It’s hard to believe how quickly the last year has gone. It has been a tremendous honor to work with Ace, Dezzie, Marcy, Olu, and Sara for these past 12 months. And while we wrap up our mentorship calls this month, I thought it would be a good idea to open up the application for my 2020–21 cohort.
I was totally overwhelmed by the response when I opened up applications last year, so I’m going to try to be a bit more organized this year by having a more formal application process using a web form. This will help me reduce the amount of manual work I have to do to review all of the applications.
If you’re interested, I encourage you to read the parameters of the mentorship below and then you can click over to the form and apply.
What am I looking for in a mentee?
Whether you aspire to work on the web or you’re a veteran of the browser wars, if you think you could benefit from mentorship, I’d like to help. My ideal mentee is someone who’s passionate about the web and is—perhaps most of all—someone who I believe I can help.
To that end, my skills and knowledge will probably be most helpful to people interested in any or all of the these:
- growing your allyship skills;
- building a professional practice centered around performance, progressive enhancement, user experience, accessibility, etc.; and/or
- growing in their career.
I’m into a lot of things, but those are probably the ones I’m most confident I can help with.
You don’t need to live near me or even in the same hemisphere. If you happen to be in the Pacific Northwest of the U.S. or live somewhere that I’m traveling to over the next year, I’d love to meet you in person, but that’s by no means a requirement. I’m based in the Pacific time zone (Seattle, Washington), but I’ll do my best to coordinate a regular time for us to chat that won’t require you hopping on Skype at two in the morning (unless that’s your thing). Email… Skype… Hangouts… I’m happy to work however you’re comfortable.
I’m afraid I don’t speak any languages other than English, so that artificially restricts the pool of folks I can work with, but don’t worry if you don’t think your English is great. Honestly, it’s probably better than you give yourself credit for. It’s also 100% guaranteed to be better than my attempts at speaking pretty much 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. I am only considering applications from folks who self-identify as part of an underrepresented group. Out of respect for your privacy, I’m not requiring that you label yourself in any particular way, but I do ask that you check your privilege and refrain from applying if you’re part of a group that is already heavily represented in our industry (such as white or asian cis het males).
What can you expect?
This mentorship will last for a full year. You’ll have the option of talking to me for an hour a month, either all at once or in two 30-minute blocks. You’ll also be invited into my mentorship Slack group, where you’ll be able to chat with me async or in real-time (depending on where you live), chat with other folks in your cohort (and my past mentees), and share your work.
Can you nominate someone?
If you know someone who you think would be a good fit for this, 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 could 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 (Facebook, LinkedIn, and so on).
I look forward to working with you (or your friend)!
The application for my 2020–21 mentorship cohort is open through the end of February in any timezone (I’m not a stickler, but the form will close automatically on March 1st). I met a ton of amazing folks last year through this process and got to work with two outstanding human beings. I look forward to getting to know you and taking a few of you under my wing.
- Aaron is awesome. Apply. twitter.com/aarongustafson…