By: Avery Gordon, D.C. Community Cultivator
As a first generation American from the Congo, Janice Omadeke had experienced a “lack of opportunities for those who don’t necessarily fill what is the ‘norm’ since childhood”. When she began her career in the tech field, she noticed that she was faced with a lack of inclusion in the office.
“I knew that if I wanted to see more diverse workplace cultures, I needed to do something about it.”
Armed with her professional experience, and a Certification in Entrepreneurship from MIT, Janice created The Mentor Method in order to tackle the problem of diversity and inclusion in the tech field.
eHarmony for Connecting Minorities in Tech to Career Mentors
Janice describes The Mentor Method as “eHarmony for connecting minorities in tech to career mentors.” During her professional journey, Janice sought out mentors and networking opportunities. Finding many networking events ineffective in finding a mentor, Janice says it “took me a long time to find a mentor that wasn’t based on surface level things; I never matched with someone who got me.”
The Mentor Method makes matches based on a technology that identifies unique traits in both the mentor and mentee to ensure the best match possible. The mentor will help their mentee identify their professional development goals, and will work with them on every step of their professional journey. Companies can then use The Mentor Method during the hiring process, helping to create inclusive workplace cultures using the power of mentoring to “try before you buy”.
“It’s better business to have more inclusive workplaces.”
It is Janice’s dream that The Mentor Method will help diversity and inclusion become no-brainers: “Companies need to realize that it’s better business to have more inclusive workplaces. Diversity and inclusion increase retention, and create a culture built on innovation instead of fitting a mold.”
The Mentor Method has been working with educational institutions such as George Washington University and General Assembly, but Janice is excited about The Mentor Method’s new collaboration with the D.C. Economic Partnership Pathways Scholarship. The Mentor Method will be a key partner for mentor matching, professional development, and job placement for this scholarship that “creates tech opportunities for individuals in under and unemployed communities in Washington D.C.”
Don’t Overthink It, Just Try It
The Mentor Method will continue working on mentoring and empowering the next generation of tech, and is currently looking to expand their advisory board with experts in diversity, inclusion, and tech (Janice personally “would love to have a conversation with Kathryn Finney”). They are also inviting companies to join as Founding Partners in The Mentor Method’s new inclusion movement.
Janice credits SEED SPOT with “providing valuable feedback on our business model and expanding my network”, and cannot stress enough the importance for aspiring entrepreneurs to create a solid support system.
“Don’t overthink it, just try it. Get the right people in your corner – the right advisors, the right mentors – and take that first leap.”
Interested in following The Mentor Method’s journey? Connect with The Mentor Method on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram! And don’t forget to RSVP for D.C.’s first DEMO DAY on July 13th to hear Janice and the rest of her full-time cohort pitch their ventures!