I run a mentorship program for current and aspiring web professionals. It’s something I’ve been doing as a way to pay forward the advice and support I received from a handful of amazing folks—including Molly Holzschlag and Jeffrey Zeldman—early in my career. In the last 7 years, I’ve had the good fortune to work with some truly amazing individuals. Will you be next?
What am I looking for in a mentee?
I believe everyone can benefit from mentorship, whether they are starting out in a new career or they’re a seasoned veteran. My ideal mentees are folks who are passionate about the web and eager to learn and grow in their careers.
My skills and knowledge will probably be most helpful to people interested in any (or all) of the following:
- writing and/or speaking;
- building a professional practice centered around performance, progressive enhancement, user experience, accessibility, etc.;
- ethics in web design/development or artificial intelligence (AI);
- career growth; and/or
- diversity & inclusion.
I’m open to mentoring in other areas as well, but these are the areas I’m most confident I can help with.
Prospective mentees don’t need to live near me or even in the same hemisphere. Those who happen to be in the Pacific Northwest of the U.S. or live somewhere that I’m traveling to might get some face-to-face time, but co-location is by no means a requirement. I’ll do my best to coordinate a regular time to work with mentees that won’t require them to hop on a video call at two in the morning (unless that’s their thing). Email… Slack… Hangouts… I’m happy to work however folks are comfortable.
I’m only fluent in English,1 meaning applicants will need to speak English as well. And to those that think their English is not so great: it’s better than you give yourself credit for. It’s also guaranteed to be better than any of my attempts to speak any language other than English.
Who should apply?
Much of my work over the past twenty-plus years has been concentrated in the areas of accessibility and, more broadly, inclusive design. To create a web that can go anywhere and work for anyone, we need a diverse group of people making it happen. Sadly, our industry has a difficult time recruiting, developing, and (most importantly) retaining a diverse workforce. Given the egalitarian ideals that the web was founded on, that’s a travesty.
I want to see more diverse faces working on the web, speaking at conferences, writing articles, and getting promoted into leadership positions in design, UX, and development. As such, I only consider applications from folks who self-identify as part of an underrepresented group. Out of respect for applicants’ privacy, I don’t require that they label themselves in any particular way, but I do ask applicants to check their privilege and refrain from applying if they’re part of a group that is already heavily represented in our industry (e.g., White or Asian cis-gender heterosexual men).
I also want to call out that I am very interested in working with folks whose lives have been negatively impacted by the criminal-legal system (especially folks looking to build a career on the web or in tech, post-incarceration).
What can mentees expect?
My mentorships last for a full year. Mentees have the option of talking to me for an hour a month, either all at once or in two 30-minute blocks. They are also invited to join my mentorship Discord server, where they can chat with me asynchronously or in real-time (depending on where they live), network and chat with other folks in their cohort (and my past mentees), and share their work.
Can I nominate someone?
If you know someone who you think would benefit from my mentorship, please nominate them! All I ask is that you introduce us with some context. The easiest (but most public) way is to @-message us both on Twitter. If you’d rather keep it private, you can kick off a DM thread with us if your nominee is on Twitter too (my DMs are open). You can also start the conversation by dropping me a note through the contact form on this site or sending me a message on any of the various platforms I frequent (e.g., LinkedIn).
I am honored to have played a small role in the careers of some truly amazing people:
- Adewale Abati
- Mateo Chávez
- Manuel Matuzović
- Olu Niyi-Awosusi
- Amberley Romo
- Stephanie Stimac
- Marcy Sutton
- Sara Wegman
- Desirée Zamora García
In hindsight, studying Latin in high school wasn’t the best choice. Oh well. ↩︎