soulcitizen Janice Omadeke Joins Rare Million Dollar Founders Club

Janice Omadeke, The Mentor Method, CEO and Founder
Janice Omadeke recently joined an exclusive club of only 94 Black female CEOs to raise more than $1 million in venture capital funding for her startup, The Mentor Method. 

For Omadeke, who moved to Austin from Washington, D.C. in 2017, the Mentor Method was the solution to a problem she had faced trying to advance in her career. She says she had “been through corporate mentorship programs that matched me based on external demographics, age, race, gender, but didn’t take into account my goals or what I wanted to do in the future. They weren’t engaging. The process was very confusing, there weren’t a lot of details about how to build a mentor relationship.”

When she was working as a manager at PwC (formerly Price Waterhouse Coopers), her employees expressed interest in a mentorship program, and she knew she had an opportunity to be the solution she needed herself. The result was a program that matched employees based on their responses to interest questionnaires that gauge not only career goals but also personality compatibility. The patent-pending algorithm removes the bias and focuses on career development through a data-driven approach to match mentors and mentees. 

“You have to have chemistry and more in common (than basic demographics) so you can build trust and have a meaningful relationship,” Omadeke says. 

Looking back, she says that the program was the first iteration of The Mentor Method. But she couldn’t stop thinking about the fact that she had an opportunity to do something meaningful for other people and applied to the MassChallenge, an accelerator program designed to help equip disruptive entrepreneurs with the resources they need to propel their businesses forward. She was accepted and placed in Austin in 2017, where she was supposed to remain for four months.

My authenticity is my superpower — my ability to relate to people, be empathetic, and lead from a mindset of seeking to understand

Four years later, she’s still here and focusing on the Mentor Method full-time. 

But despite The Mentor Method’s focus on data to make connections, Omadeke says her biggest lesson has been to be human first. “My authenticity is my superpower — my ability to relate to people, be empathetic, and lead from a mindset of seeking to understand,” she says. 

“I have seen mentorship programs that were not sustainable, wouldn’t scale or actually help anyone. I’ve also seen leadership in corporations that didn’t care about the experience their employees were having and if they were ok.”

The daughter of immigrants from the Congo, Omadeke says she was inspired by her parents’ work ethic, and it was actually their stories that propelled her through the “grueling” work of fundraising during a pandemic. 

I’m the first generation of women in my family that has full access to opportunities and full freedom of choice,

“They didn’t even know each other when they emigrated here,” she says. “They faced language issues, socioeconomic issues — and it didn’t break them. They continued to work hard to build a life…I think about my parents’ journey and shift my mindset from ‘wow, this is challenging’ to ‘wow, I’m the first generation of women in my family that has full access to opportunities and full freedom of choice, because most of my family is still in the Congo.” 

Omadeke says she’s found the most success with companies of 1000 or more employees that understand the future of work, hybrid workplaces, and the importance of meaningful mentor relationships. She hopes at the end of the day, people will recognize her efforts to not only promote mentorship, but to ensure equitable access to career mobility for women, people of color, and the LGBTQ+ community. 

“Thirty years from now, I want my legacy to be one where people knew my kindness, generosity, directness, and ability to build multiple businesses that changed the lives of others,” she says.

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