The GroundWork Executive Mentor role is a unique within the world of accelerators. Like all great mentors, GroundWork mentors are part sounding board, part advisor, part confidant, and part therapist. But because of our emphasis on curriculum, GroundWork Executive Mentors are also part teacher, part coach and part drill sergeant.
Executive Mentors are also the cornerstone of the teams’ engagement with the rest of the GroundWork program. Executive Mentors work closely with the GroundWork operations team to monitor and assess team progress, coach teams on the GroundWork curriculum, provide teams with guidance on selecting and engaging with mentors and serve as a point of contact for teams experiencing challenges with the program or with other mentors.
Each GroundWork team is assigned two Executive Mentors. These mentors may or may not be the mentor a team works with most or most deeply. But Executive mentors make a non-trivial commitment to shepherd the there teams through to graduation. For their extra effort, Executive Mentors receive a share of the equity accrued by the GroundWork program.
The GroundWork program is in its infancy and we are learning much and refining the program as we progress. This is especially true for the Executive Mentor role. However, we are committed to respecting our mentors time and so we try very hard to set and fulfill expectations around this commitment. Here is what an Executive Mentor should expect:
  • Average of 2 – 3 hours per week working with teams.
  • Average of 2 – 4 hours per month for a debrief session, reviewing the process, team applications, needed interventions, etc.
  • Approximately 3 – 4 hours at the beginning of the program for team on-boarding, reviewing curriculum, program objectives, engagement philosophy, etc.
Importantly, we also look to the Executive Mentors to provide feedback and ideas about the program broadly, so that we can continually improve it over time.
The driving principle of the Exec Mentor role is supporting founders in learning, understanding and using the core GroudWork curriculum, i.e., setting meaningful milestones, identifying, quantifying and validating their assumptions about how they will achieve those milestones and then coaching them on building a cogent growth strategy based that will get them to those milestones.
Success in the program is tied to creating a real growth plan that the team can and wants to execute on. That said, I expect some teams may discover that they can’t find a cogent plan to grow and they will either head back to the drawing board or proceed with with a greater respect for the risk inherent in not being able to defend their claim that there is a cogent story to tell about how they can be successful.