Full Circle: Mentee Becomes a Mentor

July 21, 2008 - 12:00am
Melissa & her Mentee
Melissa & her Mentee

iMentor held it’s first annual Alumni Pairs Convocation ceremony last week, celebrating a new beginning for pairs that completed their formal commitment in the iMentor program. Held at UBS, the event honored the strong relationships developed throughout the iMentor program year and provided foundation for their continuing success in the years to come.

The keynote speaker at the event was Melissa Benjamin (see speech below). Melissa first became part of the iMentor family in 2000 as a mentee. When Melissa signed up to be a mentor last year, she reconnected with her mentor, Lexy Mayers, and the pair has since remained in close contact. Melissa now serves as a mentor to a new mentee in our program. She has also become a member of our Young Executive Board.


Melissa's Speech

I first became a part of the iMentor family in 2000 during my senior year at Erasmus Hall High School for Business & Technology. My mentor was Lexy Mayers, a Yale graduate and and at that time, employed by American Express. Her emails were always there during our iMentor sessions, full of great advice, encouragement, and resources for college admissions. Lexy also made it to every event hosted by iMentor that year. She was an enthusiastic mentor, and I was just as excited to see her at the events. Lexy even attended my Senior Awards Night. Along with my family, Lexy was able to share a very important night in my high school career. This was the night I found out I was Class Salutatorian, as well as receiving several other academic awards. It meant so much to me that Lexy took the time to go above and beyond her obligation as a mentor to be there for me on such a special night.

After graduation, Lexy and I kept in touch for a while, but lost contact as I fully immersed myself into campus life at Johnson & Wales University in Providence, RI, and she was changing careers, going to grad school, and getting married. Fast-forwarding to 2007, I decided I wanted to be a mentor after speaking with a close friend who was also mentored in the program, and recalling how much fun we had that year. During the application process, I asked if they had any contact info for Lexy. I was able to email her and a few days later we made plans for dinner, and caught up each other on the past 6 years of our lives. Since that dinner date, she and I still keep in touch, and she is still the objective source of advice that I had in high school. This time last year I was in a dead-end job, and was discouraged about finding a job in event planning. Lexy encouraged me to stick with it and not to give up on my passion. Her advice led me to continue a focused job search, and a few months later I was able to land my current job as a Development Associate at Bishop Loughlin Memorial High School in Brooklyn. I'm excited and challenged every day by work I do for the alumni department of the school. I also start Graduate School this fall at Long Island University- Brooklyn Campus and plan to pursue my Masters in Public Administration so I can go even further as a a fund raising professional.

I think the mentors here tonight will agree with me that iMentor is truly an unexpected gift. The young people we get to interact with are some of the brightest, most charismatic, and endearing individuals you'd ever meet. My experience mentoring Nubia this year was definitely an example of that unexpected gift. I didn't know what to expect when I first met her. She was skeptical of me due to the fact that her past mentors hadn't lived up to their commitments fully. That soon faded away as I continued our emails and made sure I was at all the events she planned to attend. I wanted to make her last year in the program a positive one. In my quest to do that I learned that she is more like me than I thought. Full of conversation, jokes, and questions about the future, Nubia is never at a loss for words, which is great because neither am I. :) I went to her graduation last month and I can't lie, I was a little misty-eyed when she crossed the stage, partially because I knew she would be moving on but mostly because I was so proud of her. I know she will be a great success this fall at Virginia State University.

In closing I want to tell the mentors here tonight to continue what you're doing because it does make a difference. Your thoughtful emails and presence at events means a lot to the students you mentor. And to the mentees, I also want to thank you. Your presence is also important, and your hopes & dreams are shared by your mentors. Use this alumni program and your mentors as a resource as you move on to life after high school. And most of all Mentors & Mentees, keep in touch!

Thank you to Melissa, UBS, iMentor staff, and all of our mentors and mentees for making this such a memorable and exciting event!

Pairs @ the Alumni Pairs Convocation

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