Are you interested in becoming a WHAM mentor but have a few questions?
"I don't have a lot of free time"
That's why we suggest one hour per week for two months. We find this is easy to commit to, enough for a good thorough review of a strategic plan or of a funding pitch. Longer programs often lose both the momentum and focus required for action and impose too many engagements. However, after the first meeting Mentor and Mentee can certainly organize themselves as they wish.
Is there any legal risk if I become a mentor?
To make sure the relationship is clear from the start, we have drawn up the following charter for the mentor and mentee to sign:
"The mentor-mentee relationship is a relationship of trust. All participants should take necessary steps - both at the start of the mentor-mentee relationship and throughout the relationship - to ensure that there are no conflicts of interest or other reasons why they should not take part in the mentorship program. In addition, participants agree not to disclose or use any information of a commercially sensitive or confidential nature that they may receive in the course of the Mentoring Program except with prior approval.
The mentor-mentee relationship is an informal relationship. Participation in the mentoring program does not create a legal relationship between the participants, impose any obligations or duties upon them, or create any rights. Should participants wish to engage in a professional relationship beyond the mentoring program, they are encouraged to explore defining their relationship with legal counsel.
The mentor-mentee relationship belongs to the mentor and the mentee. The Wharton Club is not involved in or responsible for the mentor mentee relationship beyond the initial contact."
Are there any formal deliverables?
This is not paid consulting so no need for formal deliverables. Also startups have such unique needs that every situation will be different. We do welcome any feedback that participants have about their experience at the end of the 2 month period.
"I am employed, is there a risk of conflict of interest?"
Participants are responsible for ensuring that, from an institutional or an ethical perspective, they have no conflict of interest in carrying out the role of either Mentor or Mentee, or any role that participants may choose in advancing their relationship following participation in the Program. In this regard, participants should remember that disclosure and proper communication are key to the success of the Mentor-Mentee relationship.
"What if I am offered a strategic board membership or sweat equity?"
From the charter: "The mentor-mentee relationship is an informal relationship. Participation in the mentoring program does not create a legal relationship between the participants, impose any obligations or duties upon them, or create any rights. Should participants wish to engage in a professional relationship beyond the mentoring program, they are encouraged to explore defining their relationship with legal counsel." Any agreement should begin only after the 2 month mentoring period is up.
"What happens if the startup I am mentoring requires specialist, payable advice?"
Mentors are free to suggest any specialists (to the extent they are able to do so) or consult a list of specialists that we aim to make available. In all cases, of course, it is for the Mentee to pursue and form the scope and content of the relationship with the specialist. Neither the Mentor nor the Wharton Club shall be involved in that relationship.