After the Fellowship: thoughts on mentorship

Over the course of my OpenCare Fellowship, I had the honour to be mentored by many people, in many disciplines, in many forms. This took the form of forum posts, telephone calls and community hangouts. I will thank them here, while pointing out the different forms mentorship can take.

Firstly, I will thank Marco Manca of SCImPULSE Foundation. We had several telephone calls during the Fellowship months and every one of them was enlightening. Although a difficult medium to transfer deep insight, Marco managed to transfer years’ worth of knowledge during these calls. His clarity in my projects, a few countries away from him, speaks more of his ability than the potential of this method of mentoring. However, as it is an accessible way of connecting, I find phone calls a valuable asset in mentorship.

Second, the Edgeryders platform and its users, to complement the phone calls. Also nicknamed “black-hole of knowledge” at several occasions when you find yourself continuously clicking through content years old, yet eerily relevant. It is through the platform that progress can be shared in an easily digestible manner for people you will have a call with or people who just have 10 minutes to spare to comment on your story. And it scales nicely: the more people on there, the more interactions, the richer the learning for everyone involved. Here is a special thanks in place to Noemi for being the beating heart of the Edgeryders community, and Alberto and Nadia who don’t shy away from deeply and critically reacting to whatever you type into the platform.

Third, your offline peers. In our projects, there is a strong sense of togetherness and we don’t shy away from supporting each other with personal as well as professional issues. Sharing work, resources, knowledge and helping each other grow. We enjoy creating possibilities for one another. If not for their support, I would have quit countless times before. The collective learning amplifies into concrete outcomes, which amplifies the learning. I feel like these learning – doing – learning cycles are crucial for groups of people attempting to push boundaries.

Fourth, persons who share interests and serendipity. The value of coincidental conversations and subsequent accidental discoveries cannot be understated. “Going out there” and talking to people is simply essential to break out of habits and networks you already know.

I look forward to deepening insight on mentorship and applying some of these principles for future learning and teaching endeavours!