SSE’s Annual Speed Mentoring Event Matches Students with Top Experts

23 Mar 2023

Ever hit a mental block that you just can’t seem to break down? Ever wasted your time asking the wrong people for advice you thought you wanted, instead of asking the right people for the advice you needed?

But do you even know the right people?

Welcome to speed mentoring, an event like speed dating, except that it is not horrible and you are far more likely to leave with a great match.

This Tuesday, SSE hosted its annual speed mentoring event for social entrepreneurs at the Canadian headquarters for SSE-global sponsor, RSA.

The stage for the day was set by professionals who have exceptional business sense, backgrounds, and experience. SSE’s 2015 speed mentors included 14 CEOs, a regional Vice President for a multinational software company, a 10-time serial entrepreneur, several award-winning founders and board members of social enterprises, a holder of 11 patents, and a global division head for a Fortune 100 company.

“Speed mentoring = meeting more inspirational people in 40 minutes than ever before” –Laura Bowley ’15

With this stellar group of mentors assembled, the 2015 cohort of the SEF program set about to finding the “right person” to help overcome blocks in fellows’ ventures. Before the event got underway, the Mentoring Network’s Jeremy O’Krafka trained both students and mentors on how to get the most out of the mentoring relationship.

Because every fellow was looking for something different, and different personalities and skill sets need to mesh, each mentor-mentee pair had five minutes to get to know one another, and then move on to a new person in the room.

At the end of the event, mentors and mentees indicated with whom they felt the most chemistry and interest in developing a relationship over the next year.

With everyone matched, the pairs then committed to meeting four times in 12 months for at least 90 minutes each time. (In our experience, many mentoring partners meet more often.) This professional support relationship offers students a sounding board for reflection and feedback to foster learning.

Students consistently report that mentors bring a valuable perspective and different set of skills from those of the social entrepreneur and it is in the cross-fertilisation of these points of view that great value is found.

SSE is humbled by the caliber of mentors who have volunteered precious time to help emerging social entrepreneurs on their journey, and to RSA for once again supporting the School with both volunteer time and a fabulous venue to make magic.

Check out photos from the day here.

Interested in mentoring or volunteering? Please send us a note at and sign-up for our alerts for volunteering opportunities here.


Photo credits: Solana Cain,