On A Quest To Democratize Mentorship For All

On A Quest To Democratize Mentorship For All

DesignWhine speaks to ADPList.org founders Felix Lee and James Baduor in an exclusive and candid interview where they shed light on their mission and their plans to expand beyond design

I wasn’t sold on the notion of writing a cover story for ADPList when we initially discussed it. Sure, I’d heard of the platform, and we’d interviewed Felix Lee, one of the founders, for our second issue of DesignWhine in 2020, but I dismissed it as just another product or service platform.

It wasn’t until Rajat Agarwal, our Founder, got into a bit of a debate on LinkedIn with a self-described “seasoned UX professional and educator” that I realised there was a group of people suffering from superiority complex who were busy putting others down, trying to hold on to the imaginary “gates” of the design community.

I reasoned that there should be a community where information exchange and differing viewpoints are welcomed. Where no one looks down on one another and lectures about what is right and wrong in the community are replaced with healthy debates.

I learned about ADPList’s founders’ passionate and amazing purpose of democratising mentoring and making it available to as many individuals as possible throughout the world while investigating the company. It was clear to me that it was more than a product or a service platform. Perhaps precisely the community I had wanted to find.

Their mission is quite similar to ours. ADPList seeks to assist designers overcome their problems through mentorship, while DesignWhine wants to convey tales about their hardships, hope, and accomplishment. I could imagine a great blend of ideologies for a cover story. I went on to research more about ADPList.

As unusual as it may sound, Covid-19 inspired the creation of ADPList.org. When the company first launched last year, Felix Lee and co-founder James Baduor just wanted to do something to help the design community, as many brilliant individuals across the world went unemployed. Initially, their plan was to create a list of persons who would be willing to provide assistance and advice to other designers who were struggling during the pandemic. Soon, they recognised a chance to convert their concept into a full-fledged website, which they named Amazing Design People List, or ADPList for short.

Today, ADPList has organically grown into a platform featuring 2,500 mentors who are providing more than 5,000 booked sessions a month. Some 20,500 mentees have signed up for the support. ADPList has also got a pre-seed funding of US $1.3 million recently from Surgeahead.

For us at DesignWhine, it was a no-brainer. It was now time to talk to Felix and James. It was now time for an exclusive, candid interview with them.

Written by
Barkha Sharma