Mentor Program e-Newsletter

Marquette University Alumni Association Mentor Newsletter
December 2017

On behalf of the Marquette University Alumni Association, we wish you a joyous Christmas and holiday season and are grateful for your participation in this year's program.

Ready? Break. Five keys to ensuring mentor-mentee success

Finals week is nearly complete and the well-deserved semester break is here. Remember these practical steps during break to keep your sights set on accomplishing your mentor-mentee goals. MUAA Mentor Program

- It’s all about the goals. Don’t lose sight of the goals you established. Refer to your goals document regularly to stay on track and make adjustments. Review them regularly and adjust, if necessary, including adding any new opportunities along with a deadline.
- Mentors- utilize your network to help your mentee. Mentors, it's not fair (or realistic) to believe you have every answer for your mentee. Think about your own professional network and who might be able to lend a hand. Encouraging your mentee to network with fellow alumni in the mentor directory (see below) can help, too.
- Mentees- your initiative is imperative (and required) to ensure success. Many mentors and mentees indicate scheduled meetings have been catalysts to a flourishing partnership. You’re busy, they’re busy. Having planned times with a set agenda and discussing key takeaways (such as completing items with a deadline) concluding a discussion are vital.
- It’s a marathon, not a sprint. While you may want to complete your goals immediately, discuss if there are other topics or themes to complement them. For example, if enhancing a resume is a goal, think about adding mock interviews (in-person, phone, Skype) or reviewing a LinkedIn profile to strenghten professional development.
- Me and my shadow. Semester break is an excellent time to shadow or meet in person. Discuss this possibility now or even plan ahead for early 2018.

Mentor offers insights through 'Successful Exploration'

Mentor Dr. Jim Casanova, Arts ’70, is a five-time MUAA Mentor Program mentor (Yazmin Rustomji, current health sciences mentee). He shares these ideas for mentors and mentees alike.

We are all explorers. Marquette was an explorer. Some of us have been at it a long time, some not so much. A mentorship program is a chance to explore together, rather than alone.

MUAA Mentor ProgramModern explorers use tools. No matter the task or the career, certain interpersonal “tools” come in very handy. From program discussions over the past four years, certain tools have been singled out as important for those of us in the program and for professional life beyond the program. These tools may seem very obvious at first glance, but oh, how we all struggle with them! From our discussions, here are some basic examples to consider:

- Communication. We tend to overestimate each other’s ability to process and understand new information. What is obvious to me is not obvious to you. Check to make sure ideas are received as intended.
- Reliability. The professional world is built on trust and follow-through. Stick to the plan. Stay in touch.
- Timeliness. It’s related to reliability. Close communication loops quickly. Answer
e-mails and texts. The clock can be an ally rather than a nemesis.
- Preparation. In a mentorship program, there is an essential role for spontaneity, but it can also leave important details blowing in the wind. Clear goals and agendas increase productivity.
- Safety. It’s related to communication. We will only say what’s really on our minds if it feels “safe” to do so. We need the kind of relationship where we can say what we really think.
Interview Skills. This is something that many mentees have been concerned about. Talk about it, even practice. Interviews can be comfortable, even fun.
Ownership. Last but not least, taking ownership may be the most important issue of all.  Don’t wait for others to initiate. Take charge.

Good luck to all of us the rest of the year as we go exploring together!

Jim Casanova is an independent hospital and medical staff consultant and resides in Elm
Grove, Wis.

We Are Marquette: Expand your network with 2017-18 MUAA Mentor Directory

MUAA Mentor ProgramJoin many program participants who are building their Marquette network through the 2017-18 MUAA Mentor Program Mentor Directory, which features more than 100 alumni mentors. Learn how other mentors and mentees work together, the career journey of other mentors, ask about career exploration after Marquette, the job market in a particular city and more.

Program participants are invited to secure a directory by completing the volunteer agreement form which was sent previously and emailing it to Special thanks to the alumni mentors who have generously agreed to be included in the directory and serve as another resource to participants.

Save the Date: MUAA Mentor Program Finale is April 26

MUAA Mentor Program FinaleIt’s never too early to plan ahead. Mark your calendar for Thursday, April 26, to celebrate the conclusion of the 2017-18 MUAA Mentor Program at the 707 Hub, home of the Kohler Center for Entrepreneurship and a program campus partner.

Join fellow mentors, mentees and Marquette faculty and staff at this innovative on-campus space to celebrate the end of the 2017-18 program. Details coming soon.

Mentor, mentee goal is to get their motor running

MUAA Mentor Program
Since the MUAA Mentor Program’s inception in 2013-14, approximately 350 student mentees have worked with alumni mentors to accomplish more than 1,000 career exploration goals.

For mentor Jeff Richlen, Grad ’07 and Platform Chief Engineer, Touring and CVO at Harley-Davidson Motor Co. and engineering mentee Brendan Sims, an unprecedented mentee-mentor program goal was identified: “complete dirt bike project”. While it may not be the goal

of others, it made complete sense for this engineering pair. 

"Mechanical engineering is a project-based job in and outside of the office. With Jeff's help, I’ve been able to fully examine the bike along with its issues,” Sims says. “Jeff has given me additional tips to ensure our solution has the best probability of success.” 

Whether it’s getting a dirt bike in operating condition, expanding your network or exploring job opportunities, mentors and mentees are encouraged to think broadly when it comes to determining goals, which can change during this year-long collaboration..

Added mentor program benefit? A reason to return to campus

Mentor Mark Gehring, Eng ’86, is an entrepreneur with a full plate. However, the co-founder of HealthMyne, a Madison-area quantitative imaging decision support company that helps radiologists and oncologists manage cancer patients, makes the time to serve in the program. He has also found working with engineering mentees like Elizabeth Noel bring him back to his alma mater.  

MUAA Mentor Program “In addition to mentoring Elizabeth, serving as a mentor is a great reason to return to campus and see what’s happening, particularly with new facilities and labs to support Marquette students,” he says.

Noel has already seen the impact of being mentored by Gehring, too. “Mark and I are currently working on my goal of obtaining a summer internship and he has taught me how to stand out in an interview by being personal and passionate with the company and what they have to offer,” she says.

MUAA Mentor Program featured at higher ed conference

The nationally recognized MUAA Mentor Program was highlighted as a Master Session at the CASE V education conference in Chicago on Dec. 10. The session included a comprehensive program overview by Marquette Engagement Director Dan DeWeerdt followed by a panel discussion with mentors Nick Brescia, Arts ’08 (mentee McKenzie Bagley), Dr. Ryan Hendrickson, Arts ’91 (mentee Laura Juszczyk), and Alumni Mentee Network member and communication mentee Bridget Mountain.
MUAA Mentor Program at CASE V conferene 12.10.17

“It was a pleasure to share my involvement in this program, which is clearly a model of excellence across the region and a testament to Marquette's commitment to its student mentees and alumni mentors,” says Hendrickson.

Fellow mentor Brescia shared the panel discussion was a great opportunity to highlight the best of  what Marquette's program offers mentors. “I thought it was important to emphasize the value of how Marquette supports mentors.”

The three-hour class included attendees from University of Wisconsin, Purdue University and Ohio University.  

Mountain offered her mentee perspective on the panel. “Sharing my mentee experiences with other universities looking to model the Marquette program was really rewarding and thought-provoking,” Mountain adds.

The program received a 2016 CASE V award for Best Student Alumni Programming.

Five Questions With... Mentor Elena Braun, Bus Ad '08

MUAA Mentor Program Elena Braun1. Why do you serve in the MUAA Mentor Program? I have benefited tremendously from my mentors over the years. Making time to work with emerging professionals seems like the most fitting way to demonstrate my gratitude. Plus, I really like getting to know my mentees.

2. What suggestions do you have for mentees? And mentors? Never underestimate the power of your network. Take time to cultivate good connections and create opportunities to expand your network. 

3. What’s your favorite Marquette memory? Working with a team of classmates to teach a course on financial literacy in Milwaukee public high schools.

4.  If you’ve had a mentor, what’s one piece of advice that has stuck with you? The world is small- handle every interaction with grace and compassion. Also, work won’t be fun every day but make sure more days are good than bad. If the balance tips, make a change.

5.  Something you wish you would’ve done differently at Marquette to help prepare for your career? I underestimated the impact of politics and human behavior on getting business done. If I were to go back and do it again, I would have taken more classes on those topics.

Elena Braun, Bus Ad ’08, is a senior manager, Supply Chain and Trade Operations, at Ironwood Pharmaceuticals in Cambridge, Mass., and mentoring business administration mentee Ryan Sharpe.

In the News

Photo by mentee Katarina Fischer

Congratulations to these mentor program participants for their recent achievements.

Monique FelixMonique Felix, business administration mentee, was selected to represent female members of the BIG EAST conference at the 2017 NCAA Student-Athlete Leadership Forum Nov. 16-19 in Washington, D.C. (John Shusterich, Arts ’11, mentor)


Katarina FischerKatarina Fischer arts mentee, provided the featured photo in the Nov. 27 Marquette University News Briefs for faculty and staff. See photo above. (Jason Rae, Arts ’09, mentor)    



Katrhyn McCarthy

Kathryn McCarthy, communication mentee, was elected vice president of public relations for the Marquette University Panhellenic board. The organization leads on-campus Greek Life efforts. (Chris Devine, Comm ’94, mentor)

Special thanks to mentees Madison Dunker, Gabrielle Stamas, Juliette Stroesser and Nick Wagner for volunteering at the Nov. 30 Tree Lighting event at Journey House. The organization is led by CEO Michele Bria, Arts ’90 (mentees Valeria and Veronica Castro) and includes intern and Alumni Mentee Network member Alex Gambacorta.

If you have a new job, received a promotion, award or volunteered recently that you'd like to share with fellow mentors and mentees In the News, send it with a headshot to

MUAA Mentor Program Toolbox offers relevant mentor, career resources

From mentor and mentee icebreaker questions to timely and trending mentor and professional development articles, visit the MUAA Mentor Program Toolbox. This month's featured resources:

50-plus mentor mentee questions and topic suggestions
What's on your mentor's bucket list? Who was their best and worst boss? Why? What's your mentee's dream job, greatest strength and biggest opportunity? These conversation topics and many more are designed to strengthen the mentor-mentee relationship.

Corner Office, New York Times
Learn why BMI Music CEO Mike O'Neill values his days as a lifeguard, asks prospective employees to pick restaurants and what he would ask job candidates in a five-minute interview.

Mentor program questions or comments? Contact MUAA Mentor Program Director Dan DeWeerdt at or (414) 288-4740.


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Milwaukee, WI 53201-1881

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