Meet the first batch of Substack Bridge mentees

We recently announced Substack Bridge, our inaugural mentorship program aimed at supporting emerging writers through eight weeks of 1:1 mentorship with writers who have established themselves on Substack.

In less than four days, over 1,000 new and emerging writers applied to receive mentorship from some of Substack’s most respected writers in sectors covering everything from politics to pop culture, mental health, media, and data. We took the time to read every application and were blown away by the responses.

With only twelve mentor matches available, it wasn’t easy to select the talented mentees who’d join this pilot. We worked with our mentors to make the final selections.

Without further ado, we’re excited to introduce the thirteen Substack writers who will be the first mentees to participate in and help shape Bridge:


Anais Escobar Mathers

Substack: You’ve Escaped
Mentor: Sarah Gailey

Topics covered: family, identity, relationships, chronic illness, mental health, pop culture, and the big and small feelings that make up human intimacy.


Lillian Li

Substack: Chinese Characteristics
Mentor: Walt Hickey

What do you think makes a good mentor? Someone who listens respectfully and can provide insightful guidance on issues I'm working through.


Erica Manfred

Substack: Snarky Senior
Mentor: Anna Codrea-Rado

Writing goals: I want to turn Snarky Senior into a brand which gives skeptical, intelligent, irreverent members of the Boomer generation a voice outside of the limited channels available today.  


Benjamin Strak

Substack: Design Lobster
Mentor: Casey Newton

What challenges have you faced with your writing?: Consistently writing for a small audience is a continual self-motivation challenge. I have been made redundant this year due to covid–19 so the question of how much time to dedicate to this work vs my job search has been challenging too. Overall, as such a solo enterprise, I think I lack the ability to bounce ideas off someone else which means I feel stuck a bit stuck about the right way to develop the newsletter.


Wing Sze Tang

Substack: The Knowhow
Mentor: Delia Cai

Topics covered: The common thread is that I'm highlighting women who are high achievers, boundary breakers, and up-and-comers across industries.


Alex Olshonsky

Substack: Fridays on the Olo
Mentor: JP Brammer

What would you say is your greatest strength? Breaking down complex ideas in clear, concise words. Writing about pain, addiction, and the human struggle in a relatable way to a variety of people.


Rosalie Chan

Substack: True Colors
Mentor: Fiza Pirani

Writing goals: I'd like to write better personal essays and cultural critiques. 


Kiratiana Freelon

Substack: Coisa de Preto
Mentor: Jarrett Carter

Topics covered: My knowledge of Black Brazil and the network I have developed over the past five years as an international correspondent.


Jessica Chao and Libby Coleman

Substack: Visible Hands Media
Mentor: Judd Legum

Writing goals: We would love to inspire people to take action around issues where businesses aren't being responsible. We'd like to promote awareness and action. We'd love to change minds about "shareholder primacy" - that there are many other groups that are impacted by businesses.


Default Friend

Substack: Default Wisdom
Mentor: Luke O’Neil

Challenges: I have diehard fans, but growing my subscriber base has been super difficult. 


Safy-Hallan Farah

Substack: Hip to Waste
Mentor: Ernest Wilkins

Greatest strength?: My singular POV as a Somali-American thinker and writer. 


Alex Gogarty

Substack: The Reel
Mentor: Richard Rushfield

What would you say makes a good mentor? Experience, both good and bad! I'd love to learn from someone who's been in a similar position to me - working a full-time job but dreaming of writing professionally instead.


Mentee applications for our second cycle of Bridge will open in the coming months. Interested in being a mentor? You can apply year-round here.