Level Up in Your Career in 2022 — Apply to First Round’s Fast Track Mentorship Program!

As the New Year kicks off, plenty of folks may find they have a renewed interest in professional development and tackling long-term goals. But there’s a wide gulf between these aspirations and getting started with career growth — folks often don’t know where to start, or what particular skills they need to build up to grow in their career. And as calendars fill up while working at a startup, carving out time for this important work tends to slip. When we launched the Fast Track Mentorship Program back in 2016, our goal was to create a community for purposeful career development while dodging some of those common pitfalls. Now on our 12th cohort, having paired up thousands of Mentors and Mentees, we’ve tweaked the program along the way, but the core pillars have stood firm.

How it works:

To start, we match every single Mentor-Mentee pair based on interests and areas of expertise (more later on what we’re looking for from prospective Mentors and Mentees). That could include a product manager looking to get better at prioritization or creating a product roadmap, a marketer wrestling with balancing long-term marketing strategy and short-term tactics, engineers wanting to expand their tech skillset, or recruiters that are seeking best practices for talent acquisition. Whatever your career goals as an operator, we aim to pair you with a Mentor with a proven track record you can lean on.

Once each pair is matched, we provide plenty of playbooks and best practices on how to make the most of the mentorship experience, including conversation guides and questions. Each pair then meets for one hour every other week from February 28th through May 27th, for six total 1:1 sessions, to discuss the Mentee’s professional goals, tips for cultivating leadership skills and advice for weathering the challenges of startup life.

In addition to those impactful 1:1 sessions, Mentors and Mentees also receive invitations to events within the larger Fast Track cohort, including virtual professional development workshops, curated learning sessions based on functional expertise, sessions with First Round’s partners, and more. Along the way, participants also have the opportunity to connect with other high-caliber Mentors and Mentees via virtual coffee chats, an exclusive Slack group, and networking events.

Whether you have specific career goals you’re trying to tackle (like developing your presentation skills or making the leap from individual contributor to first-time manager) or are still trying to figure out the next step along your path, our aim with Fast Track is to give you the tools and the relationships to reach those goals.

With that, we’re pleased to officially announce the 12th cohort of First Round Fast Track, running from President’s Day to Memorial Day. If you’re interested in joining our next cohort as a Mentee or a Mentor, we invite you to apply here by February 1st.

The Fast Track fine print:

  • Fast Track 12 will run from February 28th — May 27th, 2022.
  • There will be mandatory one-hour training for both Mentors and Mentees during the week of February 28th.
  • Mentees and Mentors will be invited to an exclusive Fast Track Slack channel to foster more connectivity within the larger cohort.
  • Mentees also receive access to First Round Network, our curated (and confidential) online portal where you can get support on your thorniest challenges from our portfolio companies, utilize our robust resource center, and learn tactical advice from thousands of Q&A questions.

Who should apply:

You might be a good fit for a Mentee spot if:

You work at a First Round portfolio company. Mentees can come from any functional background, whether it’s marketing, sales, engineering, product, design, people ops, and more. The common thread is that we’re seeking people who are looking to learn and level up in their careers, either as individual contributors or as team leaders.

OR

We also encourage Black, Indigenous, and Latinx startup employees from companies outside of the First Round portfolio to apply. You might be a good fit for a Mentee spot if any of the following resonates:

  • You’re looking to learn and level up in your career, either as an individual contributor or a team leader.
  • You’ve had an unconventional path into tech.

Hear directly from some of our former Mentees:

  • Thanks so much for organizing an incredible Fast Track session for all us mentees and mentors! From the matching to the kickoff, to specific events — everything has been so meticulously thought out. I loved the sessions with my mentor, and hope to get good enough to mentor others some day! — Jesika Haria, Co-Founder at LogicLoop
  • I’ve learned so much! Every week my mentor gave me suggestions and things to work on that I implemented right away. I would come back with my progress and we’d adjust the way I was approaching an issue if needed. The things that were super impactful were those that will stay with me for the rest of my career — how to frame problems, how to present myself, and how to really find joy in the things I’m working on! — Ryley Donohoe, Customer Success Manager at Cocoon

You might be a good fit for a Mentor spot if:

  • You’re a VP, mid-career superstar or director at a breakout tech company, which generally translates to 8+ years of experience — but we make exceptions for people with an uncanny ability to coach with wisdom beyond their years.
  • You’re a current or former founder who can share the good, the bad, and the ugly of startup life.
  • You have a strong desire and ability to help rising stars achieve their bold goals, navigate career paths, attack specific functional areas, recognize blind spots, and manage and lead teams.
  • You have a valuable perspective to share, but more importantly, you seek to understand before you give advice. You use your own learnings and candor to elevate the knowledge of others, helping Mentees discover and amplify their talents.

Hear directly from some of our Mentors:

  • “After being a part of the First Round Mentorship program twice, I can say that it is the most thoughtful and well-run program I have experienced. I appreciate the guidance and frameworks they provide to make the experience impactful (and less of a lift) for all participants. I always learn as much from my Mentees as I hope they get from me and use it as a real opportunity to hone my coaching and management skills as well. I can’t thank the team enough for organizing such an incredible program and I look forward to continued participation!” — Olivia Herron, Head of Sales — SMB at Facebook
  • Thank you for facilitating another Fast Track program (my fourth)! My Mentee and I prepared for and actively dived into each of our six sessions, and I know I benefited immensely from it — not just in being forced to think more deliberately about the craft of product management in my own career, but also in getting to know a talented, driven, and just all-around great person. Fast Track is a model for any program that aspires to foster a community of coaching, learning, and improvement,” — Tim Dang, Director of Product Growth, 23andMe

Apply here today! The application closes on February 1st.

Know anyone who might be a good fit? Please forward this post and encourage them to apply.

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