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Using technology to enhance mentorship

Mentors were key in helping Diana, a senior software engineer, when she joined Capital One in 2022. She sought their advice on everything from how to be an effective team player to putting together a career development plan.

So Diana jumped at the opportunity to help others provide and receive guidance. She joined a team of associates who rallied around their mutual passion for coaching to create Level Up, an internal tool that matches mentors and mentees.

“Having a mentor is important no matter where you are in your career,” Diana said. “Everyone needs a little support, and it should be easy to find.”

Initial idea and implementation

The group behind Level Up first came together in 2023 for an annual hackathon hosted by Blacks in Tech (BIT), Capital One’s Business Resource Group (BRG) supporting Black technologists. Hackathons are embedded in Capital One's culture, providing opportunities for associates to explore new technology, network and brainstorm new products.

For this BIT hackathon, groups were randomly assigned and given the prompt "Building Community." 

Jason, senior manager for cyber tech, along with the team, saw an opportunity to make the mentorship process at Capital One even better by enhancing the ease of mentor-mentee matching processes through technology. This led to the development of Level Up, an internal digital tool for Capital One associates. Using Level Up, associates can upload their own profile and search for a mentor or mentee based on their career interests.

“You could think of Level Up as a social media platform for mentorship,” Jason said. 

Over three days, the team worked together to create the app. Even though the team of five had never worked together before, they clicked instantly and used their strengths to deliver an exciting new product. Diana was able to get tutorials from her teammates and work with technology, including Node JS and AWS, that she doesn’t use in her day-to-day job.

“I didn't know the team before, but it was a great experience working together.” Diana said. “I got to flex some new skills I haven’t tried before and experiment with team projects.”

Positive feedback and the future of Level Up

The Level Up team presented their project to the BIT community at the Blacks in Tech Summit. The feedback was immediate—people loved the idea behind the project, and reached out to the team with their congratulations. Ultimately, they won first place in the hackathon.

“It was a validation that the idea resonated not only with us, but with the wider tech community as well,” Jason said.

After the excitement of the BIT summit, Team Level Up will be meeting again to refine the product, expand its scope and ultimately launch it as an internal Capital One tool available to all associates. Diana hopes that Level Up is able to provide the same meaningful mentorship experience she’s had to others and further BIT’s mission to support Black technologists.

“BIT prioritizes building relationships with other associates,” Diana said. “The hackathon helped connect me with other people that have similar interests and goals as me, and I hope Level Up is able to do the same for others.”

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