Introducing the new Ember Mentorship Program

– By Jen Weber, Leah Silber

We're pleased to announce the creation of the new Ember Mentorship Program!

Mentorship has been a strong theme throughout Ember’s existence. We started with our first core team members pairing together at the creation of Ember, and today it’s one of the foundational parts of our DNA. Now we’re formalizing many of the things we already do, into a more structured, community-wide initiative, so we can do an even better job.

Mentorship is a responsibility shared by our entire community, and we’re excited to help it grow. It’s a celebration and elevation of the work that many, many people have contributed to, and a public statement that this is something we care about, prioritize, and intend to keep on doing.

Established Initiatives

In addition to some fun new plans, the Ember Mentorship Program umbrella captures and unifies a bunch of existing efforts. Some are face-to-face events, others are remote, and some combine the two.

Some of the things we've already been doing:

  • The annual Mentorship Workshop and Mixer, an event at EmberConf that matches mentors with mentees, giving them time to get to know each other both ahead of and during the conference.
  • The Women Helping Women program, which helps support women who want to speak, lead, and contribute both within and outside of the Ember community. The program specifies an inclusive use of the term women, and is welcoming and respectful of trans women and any others who identify as women in a way that is significant to them, as well as to non-binary folk.
  • New Contributor Mentorship, the (currently informal) process where experienced contributors in the Ember ecosystem pair up with those who are learning and exploring.
  • Meetup Support, where organizers of groups around the world support each other and share ideas about the things that are and aren’t working for their groups. Meetup organizers also get together at EmberConf to share ideas and tips.

There wasn't a central online listing of or hub for all these initiatives, and unifying them under the new single umbrella will help with organizing and sharing that information. (For now, the largest collection of details is on the EmberConf site, but new pages are in the works to port all this content to the Ember website soon.)

What’s New?

EmberConf 2019 will be an annual opportunity to explore new areas for the program(s) to grow. One of the new areas of focus in 2019, for example, will be the first gathering for People of Color in the Ember Community. This Ember POC Connect initiative will be led by Ashlen Price and Elrick Ryan, who you may have met at past EmberConfs!

More details are coming soon, and when registration for EmberConf opens, folks will be able to sign up for the first POC Connect Breakfast. There's also a new channel is Discord, #poc-connect, so people can get to know each other well before they get to hang out at EmberConf.

The Mentorship Program also embraces the idea that opportunities should be available to anyone in the community — not just those who can make it to EmberConf.

Here are some of the ways in the works:

  1. An event kit that anyone can use to run mentorship workshops in their local meetups or conferences, with guidance and support from past leaders.
  2. Online events open to all participants around the world, at varying times to accommodate many time zones.
  3. Adding content to the awesome Help Wanted app to give new contributors more specific directions on how to get involved and who to ask for help.
  4. Raising awareness of efforts like the Women Helping Women initiative and POC Connect, so new members can join and benefit from afar as well.
  5. The Ember Public Speaker Program, which previously existed under the Women Helping Women program, and is now growing to be a general purpose effort open to all (with an in-person EmberConf component too!). It will help match speakers who want to improve their skills or practice, with others who can give guidance and feedback.

Why this focus? When will these things happen?

The reality of open source communities is that we have to choose where to spend energy carefully (though in the best case scenarios, we don’t have to choose because the goals align!). Focusing on organizing and improving work that’s already being done means there’s minimal overhead to the improvements around the edges.

If you don’t see your own ideas on these lists, get in touch! Everything we’ve done so far were grew from community volunteers and interest, and our we hope that more of you will come forward to help us build this up even more.

Mentorship-type efforts are really about the one-on-one connections we’re able to help foster along the way, which means every single participant makes a difference ♥

How to get involved

  • Do you want to be an EmberConf 2019 mentor or mentee? Apply here to participate in the in-person events.
  • Request to join the #poc-connect and/or #women-in-ember (Women Helping Women) channels on Ember Discord. To get access, ask about it in #discord-server-admin. These channels are year-round, not just for conference attendees.
  • For all other projects and events, including online-only opportunities, stay tuned for more announcements in the EmberJS Twitter and the Ember Times newsletter

P.S. If you want to help lead, organize, or sponsor these efforts, please get in touch with Jen Weber (@jenweber) via the Ember Community Discord. Jen is leading the overall program coordination, and will connect you to the right people for the various projects. Thanks for your support and interest!