By Ryan Wold - Nov 21, 2022

Why Does Tablmakr Exist?

A Note From Our Founder

From ancient gurus to 21st Century high tech startup accelerators, mentorship has been recognized as an important source of both personal growth and communal strength.

And there is an overwhelming amount of academic research validating the benefits of mentorship and mentor programs.

Despite the widespread practice of mentorship, the abundant literature asserting the benefits of it, and the seemingly simple premise of sharing knowledge and experience with those who seek it, creating and sustaining mentor programs is a complex and difficult endeavor.

The challenges associated with managing mentor programs lead to many programs getting discontinued each year, and many more never even launching in the places where they are needed the most.

To illustrate some of these problems, let me share three quick examples from communities I am a part of:

  1. For four years I volunteered with a juvenile probation mentor program in Minneapolis, MN that matched students transitioning out of the detention center with community mentors. In the fall of 2020, the director of the program called and sadly informed me that the county cut the budget for the mentor program. This seemed like a particularly confounding decision considering the many success stories of the program and the likelihood students probably needed more support than ever as they navigated the loneliness of the pandemic and the aftermath of the murder of George Floyd.
  2. As a research assistant for the Technical Communication Advisory Board at the University of Minnesota, I helped coordinate a mentor program for the Department of Writing Studies that connects technical writing students with industry leaders. After running the program for a year via spreadsheets and email, I learned the University Alumni Association had a contract with a company that provides sophisticated mentor program management software that eliminates most of the busy work associated with running a mentor program. Unfortunately, using the software was never an option because getting our program access to the software would have cost roughly three times our entire operating budget, of which the mentor program was only one component.
  3. In the year after completing undergrad, I participated in a year-long volunteer program that sends recent grads around the world to do service work. I occasionally attend networking events for former volunteers of this program. At each event a similar conversation happens, as someone who recently returned from their year of service says, “Wow, it would have been really helpful to talk to you before I left and while I was there.” Everyone at the event nods and agrees that there should be some sort of mentor program to help prepare the new volunteers, yet this mentor program has never been created.

These three vignettes capture the spectrum of the challenges facing mentor programs as a whole and mentor program coordinators specifically:

  • One mentor program got discontinued
  • One mentor program is functioning sustainably, but cannot access the technologies that could help it run more efficiently
  • One mentor program just never got created

Although there is something familiar about a county cutting youth programming, an academic department not being able to afford the latest software, or a nonprofit not seizing an opportunity to improve operations, I still found it confusing and frustrating that these problems related to providing mentorship exist in a time where research has decidedly affirmed the value of mentor programs and inexpensive and easy-to-use communication technologies proliferate.

The problems facing mentor programs are complex and the result of a combination of technological, financial, social, and structural conditions. For more people to access the life changing benefits of participating in a mentor program, the process of creating and sustaining a mentor program needs to be easier and more affordable.

So, I started building Tablmakr.

With the support of a network of mentors, institutional sponsors, community leaders, and friends and family, I set out on the journey to build the team and the technologies that will help people create, sustain, and grow mentor programs so more people can access the benefits of being part of a mentor program.

Ready to build your mentor program?Sign up or schedule a live demo today.

We are excited to help you create, sustain, and grow your mentor program.