#movethedial Connect app aims to address mentorship and sponsorship needs where coffee dates fall short

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Social movement #movethedial is furthering its mission of advancing female participation in the leadership of technology companies with a professional networking app that will match women with the best mentors and sponsors who can help them in their careers.

Launched at the #movethedial Global Summit in Toronto on Wednesday, the app, called #movethedial Connect, allows users to sign up much like they would on social networking services such as LinkedIn, except that the profiles go beyond the regular professional details.

Users are asked to specify whether they see themselves as a “champion,” who could mentor or sponsor a women in her professional pursuits, or a “mentee,” while those with a “growth mindset” have an option to identify as both. Other #movethadial Connect profile details include not only skills but their motivation, volunteer experiences in hobbies. Users are also asked to set different kinds of goals, from “motivational” to “aspirational.”

The idea is that the more granular profile details will allow the app to help sponsors, mentors and mentees discover the most relevant people with whom to form relationships more quickly. If there is a mutual interest to meet in person, a calendar within the app can help schedule a date and time. Ideally, those meetings will lead to something tangible.

“How many are overly familiar with the coffee chat?” asked Lori Casselman, executive advisor, health and business innovation at #movethedial, asked the audience, noting the many hands that went up in response. “Sponsorship needs to go beyond casual coffee and deeper — with less connections that are more meaningful to drive change.”

The app was developed with The Working Group (TWG), a Toronto-based software design firm focused on digital transformation, in just six weeks, said #movethedial CEO Jodi Kovitz.

“This is only one piece of a very complex puzzle,” she admitted, “but I was getting e-mails every day and staying up until 3:00 in the morning to try and connect people. There is a better way to do that. That’s the intention and the vision of a global platform.”

Jing Jing Tan, TWG’s head of user experience design, admitted she could relate personally to the concept behind #movethedial Connect.

“Over the past decade, I can remember when I needed a guiding voice, an external champion beyond people in my immediate network. That guiding voice would have been all of you,” she said. 

Besides LinkedIn, there are other tools emerging to try and help women in business mentor each other and connect with peers. Dating app Bumble, for instance, recently rolled out Bumble Bizz, which aims to help users pursue career changes, collaborate or help each other in their professional lives.

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Shane Schick
Shane Schick is the Editor-in-Chief of B2B News Network. He is the former Editor-in-Chief of Marketing magazine and has also been Vice-President, Content & Community (Editor-in-Chief), at IT World Canada, a technology columnist with the Globe and Mail and was the founding editor of ITBusiness.ca. Shane has been recognized for journalistic excellence by the Canadian Advanced Technology Alliance and the Canadian Online Publishing Awards.