Careers are filled with twists and turns and it often helps to have a mentor help guide you along the way. In Fall 2017, the Alumni Mentor Network paired alumni volunteers with students to help them begin their career journeys.
The initiative is funded by Consumers Credit Union and DU’s Alumni Board of Directors.
Dawn Brekke, ’97, was one of 15 alumni volunteers who joined the Alumni Mentor Network in its inaugural year.
“I wanted to be a part of this program so that I could help someone else succeed and grow,” said Brekke, an Account Manager for Behler-Young Company.
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. The program deepens students’ 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 build their skills and gain experience as they begin to pursue their passions and professional careers.
Jon Krueger, ’17, says the biggest transformation he saw in the students was their level of confidence.
“They are learning to ask questions, brainstorm, develop resumes and gain knowledge — which prepares them to enter the job market,” said Krueger, Business Transformation Manager at Gordon’s Food Service.
Krueger said he learned from the experience as well.
“Any professional in the business world in the West Michigan area should want to take advantage of this opportunity as well because we grow and we gain from these experiences just as much as the mentee does,” he said.
DU senior Miles Morrissey attended lunch-and-learn events and behind-the-scene tours with fellow students through the program, as well as received help preparing for interviews.
“It is hard to apply online and stand out,” he said. “At our lunches, we met people face-to-face. It has helped a lot to be able to network with companies in the area. The program also helped steer my path and understanding of the type of industry that I really want to work in.”
The students and alumni visited top area employers, including Consumers Credit Union, KPMG, Amway, Gordon Food Service and Metro Health.
“The experience has been memorable and I know I will look back on this in years to come and be grateful that I took the opportunity to become involved with this program,” DU senior Austin Shepler said.
Plans are being mapped out to offer the Alumni Mentor Network to more students in the Fall 2018 semester.
“They have structured this program and given us the tools we need to help our mentees move forward,” Brekke said. “I think they have started a great foundation for a strong program moving forward.
Help students find their passions
To learn how you can support the Alumni Mentor Network, contact Sara Mooney at Sara.Mooney@davenport.edu