How The Program Works

Our Mentor Programs identify our community’s needs and selects a group of Mentors to help guide and grow community cohorts during tailored session.

Each session will run between 6-11 weeks and will cater up to 120 Mentees across 10-15 selected Mentors. Please note: This is not a 1:1 mentor program. Over the course of the program, in addition to mentor sessions, participants will have access to private curated group events that are specific to only The Mentor Program. These events can range from private workshops, studio tours, panel talks, interactive events, portfolio reviews, community engagement events, networking sessions and more.

All sessions will run during the week in the evenings from 6PM – 8PM online/in-person (depending on a Mentor’s preference).

See sample schedule below:

6-Week Program

  • Week 1: Kickoff Event // Mentor Session #0 (Icebreakers)
  • Week 2: Mentor Session #1
  • Week 3: Mentor Session #2
  • Week 4: Mentor Session #3
  • Week 5: Mentor Session #4
  • Week 6: Wrap Up Event // Mentor Session #5
  • Week TBA: Main Group Event

11-Week Program

  • Week 1: Kickoff Event
  • Week 2: Mentor Session #1
  • Week 3: Private Mentor Program Events
  • Week 4: Mentor Session #2
  • Week 5: Private Mentor Program Events
  • Week 6: Mentor Session #3
  • Week 7: Private Mentor Program Events
  • Week 8: Mentor Session #4
  • Week 9: Private Mentor Program Events
  • Week 10: Mentor Session #5
  • Week 11: Wrap Up Event
Pre-Registration
  • We post our Mentor line-up 2-3 weeks before our Spring/Fall Kickoff so that you are able to explore your potential Mentors and their topics. Their topics are chosen based on their passion and expertise.
  • We invite you to take a look at the Mentor videos posted to get a better sense of which group you are most drawn to. If you have additional questions about a specific Mentor, you can reach out to our committee.
  • There is a range of group topics that all fall somewhere along the creative spectrum. We organize them into broader categories based on their similarities and their career-level requirements.
Open Registration
  • Registration will open 2-3 weeks before our Spring/Fall Kickoff.
  • The earlier you register, the better chance you have at getting into your top Mentor Group choices. If your ideal group is at capacity, you may have to take your second or third choice, so please give it some thought.
Post-Registration / Preparation for Kickoff Event
  • After you pay for the program, you will be emailed a link to a form to complete your registration. Your registration will not be complete until this form is filled out and sent.
  • Once we receive your participation form, you will be invited to a private Slack channel. You will need to create an account before you come to our Kickoff event.
Kickoff Event

Our Kickoff Event is one of the most important events in the program. This will vary depending on our sessions are virtual, in-person, or a hybrid of both virtual & in-person.

Virtual Kickoff:

  • You will be emailed your Mentor 1-2 days prior to our Kickoff Event
  • Our Kickoff Event will last for 30 minutes and will highlight all of our Mentors. We will also go over how the program will work.
  • By the end of our Kickoff, you will meet with your Mentor and cohort for your very first session!

In-Person Kickoff:

  • You’ll have the chance to meet with each Mentor to learn more about their topic.
  • You’ll be asked to select your top 3 Mentor choices.
  • By the end of the evening we will begin placing participants into their Mentor Groups by order of registration until each group hits it’s capacity.
  • Once you’ve been placed into your Mentor Group, you will meet as a group that same evening to discuss the next following week’s plans for Mentor Session #1.
Community Engagement

We use Slack as our main program-wide communication platform. We use this to help engage our program participants and to create support through a digital community.

  • Mentees will be placed into a private Slack channel that consists of their full Mentor Group.
  • You will use this space to communicate with your Mentor and fellow Mentees throughout the entire program.
  • You will also use this space to discover any program-wide announcements such as sign-up forms for private group events to private job opportunity posts.
Mentor Sessions

As stated above, you will have 5 Mentor Sessions across 6-11 weeks. Based on your Mentor’s meeting preference, you will either meet online, in-person, or a hybrid of both online & in-person at specific locations around Chicago. These groups are focused on a topic of expertise and passion and throughout the weeks, you’ll work as a group to grow in that topic of interest together. Please note: This is not a 1:1 mentor program.

Private Group Events

Our Group Events are private events that were curated for the Mentor Program only. These events can range from studio tours, workshops, panels, and interactive events. Both Mentors and Mentees have access to these events.

Wrap Up Event

Our Wrap Up event is another important event in the program. After the end of 6-11 weeks, we come back together as a community and share our experiences. It is made to help us thank our Mentor’s for their time and guidance and and also a time to celebrate your completion of the program and our community’s extended growth.

Friendship & Community

After 6-11 weeks, we find a lot of our participants leaving with great connections and relationships. Check out #AIGAChiMentor to get a snapshot of the program on Instagram!

Contact

If you have questions, please email Co-VP of Mentorship, Leslie Presto at presto@chicago.aiga.org