Why we exist

Currently located in Toronto, Side by Side Collective was created to address the ever-present lack of female leadership in design teams and technology companies. Famously quoted, "only 3% of creative directors in the US are women". After thinking about what we could do on a grassroots level to change the ratio of representation in Toronto, Side by Side Collective began to take shape. With mentorship and a support system based on friendship, shared experienced, and passing down what we often call "tribal knowledge as a woman in tech", the program aims to help designers gain the confidence and competency to become the leaders of Toronto's tomorrow.

Where are we

Toronto! For now, at least, we are focused on making an impact in one city. If you're interested in participating in this program from another city, reach out and we'll see what we can do.

Who are our mentees?

We are looking for passionate female designers who are working in the industry in Toronto. We won't be specific about your level because mentorship is useful at all points during a career. We just care that you're a passionate human and have an interest in your own growth. If you have more questions about our selection criteria, please don't hesitate to reach out.

Mentees applications are reviewed after submissions are closed, with final confirmation going out at the end of February 2018. We expect to have about 15 women in the program, but this number may change based on the demand we see (we want to help as many people as we can!). Vetting will happen after your application is reviewed and we've had a chance to speak with you over the phone.

Who are our mentors?

Our mentors have at least 6-7 years of industry experience in design, research, or a related field. We have a rigorous interview process that helps us select who our mentors are, as well as mentor training that includes unconscious bias awareness, feedback training, communication training, and general mentorship know-how and advice. By the time our mentors come to you, they will be ready (and excited)!

Why should I join this?

You believe diversity makes the work better, that it's important to help women find their voice, you wish you had a mentor when you were starting out, you are having trouble navigating your workplace, you are looking for a group of women with a shared experience, etc. There are many reasons you might find mentorship valuable. What we hope is that Side by Side Collective grows into something more - we envision unconferences, wider collective meetups, and new friends in our future (and hopefully yours!).

Am I qualified to join this? Is it scary? 

Yes, you are! If you're a designer and you want to grow yourself - we want you! It doesn't matter if your a junior or a senior or do 5 jobs because you work at a startup. We don't care about the box you fit in, just that you want to participate and grow. We care more about your story and your goals than any title you might possess. 

It's also not a scary thing, we've heard that having a mentor seems a little intimidating and for some of us, that's just what it's like to meet new people! But that's ok. We'll thoughtfully pair you with someone who is only there to make life easier for you. Everything new can be a little scary but we promise this program is only meant to help reduce that fear.