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Syndicated radio and television personality Steve Harvey during Disney Dreamers Academy with Steve Harvey and Essence Magazine March 5-8, 2015 at Disney in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. The eighth annual event is a career-inspiration program for 100 distinguished high school students from across the U.S. and includes interactive workshops, motivational seminars, hands-on creative experiences and fun times in the theme parks. (photo courtesy of Disney)
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Brittany Fitzpatrick: technology innovator bridging the mentoring gap

Brittany Fitzpatrick

Brittany Fitzpatrick is a purpose-based innovator leveraging technology as a revolutionary tool for social change.

Fresh out of graduate school, the budding civic entrepreneur founded MentorMe, a mentor and mentee online matching platform. The cloud-based software, launched in 2012, cuts time required to manage mentoring programs in half, reducing operational costs by an average of 28 percent.

“Through our technology, we’re able to help organizations start and manage effective mentoring programs without the need for significant increases in administrative time and cost,” Fitzpatrick, founder and CEO of MentorMe, said in an interview with MadameNoire.

“In fact, we’ve seen a reduction in overall administrative time spent on onboarding mentors and mentees, and managing data. Customers are also now starting to see the value in the quantitative and qualitative data they get back after their matches are created.”

Fitzpatrick, a beneficiary of formal mentoring programs as a child, was inspired to establish MentorMe after volunteering as a mentor for eight years. Through this invaluable experience, she saw firsthand the benefits children received from participating in these types of programs.

Speaking at a TEDxJackson talk last year, Fitzpatrick said out of 18 million children who want and need a mentor only three million end up finding one. “This gap between the three million kids with mentors and the 15 million kids who are still waiting is known as the mentoring gap,” Fitzpatrick said during the talk.

“When I think about the proven impact of mentoring, I can’t help but wonder what would happen if we all shifted the way we view mentoring relationships from something formed, from happen stance or as a product of privilege, to something that can be used as a tool to actually strengthen our communities.”

Mentoring is the solution for many social ills, such as school truancy and substance abuse, she explained during the talk.

“We know from the data that mentoring works. The data shows us that kids with mentors are less likely to use drugs and alcohol,” she said. “They are less likely to skip a day of class or school and they also experience improved relationships with their peers and family members.”

MentorMe is currently targeting children and young adults in K-12 and higher education spaces, along with fundraising for the company’s growth.

In addition to running MentorMe, Fitzpatrick volunteers with Ronald McDonald House Charities, Boys & Girls Clubs of America, and the American Heart Association’s Go Red for Women Campaign.

The American Express Foundation has recognized Fitzpatrick as one of the top 50 Under 40 for leading an emerging social enterprise, and Inc. Magazine named her one of the “9 Awesome Black Women Tech Founders to Watch.”

Follow Lauren Booker on Twitter @laurenbisme