Seven people: Bethany Bishop, office coordinator at People Centric Consulting Group; Kelley Collins, a district manager for Aldi Inc.; and Ryan Gipson, director of community outreach and leadership at Drury University; Shayna Folley, an account executive at KOLR10; Caleb Hearon, an MSU senior; Mindy Dilley, assistant director of student involvement at Nebraska Wesleyan University; and Patrick Grayshaw, assistant director of civic engagement at Oglethorpe University.
All of them are former students/staff of mine when I worked at MSU. The reason is they found something valuable in what I have taught them, and they know I am going to challenge and support them. I do it because I learn a lot and it feels good to help someone.
Most live in Springfield, so either we go out to coffee/lunch or meet up. Others, we rely more on phone calls, Facebook Messenger and texting.
I have helped all of them through the job-searching process, so getting a job they are happy in is a huge win. I try to listen and point out another way of thinking if they get stuck, or encourage them to be clear about what is important to them and how that fits with their strengths and values.
I probably have as many mentors as I do mentees. A few are Kathy Rose Shelton, a fifth- and sixth-grade teacher; Suzanne Kilgannon, a former supervisor in my first professional position; and Thomas Lane, dean of students and BBBS board member.