Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in organizational development but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Alison Martin, Founder and Managing Director of Engage Mentoring, located in Indianapolis, IN, USA.

What's your business, and who are your customers?

Engage Mentoring primarily works with companies to transform their cultures by leveraging software that provides access to meaningful relationships. We also recently introduced structured programming for individuals, which includes our HR Leadership Forum for Human Resources professionals, our DEI Leadership Forum for Diversity professionals, our Business Owner Forum for business owners, and our C Suite Exchange for C-Level executives at larger firms. Each of these programs combines group mentoring with 1:1 mentoring on topics of the participant's choosing with other like-minded executives.

Tell us about yourself

I started my company, Engage Mentoring, following a 20-year career in the nonprofit space. I actually founded a nonprofit and desired to construct a mentoring program. Upon researching what software was available on the market at the time, we didn't find exactly what we were looking for, so we worked with a developer to create a product that suited our needs at the time and realized it had far greater application. We now come alongside companies to offer a formalized mentoring program for employees as part of their development, retention, and talent attraction strategies. I'm thrilled to share that we work with companies of all sizes to make mentoring part of their culture.

I am motivated by impact. I came from very humble beginnings and was a young single mom at the age of 18, so I wouldn't be here today if it weren't for incredible mentors who saw my potential and poured into me from a mentoring perspective, so I am motivated to offer a program that provides access to meaningful relationships, which I know firsthand can be transformative.

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

My biggest accomplishment as a business owner has been to watch our team grow and to have a really incredible team of smart, adaptable, and results-oriented people working alongside me to really grow together. It has been an honor and a privilege to work alongside some of the most incredible people I have ever met who lend their talents to our company because they see the vision of what we are working towards.

What's one of the hardest things that comes with being a business owner?

It can sometimes be lonely, and finding people outside of the company to be a sounding board for strategies and ideas has been critical at every stage of growth in our company. I now lead our Business Owner Leadership Forum, which is a structured mentoring program for business owners, and this has also been an incredible experience for me personally.

What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?

  1. Find a mentor. Find someone you trust who has been there and done that to help shortcut your learning and be a sounding board for ideas.
  2. Persist until you succeed. So many quit when things don't go exactly according to plan, but that is usually an opportunity to pivot in some way. Never give up.
  3. Hire people that are smarter than you. As you start to hire, look for others you can trust who bring the skillsets to accomplish the job you need them for. Build a culture that encourages innovation and provides a safe space for sharing ideas and pushing back when needed.

Where can people find you and your business?


If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.

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