A Wake Forest Tradition of Mentoring, photo of top hat

Welcome to National Mentoring Month 2017! Each January we use this national spotlight on the importance of building effective mentoring relationships to highlight mentoring practices, programs, and relationships here on the Wake Forest campus. It is an opportunity to reflect on those relationships that are so important to our growth and development, to express appreciation for those who are invested in our lives, and to renew our commitment to one another and to this community.

Ask any alumni about why Wake Forest is such a special place, and most likely, they will tell you it is because of the people. The high-quality relationships formed with peers, faculty, staff, and alumni are a hallmark of Wake Forest. Is it any surprise that our University embodies a strong tradition of mentoring at the core of many relationships formed on this campus? This January 2017, we want to celebrate and honor the strong mentoring culture Wake Forest as well as to further strengthen and support effective mentoring relationships. Below you will find brief stories from young alumni who have benefited from the Wake Forest tradition of mentoring as students and post-graduation.

 Alumni Stories: The Impact of the Wake Forest Mentoring Tradition

Mentorship is a true strength of our Wake Forest community – I’ve found mentors throughout my five years here, and have had the pleasure of staying close to many, many mentors I made as a student. Additionally, my professional mentors, Mary Pugel and Dr. Hatch, have shepherded me, with patience and good advice, through my first year at work. This year, though, I’ve made the unlikely mentor and friend of one Emily Wilson, who has taught me to be myself and to demand the most of those around me for a worthy goal. She has impacted my work-life philosophy in ways, I’m sure, she wouldn’t know. Quote by Sonia Kuguru, BA 2015
I am fortunate enough to be in the Wake Forest Alumni-to-Alumni mentoring program here in Washington, DC. I deeply admire my mentor on both a professional and personal level, and it is so important that I have someone who “gets” the Wake Forest experience. She understands where I am coming from and where I want to go. Quote by Ryann DuRant, BA 2011
A mentor told me this when I graduated, and I have seen it abundantly true in my young career. Who you work for matters more than what work you do. A phenomenal manager can build opportunities for you, understand what matters to you, and accelerate your career by helping you grow. A bad manager (no matter how interesting the work) can make you feel insecure, invaluable, or dissatisfied with even the positives of your job. So, if given the choice, choose the manager and people you want to work for over the work you want to do. If you’re in a good company or field, those people will matter more to your long-term growth and success than whatever topics you may have been working on at the time you first got started. Also, the Deac network is successful and strong; don’t be afraid to use it. Quote by Matthew Simari, BS 2012
I feel as if I have been extremely lucky because I have met some fantastic individuals that have shown genuine interest in helping me succeed. I still keep in contact with my mentors at Wake Forest, such as my former boss when I was an intern in the Office of Communications. When I need career advice, I have people that I can count on. I also try to pay it forward and help others, if I have anything to offer. Quote by Kasha Patel, BS 2012
I have found many wonderful mentors across this campus, both personally and professionally. They challenge me with tough questions and are helping to strengthen my self-awareness. I’ve grown immensely from my relationships with them, so I strive to serve in that type of role for others. Quote by Jana Fritz, BA 2015
While there are many things I could name that helped me prepare for work, what stands out to me most are the priceless opportunities to create meaningful relationships. In a unique and effective way, Wake Forest has done a good job of connecting staff, professors, students, and even the Winston-Salem community. As a result, I was surrounded by people who have become life-long mentors, friends, and supporters. Quote by Delvon Worthy, BA 2008, MBA 2013
I have been blessed with the opportunity to be mentored by people who have not only effected my professional path but also my personal one as well. This blessing and realization of how important mentorship is began at Wake Forest. It was people like Roz Tedford, Mike Ford, and Chip Siedle who took me under their wings with the belief that anything was possible and achievable if I wanted to do it. To this day they are still influential people in my life. Quote by Bo Machyo, BA 2013
I’d be amiss not to mention some of the incredible teachers/mentors I had while I was there. Dr. Wanda Balzano (Department of Women, Gender, & Sexuality Studies) taught me to be relentless in my efforts to change the world, and she continues to inspire me to dig deeper in my work to make it more relevant, more meaningful, and more intersectional. Brook Davis (Department of Theatre) has the wisdom of Dumbledore and a smile that makes even the worst days bearable. So, yes, Wake Forest prepared me for everything I have faced. To me, it’s the Wake Forest people and the experiences that have shaped me immensely. Quote by Amy Shackelford, BA 2014