In the business world, mentorship is a widely-respected and -practiced phenomenon. I don’t see it happening as much in the arts world–apprenticeships, yes, but mentorships, not so much.
I, myself have had mentors in the past, most recently through The Wired Women mentorship program. A connection I made through that program was with Mojgan Fay, and we immediately connected on our goal to help artists become better business people. Mojgan has a program called Business Mentoring for The Arts. I’ll let her tell you about it:
TAoTB: Tell me about Business Mentoring for the Arts.
Mojgan: Business Mentoring for the Arts (BMA) is a six-month mentorship program which pairs students in BA/MA/PhD and fine arts with a mentor from the business world who has an arts background.
This career mentorship experience is enhanced with monthly workshops, networking events, in addition to seminars in partnership with New Ventures BC.
Mentors and mentees meet at least once per month for about an hour for the duration of the mentoring relationship.
TAoTB: How can this program help artists?
Mojgan: Business Mentoring for the Arts can help by linking artists to a supportive environment where they can network with peers, attend workshops, gain insight and mentorship — ultimately finding a path and necessary guidance to follow careers they are passionate about.
Through this mentorship experience, the mentees will be provided with business perspective to achieve their goals.
TAoTB: How can artists get involved, either as mentors, or mentees?
Mojgan: We are always accepting applications for mentees and mentors. To apply on-line visit: http://www.bmaprogram.ca/applications/applications.html.
TAoTB: What is your personal philosophy about mentoring in general, and about mentoring with artists, specifically?
Mojgan: As a mentee, I have gained great value and inspiration from my mentors, and believe that a mutually beneficial relationship to help the move to the next step when it seems far away.
Currently, there are not many resources for students in the arts and we are excited to be able to help students with their career paths.
TAoTB: Tell me about your artistic background.
Mojgan: I have a degree in computer science. After moving back to Vancouver, I joined Wired Woman and was really inspired by all these accomplished women in the tech industry, found my career path, and so decided to help start a mentorship program for Wired Woman.
After the launch of the program and a couple of years of experience as a programmer I discovered my true passion actually was in communication technology. I’m really interested in how technology can help facilitate social inclusion.
I’m currently going to Simon Fraser University studying Communication and noticed that a lot of my classmates don’t realize the value of their education to organizations and don’t have very many resources helping them with plans after school.
With my partner’s vision, Dan Schick, we decided to start this program and help students gain a business perspective, discover their value, and realize that they can have careers they are passionate about.
It is great to have a “community” with entrepreneurs, artists, writers, communications analysts, or even corporate professionals who have arts backgrounds ALL wanting to help each other and bringing forward a different perspective. We don’t envision this program to be a one-on-one mentoring match only. You do have your mentor, but you also have access to all these other mentors that can answer your questions — it’s all geared towards helping people find their passions.
And all the workshops we put forward are topics generated by our members, and facilitated by both mentees and mentors.