Welcome to MyBoard
A mentoring program for women-owned businesses that want to grow
Many women entrepreneurs have succeeded in starting a new business but lack the experience, expertise in, or access to, resources that will help them expand. In fact, nearly 50% of privately held companies in the U.S. are owned by women, but only one in five businesses with revenues over $1 million are owned by women.1 Perhaps even more startling, three-quarters of women-owned businesses are not able to grow beyond $50,000 in gross revenues.2 Chatham University’s Center for Women Entrepreneurship, a leader in helping women-owned businesses since 2005, has designed a unique approach to address these needs. By matching business owners with a team, or “board,” of experienced mentors, MyBoard will help women entrepreneurs build capacity, gain confidence and access capital, giving them the tools they need to take their businesses to the next level
1. Center for Women's Business Research.
2. “Why Women-Owned Businesses Don’t Grow,” by Laurie Kulikowski, Forbes Magazine, May 17, 2012.
What is a Mentor?
According to the Oxford English Dictionary, a mentor is a “person who offers support and guidance to another; an experienced and trusted counselor.” A mentor is an experienced professional who has achieved expertise in a functional area of business and is anxious to share that expertise with others. A mentor is someone who will listen to and guide a business owner, point out opportunities and pitfalls, without making decisions on behalf of the business owner. A mentor will review information provided by a business owner, listen well, ask open-ended questions and present candid advice through a variety of options to solve problems. A mentor will act a sounding board, providing a risk-free environment for a business owner to vent frustrations, test new ideas and seek alternative perspectives.
What is a Mentee?
A mentee is a woman business owner who is passionate about and wants to grow her business, who is open to developing a relationship with outside, experienced professionals and who is open to receiving constructive critique and advice. Her role in the mentor-mentee relationship is to drive the relationship, by providing comprehensive business information (while understanding that all participants, mentors and mentees, will be required to sign a confidentiality agreement), setting meeting agendas, leading the conversation and making decisions on what advice to implement. A mentee is someone who is enthusiastic about learning, respectful of the experiences of her mentors, and appreciative of their generosity in sharing their expertise. A mentee is ready to undertake the hard work needed to take her business to the next level.
•How It Works
| MyBoard is your board of experts
MyBoard will match growth stage women-owned businesses with a team of four mentors that will enhance business skills, including technology, operations, product development, planning, marketing, finance and legal. Similar to a corporate board of directors, your MyBoard mentors will be carefully chosen to provide you with the expertise you need from a variety of disciplines.
Five MyBoard meetings – the focal point for exchange
You will have an opportunity to meet with your MyBoard five times over the course of the program year (2013). The first meeting will be in person; you and your MyBoard can customize the format of the remaining four board meetings to maximize flexibility and ease of participation, using interactive virtual technology on the CWE platform. No previous experience with virtual meeting technology is necessary; CWE staff will walk you through all you need to know.
Three Workshops on business expansion topics.
The Center will offer three workshops during the program year (in March, June and September, 2013) to provide in-depth training from experts on business expansion topics that will be customized to the needs of participating businesses. Potential topics include: Easy Access to Government Contracts, Personal Branding, Going Global, Venture Capital for Women, and other topics suggested by participating business owners. These workshops will also provide an opportunity for mentors and mentees to network and learn from each other’s experiences.
One Year of Membership
Mentors and Mentees receive one year of membership in The Center, which includes special pricing at events and access to the members-only online community. Visit the Membership homepage for more information on this valuable resource.
MyBoard is a one year program, beginning in January, 2013. To learn more about your time commitment and how the program will unfold during the year, please take a moment to view the
MyBoard Sample Calendar.
| Who is qualified to enroll as a MyBoard mentee?
Are you struggling to figure out how to grow your business? You don’t need to face it alone! We are looking for energetic, motivated women business owners who want to grow their already-established businesses. If you have been in business for three or more years, have gross revenues of around $250,000 or more, and are anxious to get assistance that will kick-start your expansion to the next level, MyBoard is designed for you.
As a participating mentee, you must be open to sharing business information with your MyBoard mentors, but be assured that it will be held in strict confidence (confidentiality agreements are required). To achieve the growth you are seeking, you should be prepared to be as open as possible with your MyBoard, prepare for meetings in advance, follow up on meeting outcomes and fully consider the advice provided by your MyBoard. Sounds like work, and it is, but you will get out of this more than you put into it.
What’s in it for you?
New business skills, great contacts, confidence-building and a better, stronger, bigger business.
Here are the top ten reasons to become a MyBoard mentee:
1. You want to grow your business!
2. Develop new skills and new approaches to solving problems or issues.
3. Network with experienced, highly skilled professionals from a variety of disciplines.
4. Step outside your comfort zone to challenge your thought processes and established practices.
5. Access to a variety of business resources and networking opportunities through a membership to The Center.
6. Learn about different kinds of businesses and business models.
7. Receive support from a team of professionals who want to help you and your business.
8. Learn from others who may have learned the hard way.
9. Receive training on business issues/skills that are designed to meet your specific needs as a business leader.
10. Develop the confidence you need to take your business to the next level.
How to Sign Up
The cost to you to participate as a MyBoard mentee is $675 (the full fee to participate as a MyBoard mentee is $1,350, 50% of which is being subsidized by Bridgeway Capital). This fee includes assignment to a board comprised of four mentors, five meetings with your MyBoard, three workshops and member benefits for a one year period.
Interested women business owners are asked to complete the application - Click here to apply!
Applications should be completed by December 23 to be considered for participation in the MyBoard 2014 program year.
Upon review of your application, you will be contacted by The Center to inform you as to your acceptance and subsequent steps to kick-off your MyBoard.
Have questions? Contact Joanne Foerster by phone at 412-365-1384 or by email at email@example.com.
| Wanted: your talent, time and expertise!
We are looking for skilled professionals and entrepreneurs to give inspiration and advice to pioneering business women. Mentors can be women or men, and ideally should have seven or more years of relevant work experience. Mentors must be committed to the goals of the program and willing and able to share their time by actively participating in five MyBoard meetings with their mentee. Successful participation will also require some time for meeting preparation and follow-up. In addition, mentors are encouraged to attend three workshops to be held during the program year on topics designed to be of interest to both mentors and mentees.
Using interactive technology, MyBoard enables mentors to volunteer their time in a flexible, convenient way. As many as four of your five MyBoard meetings with your mentee will use a webinar-style format.
What’s in it for you?
Skill-sharing, training, networking and an opportunity to give back
Here are the top ten reasons to become a MyBoard mentor:
1. Contribute to the successful expansion of a small, emerging woman-owned business.
2. Develop new mentoring and leadership skills and experience, while building your own personal brand as a progressive business leader.
3. Learn business skills from your mentee and other mentors on your MyBoard.
4. Great social interaction and networking opportunities with other experienced professionals, as well as with small business owners - In other words, it’s fun!
5. Enjoy the intellectual challenges of problem-solving.
6. Access to a variety of business resources and networking opportunities through a membership to The Center.
7. Training on business expansion topics at MyBoard workshops, intended to be valuable for mentors as well as mentees.
8. Easy, flexible mentoring model.
9. Use experience you’ve gained as a previous mentor or mentee.
10. Give back to the community in a way that optimizes the use of your talent and skills.
How Do I Become a Mentor?
If you are excited about the opportunity to become a MyBoard mentor, please complete the application here - Click here to apply!
Applications should be completed by December 23 to be eligible for the MyBoard 2014 program year.
Upon review of your application, The Center will strive to match you with an appropriate participating mentee business owner. We will work hard to arrive at optimal matches between mentors and mentees, which might result in a time lag between your application and match. We will keep you informed regarding the timing of your potential match.
Have questions? Contact Joanne Foerster by phone at 412.365.1384 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
•Links to Articles on Mentoring
"How Women Entrepreneurs Benefit from Using a Mentor," by Joanna L. Krotz, inMicrosoft Business for Small & Midsize Companies.
"Finding the Right Mentor to Help Grow Your Business," by Brad Sugars in Entrepreneur (May 11, 2012).
"How to Make a Business Mentoring Relationship Work," by Martin Zwillig in Forbes Magazine (March 30, 2012).
"The Role of Mentorship for Women in Technology," in The Huffington Post (March 23, 2012)
This article is relevant for women in all business sectors.
"Why You Need a Mentor," by Gary G. Hegna in Bloomberg Businessweek (February 25, 2007).
Thanks to Our 2013 Center Sponsors:
contact email@example.com for sponsorship information
Current funding for The Center for Women's Entrepreneurship at Chatham
University has been provided by the Claude Worthington Benedum Foundation,
the PNC Foundation, and the Alcoa Foundation. Initial funding was provided
by the Claude Worthington Benedum Foundation and the Lois Tack Thompson
Fund of the Pittsburgh Foundation.