Mentoring is having a moment.

The ever-increasing pace of change in today’s marketplace is resulting in ever-steeper learning curves. Today’s early-career professionals often find themselves in situations where knowledge alone isn’t enough and the guiding hand of someone experienced is essential.

Statistics tell the story: Recent surveys by Forbes, Harvard and the Wharton School show that 76% of working professionals feel mentoring is vital to growth, 90% of those with mentors report being happy at work, and retention rates for employees with a mentor were 72% higher than those without one.

Stonehill students and graduates are fortunate in this regard.

The College has a strong culture of mentoring, in which faculty are deeply invested in their students’ lives and graduates thriving in their field reach back to lift others. It is a time-tested collaboration that has long supported students’ academic and professional success.

Stonehill students in Washington, D.C., with David Simas '92, who served in the Obama administration.

“For me service, that notion of leadership in the community, is the reminder that … as I climb, I lift,” said political science major David Simas ’92, who served in the Obama administration and has stayed connected with Stonehill.

It is a premise central to the mission of the College’s new Navigation Center for Student Success, which prioritizes both alumni and on-campus mentors.

“Mentors are meant to help you identify transformative experiences, get outside your comfort zone and do things that help you realize who you want to become,” said Christina Burney, the Center’s executive director.

Mentors are meant to help you identify transformative experiences, get outside your comfort zone and do things that help you realize who you want to become

Alumni Who Treat Your Success as Their Priority

Across all majors at Stonehill, mentors are extraordinarily generous with their time and go above and beyond. Healthcare management major Meaghan Sydlowski ’14, currently an emergency response and preparedness specialist for the International Medical Corps, exemplifies this commitment. During the pandemic Sydlowski “Zoomed in” from a busy vaccination clinic tent in Los Angeles to talk with current students about supply chain management. “We’re building the plane as it’s flying,” she said of the COVID-19 vaccine operation she was helping to manage.

What’s particularly noteworthy is that this commitment to reaching back is self-perpetuating, inspiring those who were mentored to become mentors themselves.

“I got my first internship at Goldman Sachs during the summer of 2014 with the help of Michael Desmarais ’88 and Jon Hughes ’07,” said finance major Daniel Doherty ’15, who now works in digital assets at Citadel Securities in New York. “I was fortunate to have a great experience which turned into a full-time job offer for after graduation.”

Finance major Daniel Doherty ’15, who now works in digital assets at Citadel Securities in New York, speaks to current students during an alumni mentoring event held on campus.

Now Doherty has switched seats, regularly mentoring current students.

Economics major Ralph Dangelmaier ’88 concurs, and his mentorship to current students focuses on encouraging them to adopt a self-supporting mindset.

“To accomplish things, you sometimes have to get the word ‘can’t’ out of your head,” said the founder of the digital payment platform BlueSnap. “Mindset is critical to perseverance.”

A Gift of Leadership and Growth

The beauty of mentoring is that it is mutually beneficial; it’s “an exchange of ideas, support, connection and opportunities,” said finance major Karen Madison ’94, who is now a senior executive biologic sales specialist at the pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca.

By helping others navigate challenges, mentors develop stronger leadership skills.

“I believe with all my heart in the power of individual people to make the world a better place,” said Madison, who regularly returns to campus to support students. “You can influence one person, a room, a whole company, or even a college campus. You can rally a group of people to make change in those same spaces. It all starts with one.”

That humanistic quality of mentoring has been the element that has kept economics major Bill Driscoll ’68 involved with students for more than 50 years. The retired U.S. Navy commander who received the Navy Cross (the service’s second-highest decoration) notes that the core of mentoring is kindness, a trait that is nurtured through Stonehill’s emphasis on service and compassionate leadership.

“The Greek philosopher Plato said in 457 B.C., ‘Be Kind,’” Driscoll said at a recent campus event. “Everybody’s fighting a tough fight. When you graduate, you leave Stonehill, but the values that you learned at Stonehill never leave you.”

In student networking and mentoring events on campus and in New York, Boston and Washington, D.C., Stonehill alumni give generously of their time.

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