New Alumni Mentor Network helps prepare Davenport University students for the real world

Marie Woodard, ‘94, is the kind of mentor students would want in their corner when navigating challenging educational and professional decisions. Disha Roddy, ’19, appreciates Marie’s first-hand guidance.

Disha is a graduate student in Davenport University’s MBA program and was paired with Marie in the fall for the first-ever Alumni Mentor Network program commissioned and funded by Consumers Credit Union and DU’s Alumni Board of Directors.

Marie — an entrepreneur, marketing professional and fashion consultant — is a sought-after mentor and a perfect match for Disha, who aspires to start her own fashion and business consultancy after graduation.

“Mentoring has always been a passion of mine,” Marie said. “As soon as I learned about this program, I knew I wanted to be a part of it. I had so many amazing mentors in my life. I wanted to pay it forward.”

Disha finds value in the mentoring program because of the in-depth knowledge and experiences her mentor can share with her.

“I thought that by this time in my life I would have everything figured out and be working my desired career field,” Disha said. “Being a part of this mentor program has helped me with my future and has been incredibly life changing.”

Since their first meeting in late September, Marie and Disha set aside one to two hours a month to meet up. They discuss topics such as interviewing, starting a business, handling commitments and, of course, fashion.

“My connection with Marie has been one of the most beneficial relationships that I have established,” she said. “My mentor has helped me to utilize the skills that I have for my desired career and in the current job that I am working. This has not only made me appreciate my job, but has positioned me to gain more responsibility and respect from my boss. The mentoring program is definitely beneficial, even for graduate students.”

Students and mentors at the first Alumni Mentor Network lunch-and-learn at Consumers Credit Union Students and mentors at the first Alumni Mentor Network lunch-and-learn at Consumers Credit Union

There are 20 other students and alumni in the Alumni Mentor Network program, matched based on professional interests and career goals.

In addition to the mentor relationship, students and alumni have an exclusive opportunity to network and learn first-hand from area employers through lunch-and-learn events. Students are deepening their understanding of life after college through exposure to behind-the-scenes tours, leadership opportunities and skill-development resources. The sessions act as springboards for conversation in the mentor relationship as students kick-start the skills and experiences needed for a professional career.

To date, the students and alumni have visited three top area employers, including Consumers Credit Union, KPMG and Amway, with three more on the schedule for the second semester including Gordon Food Service, Metro Health and a second visit to Consumers Credit Union.

Contact Sara Mooney to learn more about supporting the program or becoming a mentor or mentee.


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