Dori Babcock has always been passionate about helping young adults on the sensory spectrum. It was this drive/passion/experience that led her to start Valiant Health Solutions (VHS), a nonprofit organization with the aim of filling the “need gap” that sensory families experience. VHS provides classes, programs, and services to spectrum children, teens, young adults, and their parents so that they have the tools they need to achieve good grades, make friends, find jobs, take care of themselves, and enjoy life.
When the pandemic shut down VHS’s in-person programming, Dori knew she needed to act quickly to move her programming online. VHS was not eligible for government financial assistance programs since they lacked a revenue stream. On top of this, their website was not working as intended, putting Dori in an extremely stressful situation.
“If this doesn’t work, I’m going to go under,” she recalls thinking.
Dori was introduced to the MicroMentor platform through the Empower by GoDaddy program. The Empower by GoDaddy program is GoDaddy’s signature social impact program that equips entrepreneurs with the training, tools, and resources that they need to be successful. The program provides entrepreneurs with mentorship and content coaching support, delivered through GoDaddy expert volunteers.
Dori had hoped to connect with mentors who had been in her shoes and could help her build a new website and create a marketing plan leveraging social media. Determined to find the help she needed to support her organization; Dori started posting some questions on the Q&A section of the platform. One mentor reached out with a follow-up question. Dori took this as a positive sign because it was clear that the mentor was interested in understanding her and her business better. The exchange of a few messages was all it took for Dori to match with the perfect mentor, Priyanka Tamuley. Priyanka, who is a digital marketing professional, has years of experience with SEO, social media marketing, content marketing, and user experience—making her the perfect mentor for Dori.
Within the first six weeks of working together, Dori and Priyanka have been able to re-tool the VHS website, create a social media calendar, relaunch the logo, and develop an impact pitch which they submitted to a contest. Beyond her expertise in marketing, Dori values Priyanka’s international outlook. When Dori received a request to conduct classes abroad in New Zealand, Prianka encouraged her to go for it: “Why not?” was her simple response.
Priyanka and Dori are currently focusing on the PEERS ® social skills program for socially awkward young adults. The program had to move online during COVID and the two of them have been working on lead generation strategies to highlight the program. In the long run, the aim is to build an engaging peer community through a strong value proposition for the VHS brand. What makes this mentor-mentee relationship so strong is respect for the knowledge and skills each brings to the relationship. As Priyanka notes, “It has been a pleasure working with Dori. The best aspect of our mentor-mentee relationship is our deeper level of understanding for each other. Dori's enthusiasm, perseverance, and zeal to make a difference drove me towards collaborating with her—and MicroMentor made this possible! I am looking forward to many more months of brainstorming with Dori!"
Strong communication is the cornerstone of every successful mentor-mentee relationship, and Dori and Priyanka are no exception. “When I explain what I’ve tried, she asks more questions to get to the heart of the issue,” Dori explains “she knows the right questions to ask.” Because Priyanka takes the time to understand Dori’s situation and make specific recommendations, Dori saves a lot of time by searching less and doing more. The two continue to communicate three or four times each week.
The future looks bright for VHS as Dori expects to see a 50% increase in orders in the next three to six months and an expansion in the types of services offered. She looks forward to continuing her work with Priyanka to explore new possibilities while keeping the promotion of existing services fresh and relevant. Dori feels that the mentoring experience has been invaluable to her:
“I was losing hope that I would not be able to get the word out to the right people and that hope has been restored with Priyanka’s guidance.”
When asked what advice she has for her fellow entrepreneurs on MicroMentor, Dori stressed the importance of the Q&A function on the platform, as a good method to get started and gain the perspective of multiple mentors. She also thinks it’s important to pay close attention to how mentors answer any questions, whether they ask any of their own, and what assumptions they make.