Monday Motivation with Janice Omadeke, Founder and CEO of The Mentor Method
Mondays can be rough, and sometimes we can use some motivation. Our #MondayMotivation blog series brings you tips and life hacks from industry leaders and some of the most creative entrepreneurs out there.
Janice Omadeke is the Founder and CEO of The Mentor Method, which provides curated mentor matches between the next generation of tech leaders and change-making mentors. We spent some time with Janice to learn more about the “why” behind starting her business, how she’s pivoted her business to work with new customers, and why female founders shouldn’t be shy about asking for help.
What inspired you to start your business?
I originally thought that I started The Mentor Method only because of my own career experience—it took me years to find the right mentors through corporate mentorship programs. [Those programs] never went beyond matching based on surface level criteria, like age, race and gender, instead of investing in me as an employee and matching me to someone who could really help me in my career. Through The Mentor Method, I created an easy way for companies to invest in their employees and create a mentorship program with follow-through and engagement, without having to hire another team member just to keep it operating smoothly.
The more I think about [my] “bigger why”, I realize that I was always meant to create The Mentor Method. I’m a product of what happens when tech and mentorship come together: I saw my dad go from working multiple jobs to working in IT for the U.S. Government in only two years [because of] advocates and mentors who saw the value he possessed and provided opportunities to increase his professional development. I want to play a part in continuing the cycle of advocating for diverse talent in the workplace to have more stories like mine.
What’s been the biggest challenge you’ve faced so far?
Accessing capital. The most difficult part of fundraising is getting in front of the right investors. There are funds whose external messaging [seems to] support [underrepresented] founders, but [after doing] a little research, there’s a [disconnect] between that [messaging] and their portfolio companies. However, once you find the right investor or fund that aligns with your ethos, sees your vision, and wants to get on that journey with you, it makes all the difference.
What’s been the greatest reward?
Seeing 10-15 percent salary increases for professionals who are mentored through our platform and creating more career opportunities within the companies we work with. It’s extremely humbling and rewarding to see how The Mentor Method is really helping people in similar situations to mine early in my career: driven, with clear goals, but needing a network of mentors and advocates to help them get to the next level.
What changes would you most like to see in your industry, and how are you working to make those changes happen?
We’re seeing a shift in finding real solutions instead of band-aid fixes. For years, companies were ok with using job boards and other current solutions and found that they masked the symptoms of why they weren’t able to attract and retain diverse talent. We’re seeing companies eager for a solution like The Mentor Method, which creates inclusive workplace cultures within an organization and shifts the overall company culture.
Who or what motivates you to keep going, even when things get tough?
The diverse talent we’ve helped, and knowing that there are thousands of people out there who could benefit from my company. Also, I’m one of those people that does everything in my power to reach a goal. So even though we may be having a tough day or week, I have faith that it’ll be resolved and it’s part of the founder journey to get through it.
Can you provide a few updates on what’s new with your business or what you’ve accomplished since you attended the PE Intensive in April 2017?
Yes! At PE, we were a consumer platform with a potential enterprise revenue stream. Since PE, we’ve pivoted to our enterprise model and are seeing growth in that area—our customers using The Mentor Method’s mentoring platform include Fortune 500 companies.
Additionally, we won $5,000 during SEED SPOT’s Demo Day, participated in Village Capital’s Pathways Program, and DC Inno. named us “A Startup to Watch in 2018.”
What’s one piece of advice you’d give to another entrepreneur just starting out?
There’s no way that you’ll know everything you need to know before starting a business, so make sure you surround yourself with people who can fill in gaps within your idea and company. Don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it. If it takes you 30 hours to complete a task, and you know someone who can do it 10 hours, don’t be afraid to ask that person to help you so you can focus on areas where you can work quickly and that play to your strengths.
What do you do every Monday morning to prepare and motivate yourself for the coming week?
I actually do most of my prep on Sundays! I always put freshly washed sheets on my bed, plan out my outfits for the week, get to bed an hour earlier, and look through quotes that motivate me for what’s to come that week.
For more #MondayMotivation, check out our interview with Crystal Etienne, Founder of PantyProp, which produces underwear and swimwear with leak-proof protection. Crystal sat down with PE to discuss the frustrations that led her to launch PantyProp, and why happy customers are all the motivation she needs.