Blog Post

Honoring Mentors at iMentor NYC's 2019 Champions Benefit

iMentor’s NYC annual Champions Benefit, which takes place this year on June 6th, is a time when our community comes together to celebrate students’ successes from the program year. As part of the event, we honor one mentor from each partner school with the Champions Award.

Each of this year’s 15 honorees exemplifies what it means to be a dedicated mentor. We applaud them for their outstanding commitment and support for their mentees and for the broader iMentor community. Get to know the honorees below!


Akudo Atukpawu
School Partner: The Young Women’s Leadership School of Brooklyn
Mentor’s Employer: Nomura 

Akudo has always gone out of her way to support her mentee Samantha. A lawyer with a degree from Brooklyn Law School, Akudo is a committed, driven and ambitious mentor, always encouraging Samantha to reach her highest potential. This includes setting up virtual meetings and getting support from Samantha’s iMentor program manager. The most rewarding aspect of her relationship with Samantha, according to Akudo, is their “similar personalities” and Akudo’s ability to help Samantha break out of her shell.

Milen Beyene
School Partner: Lyons Community School
Mentor’s Employer: NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene 

Being a mentor requires patience. Throughout their relationship, Milen and her mentee Lahjae sometimes became too busy to meet up in person, but made sure to stay connected in other ways such as texting and using the iMentor platform. Lahjae is an honor roll student and Milen makes sure Lahjae maintains this motivation on the competitive path to college acceptance. Milen’s consistency in providing resources and support to Lahjae reflects her dedication.

Nancy Bravo
School Partner: Marble Hill School of International Studies
Mentor’s Employer: BlackRock

Nancy has been a big part in her mentee Arllin’s life since her junior year. One of their favorite things to do together is to catch up in Spanish, as it’s important to both of them that they embrace their Latina culture. Both Nancy and Arllin attended the Latino college expo at the NYU Kimmel Center  in March 2018. From helping boost her mentee’s confidence to helping her improve her SAT scores and taking her on college tours, Nancy has made a difference in Arllin’s life.

Mark Dean
School Partner: Comp Sci High
Mentor’s Employer: Morgan Stanley

Mark is a mentor at iMentor’s newest partner school and radiates motivation and encouragement to his mentee Anthony. Anthony is very passionate about music and wants to either own a business or become a music producer. Mark is dedicated to helping his mentee pursue his dreams and likes to discuss opportunities that could lead him to the right direction. 

Silvia Garcia
School Partner: Urban Assembly School of Business for Young Women
Mentor’s Employer: Horizon Media

After hearing about iMentor from a friend who teaches at the Urban Assembly School of Business for Young Women, Silvia signed up to be a mentor. She was matched with Dalilah, a junior, and has helped Dalilah throughout their relationship, including creating college lists and preparing for admissions interviews. The two have built a strong relationship that Silvia feels will last past Dalilah’s graduation.

Roger Haas
School Partner: Business of Sports School
Mentor’s Employer: SparkBeyond 

Roger has been involved with iMentor for many years and has always been both reliable and incredibly supportive of his mentees. Roger is an example of a mentor who truly believes in the power of relationships and understands the value of mentorship. Roger was matched with Nathaniel in Nathaniel's sophomore year. They hit it off immediately and attended last year’s iMentor Champions Dinner together.  

Doug Leder
School Partner: Academy for Software Engineering
Mentor’s Employer: Ziff Davis 

Doug has been a proud mentor in the iMentor program since 2006 and has served on our Young Executive Board ever since. With every one of his mentees, Doug has gone above and beyond to make sure he can provide the best support and guidance. His current mentee , Jordan, has faced many challenges in his recent years. Doug has made sure that he was always by Jordan’s side. Doug and Jordan say they view each other not just as a mentor and mentee, but more like family.

Kurt Martinson
School Partner: Bronx Leadership Academy II
Mentor’s Employer: Locust Wood Capital  

After graduating from James Madison University, Kurt joined iMentor in 2010 and has been a volunteer mentor since. Over the years, he has been paired with amazing students, and he continues to keep in touch with them. Kurt has a strong relationship with his current mentee, Ebrima, and has helped Ebrima in his college application process. iMentor has been such an important part of Kurt’s life that he even mentioned iMentor at his wedding and asked guests to donate on his behalf!

Nancy Muirhead
School Partner: Frederick Douglass Academy II
Mentor’s Employer: Rockefeller Brothers Fund

Nancy and her mentee, Saran, have grown very close by participating in school events, talking each week, and heading outside the school walls to explore New York City. The duo has toured many schools including Barnard College, Pace, and Adelphi University. Saran hopes to pursue a career in nursing and Nancy wants to make sure she has all the support she needs.

Joy Nolan
School Partner: International High School at Lafayette
Mentor’s Employer: NYC Department of Education 

Joy has been a dedicated mentor to her mentee Louvenca for two years. Despite Louvenca’s sometimes busy schedule, Joy continues to show up at pair events and does all she can to see Louvenca on a regular basis. Joy demonstrates her commitment as a mentor not only in her relationship with Louvenca, but also in her dedication to other students in Lovenca’s class. For example, during the colder months, Joy likes to bring hats for students in her class. Joy is an inspiration to the iMentor family.  

Jelani Roy
School Partner: Bronx HS for Law & Community Service
Mentor’s Employer: BeGreat Sports

When Jelani and his mentee, Muhammed, first met, they realized that since Muhammed was on the basketball team, his schedule could make it hard for them to meet as frequently as they wanted to. But they persisted and found time to meet through the entire year, and have genuinely enjoyed each other’s presence. Muhammed plans to attend Finger Lakes Community College and Jelani is committed to making sure that he has all necessary resources to succeed as he embarks on this new chapter.

Janice Sanders
Partner School: Bronx Academy for Software Engineering
Mentor’s Employee: Citigroup 

Recruited by a friend to volunteer with iMentor, Janice was matched with her mentee, Yaritzi, at the end of Yaritzi’s junior year. Yaritzi was nervous about meeting Janice, but after a failed attempt at a game of Uno with both of them laughing, as neither actually knew how to play, Yaritzi found herself opening up. From that point on, Janice and Yaritzi have formed an incredible bond that will support Yaritizi as she enters college.

Cassidy Sullivan
Partner Site: Lab School of Finance and Technology
Company: WSNe 

With their warm personalities, Cassidy and her mentee, Georgina, have formed a solid relationship through lunch dates, museum trips, and many thoughtful and meaningful conversations. Cassidy is currently involved in Georgina’s college application process and regularly reaches out to their iMentor program manager to get the best information and resources for supporting Georgina.

Henryne Tobias
Partner School:  Union Square Academy for Health Sciences
Mentor’s Employer: American Dental Education Association 

During the last four-years, Henryne and her mentee, Feru, established a relationship that focuses on hard work and self-sufficiency. Thanks in part to Henryne’s support, Feru has been accepted into her top school, Babson College as a POSSE Scholar. We look forward to seeing what the two accomplish together after Feru graduates high school.  

Jeremy Vincent
Partner School: High School for Service & Learning
Mentor’s Employer: Friedman 

Jeremy and his mentee, Jamal, established a compatible relationship early on. Jamal is interested in becoming a mechanic and has been working with Jeremy to explore that career as well as other potential pathways, as he hopes to eventually run his own business. Together, the pair have shared some movie nights as well as develop study techniques that can benefit Jamal long after high school.