In the first few months after Christine Cruzvergara became associate provost and executive director for career education, she estimates she spoke with about 350 members of the Wellesley community, most of them alumnae. One thing became clear—alumnae valued the strength and the power of the Wellesley network, but they weren’t always sure how to tap into it. “Many alums kept saying, ‘I really just keep in touch with my friends, and if anything, the extent to which I can reach the network is just friends of my friends.’ They said, ‘There’s this amazing extended Wellesley network that we know about, but we have no idea how to actually engage in it,’” Cruzvergara says.
At the same time, she and Missy Siner Shea ’89, executive director of the Alumnae Association, realized that they both were receiving requests from various alumnae groups—classes, clubs, shared-interest groups—that were interested in setting up mentorship programs. The two decided to collaborate on creating a comprehensive, cohesive platform for Wellesley alumnae and students seeking mentorship and mentoring opportunities. They put together a working group of seven alumnae and two students to help shape the platform, and in May, the Wellesley Hive was launched.
The Hive allows alums and students to connect as mentors or as mentees, search for jobs and internships shared by alumnae and students, participate in discussion groups to connect with others around shared career interests and identities, and more. At the time of publication, 3,352 alums from more than 30 countries, 863 students, and 85 faculty members had joined the Hive. More than 100 mentorship relationships had been formed, and over 1,700 messages had been sent through the platform.
“I’ve taken comfort from Wellesley mentors, benefiting tremendously from reading and hearing from other people: ‘I failed seven times before it worked.’ ‘All my friends thought I was crazy.’ ‘Some mornings, I didn’t even want to get out of bed,’” says Brenda Krafft ’93, a web developer and fitness instructor who participated in the Hive’s beta testing. “Even if I never connect with them directly, hearing that the struggle is worth it gives me the conviction to stay my course.”