Firstly, regarding the impact on individuals, we have identified several aspects that have been crucial in supporting the professional transition of young people. After the first cohort we conducted in 2017, we realized that mentoring should be a guided and accompanied process. Therefore, we updated our curriculum with the Design Your Life methodology. With this methodology, we prepared guides and practical workshops that served as a basis for the relationship between mentors and mentees.

We also learned that social capital or support networks are essential for young people to be connected with better professional opportunities. This led us to encourage mentors to connect their mentees with people in their field or area of interest, which ultimately resulted in many mentors or friends of mentors hiring mentees after a process of preparation and training.

Genuinely, after each cohort of the program, there were people interested in continuing to learn, support, and transform. Some mentors and mentees became our ambassadors, sharing their experiences and learnings in different spaces. For example, to execute several of our cohorts, we hired mentees who took on the role of operational ambassadors, assisting with all the follow-up in the program.

On the other hand, from the experience of implementing mentoring programs, we understood that it is crucial to partner with organizations that have employees or communities of professionals/graduates motivated to help a young person. In most of our programs, we implemented strategies to manage alliances that allowed us to reach more professionals with extensive experience.

During the implementation of the programs, we encountered challenges in systematizing information, tracking participant progress, and making large-scale matches. In response, we created a tracking system to obtain real information from participants for closer support. Regarding matches, we designed a basic tool that automates the entire process based on participants' interests, areas, and common aspects.

We have shared all this experience with our allies, leaving them with the capacity to continue implementing mentoring programs. Many of them have continued this work and have even managed to scale the programs, seeking to impact more people in different parts of Colombia and the world.

Finally, all these learnings have laid the foundations for what we do today and what we want to do in the future: to make the diverse talent of Colombia visible through mentoring and to continue sharing best practices so that more organizations join this transformation.

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