Virginia Beach, VA (March 23, 2020) – What do Sentara Healthcare, Auntie Anne’s Pretzels, and the Hampton Roads Chamber of Commerce have in common? Well, on paper, not much. But, at Regent, C-Suite executive-level leaders from each of these organizations – and many more – have volunteered to serve as mentors to graduate students in the Regent University School of Business & Leadership (SBL).
The SBL Executive Mentor Program began in October 2019, and has already seen 170 executive mentors volunteer to share their experience, knowledge and wisdom from their years as business leaders. Currently, 69 executive mentor-student mentee pairs are active, and more student mentees are in the application/pairing process.
Who Can Participate?
This program is specifically focused on graduate students within the SBL, but mentors are welcome from many different fields in the business world. Potential mentors with over seven years of experience apply for these positions online. Once selected, they are partnered with a student mentee with whom they will connect on a regular basis for six months.
For students who apply to be matched with a mentor, the requirements are not simply academic; rather, those well-rounded students who have served their community, served as a leader, and have excelled academically are the most sought-after for this program.
What is this Mentorship Program All About?
The Executive Mentor Program is designed to give graduate SBL students the opportunity to learn from locally, nationally, and internationally known leaders. This program connects students to leaders who are invested in their successes. These leaders serve as not only a person for the students to shadow, but a true mentor who helps develop the students into world-changing leaders for the future.
This program is an encouragement to the students, an opportunity for the mentors to serve others, and a win-win when it comes to personal and professional development. Future companies at which our graduates will eventually take the helm also benefit from the initiative.
“The program is exceeding our expectations, and I am thrilled for our students to be mentored by such high-caliber executives,” said Doris Gomez, Ph.D., Dean of the School of Business & Leadership. What does she particularly value? “Our students receive wise counsel concerning their professional and personal development and are greatly encouraged by the willingness of our volunteer mentors to give of their time and talent.”
When Does this Occur?
Mentors and mentees are matched for six months, with monthly in-person, over-the-phone, or video conferencing calls required, and led by the students. It is a commitment that the students must make, and one for which they are responsible for driving the interactions. The first group of mentors-mentees were paired in fall 2019.
Why Should Students Participate?
This program is beneficial to SBL students because they can see how the concepts they learn in class are applied to real-world business scenarios. Additionally, by giving students the opportunity to learn from these successful business leaders, they develop their networking skills, make new contacts, solidify their career path post-graduation, and simply grow as a person and as a future business leader.
Mentors have also offered encouragement to students as they continue with their graduate degrees. Katherine Person, a student in the Doctorate of Strategic Leadership program, explained, “I have been greatly blessed by my meetings with my mentor, Erin Ruane [Senior VP, marketing and sales of Homes.com]; not only has she offered valuable insight into the practices of maintaining a successful career, but she has also encouraged me far beyond what I expected from the program. I am honored to have been accepted into the program and I look forward to a continuing relationship with Mrs. Ruane.”
For those students who may be transitioning to a new career, having a mentor who understands potential next steps has been crucial for Timothy Merritt, Doctorate of Strategic Leadership student: “The mentorship program is proving to be extremely important to me. I am approaching my military retirement, and we have discussed my options for post-military employment.”
For some students, the connection with their mentor is more than just the required times of connection. This program can be so much more. Charlotte Jones, a student in the master’s in Organizational Leadership Program, explained: “Dr. Cobb [Randy Cobb, director of organization development for Vident Health Systems] has been open and inviting, giving great communication and leadership principles. He has provided tools that I can use in my everyday life/job. We have even set a date for me to job shadow him for a day in March. Thus far, a wonderful experience for me.”
As this Executive Mentor Program continues to progress, these stories will only grow more plentiful. Not only will this opportunity be beneficial to students as they are continuing through their programs within the SBL, the connections they make could last far beyond their time as students.
Why Should Business Leaders Participate?
This is an opportunity to be on the front lines in helping future business leaders learn the ins and outs of leadership and business. Serving as mentors, the leaders become important role models for students. These emerging business leaders gain an inside view of how seasoned, successful business leaders work, conduct business, and interact with others.
In just a short time, mentors are powerfully helping to shape Regent University School of Business & Leadership students, give advice, share life experiences – and serve overall as sounding boards from whom SBL students can develop and learn. Being a mentor is investing in the lives of our future leaders.
Where Can I Find More Information?
To learn more about this Executive Mentor Program, to apply to be a mentor, or to apply to be an SBL student mentee, visit the SBL website.
About Regent University and The School of Business & Leadership
The School of Business & Leadership is a Gold Winner – Best Business School and Best MBA Program by Coastal Virginia Magazine. The school also has earned a top-five ranking by U.S. News & World Report for its online MBA and online graduate business (non-MBA) programs. The school offers both online and on-campus degrees including Master of Business Administration; M.S. in Business Analytics; M.A. in Church Leadership, Organizational Leadership, and Product Management; Ph.D. in Organizational Leadership; and Doctor of Strategic Leadership.
Founded in 1978, Regent University has nearly 11,000 students studying on its 70-acre campus in Virginia Beach, Va., and online around the world. The university offers associate, bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees from a Christian perspective in 135+ program areas including business, communication, the arts, divinity, education, government, law, leadership, nursing, healthcare, and psychology. Currently, Regent University is ranked among top national universities by U.S. News & World Report and is one of only 22 universities nationally to receive an “A” rating for its comprehensive liberal arts core curriculum.