Mentorship, and the importance of mentorship, are hot topics in circles on entrepreneurship. But according to Julie Kantor, CEO of management consulting firm Twomentor, not everyone has bought in just yet.
“You still have to explain why it’s not a nice to have, it’s a have to have,” she said.
Kantor has spent much of her career to make tech, STEM fields and entrepreneurship more accessible and inclusive. She worked for STEMconnector, and Network For Teaching Entrepreneurship. It’s a subject matter she’s very, very passionate about. And now, Kantor is approaching the issue of accessibility and inclusivity from a new angle — the mentorship angle.
Kantor launched Twomentor seven months ago from an office in Bethesda. With the name, Kantor told Technical.ly, she tried to take the word “mentor” and “make it more inclusive.” Twomentor offers consulting services for companies looking to institute mentorship programs, and it rests on an unapologetic belief that, for a diverse workforce especially, mentoring is not just nice to have. It’s have to have.
Kantor says the workforce is changing, and if companies want to retain their workers then they must change with it. Women and millennials especially, she told Technical.ly, view mentorship opportunities as a vital part of a job, and will leave jobs where they don’t feel supported.
Companies should care about this, Kantor argues, because of the high cost of employee turnover. Indeed, that employee turnover is an expensive endeavor is a popular idea, even one with some research behind it. There are others though, like this guy, who argue that turnover can be good if “the right people turn over.” A third opinion says sure, you might not see the cost of employee turnover on your balance sheet. The costs are hidden, “soft” costs, but they’re important nonetheless.
Kantor sees the soft costs and the bottom line-affecting ones. And she’s on a mission to get companies and even government to see both too — to go beyond good intentions and create processes and strategies for retaining and encouraging a diverse workforce.
“I’m really, really excited,” she said of her personal entrepreneur journey, “but there are dark moments, too.”
How does she get through them? You guessed it — with a little help from her mentors.