In May 2018, we initiated a four-month pilot mentoring program in partnership with the TCA. The program will be opened more broadly to women in TCA after we evaluate our pilot program at the end of August 2018. We will periodically invite applications to the program, for both mentors and for women seeking mentors.

The power of mentoring lies in how it enables individuals to find their way by connecting with others. Studies have shown that mentoring programs are often a key way for future leaders to begin to think of themselves as such, while building relationships with others. While many of us in the taiko community rightly celebrate taiko as an art form practiced by a majority of women, gender inequities exist in ways that might not be obvious. The mentoring program provides a support system that addresses gender inequities in the taiko community and in our culture at large. Topics might include, but are not limited to, guidance in group leadership, pedagogy, conflict management, maintaining a professional performing career, and more. Mentors will offer personalized guidance from a gendered perspective.

Mentors and mentees are selected and paired by a committee. A mentee is asked to enter the relationship with a specific question or need. Mentors and mentees sign a formal agreement to meet one to three times in a defined period of several months, whether in person or by phone/Skype. Mentees take responsibility for arranging meetings and generating questions. Conversations between mentors and mentees are strictly confidential.