We're moving women forward
Side by Side Collective is a community of women, agender, and non-binary designers in Toronto. We offer formal programming, meetups, and resources for women in the design and technology space. Our focus is a mentorship program that pairs more experienced designers with those new to the industry or looking to grow their careers. We provide mentorship pairs with structured programming, goal setting, and community events to help support them in their career growth and development.
Now accepting applications for Winter/Spring 2019
Our mentors have at least 6-7 years of industry experience in design, research, or a related field. We have a rigorous interview process that helps us select who our mentors are, as well as mentor training that includes unconscious bias awareness, feedback training, communication training, and general mentorship know-how and advice. By the time our mentors come to you, they will be ready (and excited)!
We are looking for passionate female designers who are working in the industry in Toronto. We won't be specific about your level because mentorship is useful at all points during a career. We just care that you're a passionate human and have an interest in your own growth. If you have more questions about our selection criteria, please don't hesitate to reach out.
Words from our 2018 cohort
"It’s going to sound corny, but going through the Side x Side Mentorship program was life-changing. I was paired with an amazing mentor who guided me through one of the most transformative career changes I’ve ever done. A lot of my professional growth and success in 2018 can be attributed to this program. As someone who had an idea of where I wanted to go, but no clue on how to get there, having my mentor - and the rest of the SxS community - by my side helped me become a more confident professional and thoughtful designer."
"Personally, being involved in the program [as a mentor] was very beneficial for two main reasons: I felt connected to my work/field [while on mat leave] and I was able to meet a very intelligent and interesting younger woman whose feelings I identified with and remembered from my own starting out point into UX research. I was able to help her achieve her goal (she got a new job!)."
The strength of a community
"Side x Side opened my eyes to a whole community of supportive and empowering women I didn't know existed in the industry. Annie (my mentor) taught me I could be successful without conforming to negative industry standards projected upon women. She gave me the confidence to stand my ground while being kind and supportive to those around me."
Transitioning to freelance
"I joined the program at the perfect time. I was transitioning out of a full time role back into building a new consulting business. Alisha (my mentor) became a friend and ally throughout this time of uncertainty. Becoming a part of this community and knowing that support is never far helped keep me motivated, learn to trust myself and make decisions more effectively."
Helping my mentee move countries
"I was lucky enough to support an amazing mentee through the process of following her dream to work in another country. It was incredibly rewarding to see her apply the things we talked through together and ultimately succeed at her goal. It was also helpful for me to think through what I learned from my own experiences, because now it will be easier for me to support others in the future."
Navigating the industry
"I honestly couldn’t have asked for a better mentor. She made me see what I had accomplished in my career and taught me to appreciate and value myself and my experience. She gave me the creative confidence I needed to pursue my goals. I’m truly grateful for my mentor and for Side x Side Co."
"Side x Side was such a refreshing experience to be a part of. I really appreciated being able to speak with another woman in a similar field, sharing our stories and experiences. My mentor was extremely generous with her time and advice, regularly meeting with me and helping put actions in place (in both the workplace and personal life), focusing on my skills and goals."
Alisha started Side x Side Co. after years of working in an industry with noticeably few women in senior leadership. She’s a Sr designer at Shopify and an instructor and curriculum developer at York University. She makes a lot of playlists, lifts heavy things, and thoroughly enjoys the outdoors.
Polly is a Sr. Designer at Rangle.io. As a mentee in Side x Side’s first cohort, she experienced the program's incredible value first-hand. Polly wants to continue spreading the word about Side by Side, lifting up and supporting other amazing women in the design community. When she's not working, she enjoys spending time with friends, cycling around the city, and trying new things.
Mariel Van de Loo
Mariel is a Sr. Product Designer based in Toronto working at Shopify, where she creates thoughtful experiences to enable entrepreneurs. Outside the office, she likes being active outdoors, practicing life drawing, and breaking a sweat at the gym.