You can use your experience to help student teams!

Who qualifies as a mentor?

Anyone who wants to help illuminate possibilities for students! Whether you're 25 or 85, we'd love to benefit from your experiences.

How can I get started a mentor?

We like to say, "Get in the room and good things will happen!" We host lots of events where you can help student project teams. So send us a message to find out how to get in the room with us!

Can I mentor if I'm not in Ann Arbor?

Absolutely! We can work with you to set up Virtual Office Hours, where you set aside time every couple of weeks to talk with optiMize students about their current challenges.

Does optiMize have any strong beliefs about what "mentorship" means?

You bet we do! In fact, we feel so strongly about it that we put together a guide for mentors to commit to before they begin. Our mentors have found that this helps them bring their best self to every session. Let us know what you think!

An optiMize Mentor’s Ten Commitments to Mentees

From the optiMize Guide to Great Mentorship

  1. I will never kill your dreams or make you feel stupid.

  2. I will “sit next to you” and put problems in front of us rather than between us.

  3. I will find the good first.

  4. I will ask for you to clarify any important idea that isn’t clear to me.

  5. I will challenge you only after I have made it clear that I have listened to you and I care about you.

  6. I will ask good questions to challenge you on key areas for consideration.

  7. I will acknowledge that I still might not fully understand the issue.

  8. I will help you understand your strengths and how to use them to address your challenges.

  9. I will tell stories from my own experience to illustrate potential lessons, but I will NOT give specific directions to you -- not all of my lessons apply to your experience and this is YOUR business, not mine.

  10. I will work with you to create clear expectations of what must be completed (if anything) before we meet again.

*This list draws from Brené Brown’s Engaged Feedback Checklist as well as input from optiMize mentors.