Our Mentors

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Our Mentors

Gabby + Ashanty

Gabby describes herself as a person who is driven by relationships and forming connections with others. Upon hearing about iMentor through her employer Salesforce in New York, she was sold on the opportunity to work with high school students. Upon meeting her mentee Ashanty, Gabby took a “come as you are” approach to mentoring – meeting Ashanty where she was with her post-high school planning and finding out what motivates her.

“iMentor believes that every student should have a mentor, regardless of background or post-secondary pathway, and I believe in the organization’s mission to close the opportunity gap and support thousands of first-generation, underrepresented students like me.”

For Gabby, mentorship is a fundamental resource that everyone should have access to, especially young people who are transitioning into adulthood. A mentor is more than someone who shares advice about what direction a person should take. “Mentorship means the ability to trust and confide in someone who not only is a role model, but who has your best interest [in mind],” she says. “Coaching you, challenging you, and when times are tough, reminding you of who you are and what you’re made of.”

Gabby’s relationship with Ashanty has given her insight into the kind of impact she can have on a person’s life. She looks forward to their journey into Ashanty’s senior year and seeing her mentee grow. “Sometimes I find that I walk away from our conversations being so much more similar than we are different,” Gabby reflects. “Watching her feel proud of herself and excited for herself – it is a very rewarding feeling.”

Our Mentors

Adrian + Demonte

Adrian is a mentor from Chicago. When he was young, he knew that he wanted to attend college, but college was not the norm in his neighborhood. Living in a single-parent household, Adrian relied on his mother, friends, family, and high school teachers to provide extra guidance. He felt blessed to have the support of his mentors to give him the opportunity to graduate from college and continue to earn a master’s degree.

Adrian pays it forward with his own mentee Demonte, showing him how to embrace challenges and seek more for himself. “My mentors have been so impactful throughout my life. This is why I aspire to be a positive role model for someone like me in Chicago,” Adrian says. “I want to be instrumental to my mentee’s success.”

In addition to being a mentor, Adrian uses his other passions to raise awareness for iMentor’s mission. He ran the Paris Marathon as part of the iMentor Challenge, an annual fundraising campaign led by mentors. He exceeded his fundraising goal, thanks to the support of his community.

“I wanted to leverage a unique opportunity to support a nonprofit organization that I am passionate about and expand the visibility of the organization,” he remarks.

“iMentor believes that every student should have a mentor, regardless of background or post-secondary pathway, and I believe in the organization’s mission to close the opportunity gap and support thousands of first-generation, underrepresented students like me.”

Our Students

Nykia + Essence

Nykia and Essence are a mentoring pair from Baltimore who connected in 2021. Nykia always knew that she wanted to go to college, and she and her mentor Essence tackled the lengthy (and sometimes complicated) process together.

A crucial role that Essence played in their mentorship was to be a sounding board. She would listen to whatever was on Nykia’s mind – whether about school or her personal life – as a way to build the bond between them and offer advice when needed.

“She gave me a lot of advice of how college might go and how certain things might not go the way I want,” Nykia says. “I’m glad she’s a person in my life that I could count on and trust.”

Although Nykia was very proactive throughout the college process, there were still aspects of college life that she could not research on her own. She relied on Essence to talk through different factors, such as campus size, tuition costs, and personal experiences in college before making a decision. Most notably, the duo made a plan on how to cover the costs to Stevenson University by applying to scholarships and talking to the school and state aid. Nykia is now enrolled at Stevenson as a business administration major with a full ride!

The trust between Nykia and Essence flourishes as Nykia embarked on her freshman year of college. They both have high hopes for Nykia as she goes through her college journey.

Our Students

Melissa + Stephanie

Melissa and Stephanie from NYC are one of the many close-knit mentorships that iMentor has fostered throughout its 25 years. Melissa met Stephanie in 2012 as a shy and quiet high school junior. Even so, it didn’t take long for her to warm up to her mentor. “She was so welcoming and inviting,” Melissa says. “At one point we stopped talking about the [assignment] and she started talking about what we can do to help me.”

Melissa knew she had a special mentor when she felt comfortable enough to reach out to her after their formal iMentor program had ended. In college, Melissa sought advice about transferring schools and relied on Stephanie’s guidance. Being able to offer that advice was a memorable moment for Stephanie because it demonstrated the strength of their relationship. “You hope that you’re building that connection. When you feel that you’re actually able to do that, it feels special,” she says.

As the years went on, Melissa and Stephanie’s relationship evolved from asking for advice to becoming peers. When Stephanie prepared to take a leave from her position in corporate social responsibility at EY, she immediately thought of Melissa to fill in on her team. Melissa felt apprehensive but gained confidence to take the role because of the confidence that Stephanie had in her. The position allowed her to expand her professional network to leverage for future roles. “I would have never known that this was a job unless someone was there to give me that opportunity,” Melissa says.

Melissa reflects on the value that having a mentor like Stephanie has had on her life. It has been over ten years since their first meeting, and she now feels more equipped to speak up and be a leader. She is glad she put in the effort to nurture her relationship with Stephanie.

“She’s a role model. She genuinely wants what is best for me,” Melissa says. “I’m very blessed that iMentor brought us together.”