Grab a cup of joe with a mentor for new initiative

Srdjan Pavicevic, a fourth-year Ryerson business student, tried out the "Ten Thousand Coffees" social network.

Srdjan Pavicevic, a fourth-year Ryerson business student, tried out the “Ten Thousand Coffees” social network. (Hailey Chan/ The Ryersonian)

Srdjan Pavicevic, a final year business technology management student at Ryerson University, said that the key to getting a dream job may not be a stellar résumé or a new haircut.

It may just be a cup of coffee.

Pavicevic takes his black.

A new digital platform, Ten Thousand Coffees, aims to foster mentoring relationships and perhaps job offers by connecting industry experts with millennials, people born between the early 1980s and the early 2000s.
Pavicevic calls this job strategy “self-networking.”

“If you have the opportunity to get face to face with somebody, it gives you that foot in the door that not many people have,” Pavicevic said.

With Ten Thousand Coffees, users like Pavicevic create a profile, browse through experts by location or industry, and answer a few questions to prove themselves worthy of the expert’s time.

For example, the site asks the user to answer one issue they see facing the expert’s industry and how they would fix the issue.

Experts will then receive the request and may respond to users to set up a meeting, perhaps over coffee.

There’s no charge to sign up or participate in the coffee meetings.

Among the list of experts is Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield, CEO of McDonald’s Canada John Betts, and head of Twitter Canada Kirstine Stewart.

The site launched in Canada in January and is already creating buzz online.

“There are thousands of conversations between novices and experts already happening,” Jessica Dell’Aquila of Ten Thousand Coffees said in an email.
Pavicevic signed up for the site in February and met for coffee with Andreas Souvaliotis, co-founder of Social Change Rewards, an organization that designs and implements public incentive programs that reward environmentally responsible and healthy lifestyles.

Pavicevic regularly meets up with Souvaliotis to pick his brain on all things digital advertising.

“I want to see what roads I should take, what things I should do to set me apart from everyone else,” said Pavicevic.

Souvaliotis has plenty of advice to give on this topic for both Pavicevic and others wanting his attention. He’s already had six requests to meet up, and has had coffee with four of them.

“I feel like a bit of a target – all four of them had only chosen me,” said Souvaliotis. “I have an addiction to young minds. I love young creative minds … I honestly feel like I get more out of it than they do.”
Pavicevic agrees. “Through this, we can learn from them while they learn from us.”

Souvaliotis was intrigued when he first heard about the site, signing up as a mentor to help bridge the generational gap and also help his own career.  “They could be my future employers,” said Souvaliotis.

Through these meetups, he’s already considering one bright mind for a job.

As Pavicevic starts thinking about his own job prospects after graduation, he hopes to connect with more seasoned experts on the site. If he could meet anyone, Pavicevic hopes for Dave Wilkin, 24-year-old founder of Ten Thousand Coffees.

This story was first published in The Ryersonian, a weekly newspaper produced by the Ryerson School of Journalism, on March 12, 2014.

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March 12, 2014 Issue