Mentoring

The story behind Brancher: the virtual mentoring platform

Holly Brailsford, co-founder of Brancher, shares the story behind the evidence-based virtual mentoring platform. Her background is in organisational psychology. She is a registered psychologist and has a clear passion for helping people reach their potential.

“I am a firm believer in equality. We should all have the opportunity and support we need to reach our potential – and sometimes, being connected with the ideal mentor is exactly what someone needs to make this happen,” she says.

“Mentoring has always been a passion of mine, stemming from having a number of key mentors throughout the various stages of my life. To those who have shared their advice, listened to me talk through my biggest concerns and helped me find my dream career – thank you. These mentors have made a lasting impact on who I am today. I wouldn’t be where I am in my career if it wasn’t for my strong support network.”

Brailsford sees “immense value” in having strong mentors and knows the consequences of not having them – or worse, having mentors that clash with your personal values.

She has first-hand experience of the latter.

“Whilst a mentor is meant to stretch and challenge you, an underlying alignment in personal values is fundamental to the success of the relationship,” she says.

That’s when I realised there was a gap in the market for a mentoring platform that connected compatible mentees and mentors – one that was grounded in science and took into account things that matter, including your personal values.

Holly Brailsford

Co-founder, Brancher

“That’s when I realised there was a gap in the market for a mentoring platform that connected compatible mentees and mentors – one that was grounded in science and took into account things that matter – including your personal values.”

She explains how she validated the need for Brancher.

“I went on to interview 87 professionals – men and women across numerous industries. What I found was that 51% are struggling to navigate their career, 95% want mentoring. However, the majority struggle to find the right one. Research shows only 37% of people have a mentor. And why? Because 100% of those interviewed who are running mentoring programs struggle with mentee-mentor matching,” Brailsford says.

After hearing the career stories of these 87 professionals, she learned that: (1) finding a mentor is hard, (2) being a mentor is challenging and (3) running a mentoring program is time consuming.

“This was the moment when I decided there needed to solve these three problems. Jake Bayer, my co-founder shared the same passion. So, my problems soon became our problems,” she says.

Brancher co-founders Holly Brailsford and Jake Bayer.

“Fast forward 10 months and we are incredibly excited to partner with Women in Media to provide an exclusive industry-leading mentoring program.

“After a successful pilot program that involved 40 women in Tasmania in 2019, we are thrilled to be continuing the partnership to roll out the program out nationally to 90 driven career professionals this year.

“We can’t wait to continue listening, learning and adapting our services so we can continue to push the boundaries and deliver a mentoring program that will change careers, unleash potential and be designed for the modern professional.”

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