Finding a job after college isn’t always easy, but knowing the right people can help. Students at Graceland University took a step in the right direction Thursday, Nov. 12, at Fall Burn, an annual career exploration event organized by the student group Enactus.
Keynote speaker Dr. Brandon Fletcher ‘11 spoke about his journey to success. After graduating from Graceland, Dr. Fletcher earned an MBA in healthcare leadership at Rockhurst University. He is currently the director of SERC, the largest physical therapy clinic in Missouri. He also spoke of how key people throughout his journey acted as mentors to help guide him.
Mentors can be extremely helpful to college students. In order to help Graceland students gain the most from their education, Enactus has collaborated with the Graceland Alumni Board to offer GU4U, a mentorship program that will pair current students and recent graduates with alumni and friends in their field of study.
Fletcher spoke with passion about the value of mentors. He said, “A mentor is someone who is willing to invest their energy into you. … But a mentorship is a partnership,” he cautioned. “You can’t just sit around and expect the road to be paved for you.”
Fletcher’s first mentor was his father, who taught him that “We can all flourish when we work together,” and the importance of hard work and good people. After coming to Graceland, Fletcher gained new mentors: Graceland Director of Student Activities, Brad Carr, who taught him to “leave it all on the field” and “give it your all, all the time;” and Diane Bartholomew, Director of the Athletic Training program at the time, who told him, “If a door opens, you walk through it. If you never walk through the door, you will never know what is on the other side.”
For Fletcher, there were many mentors at Graceland. He is grateful for all the people who have helped guide him and helped him reach where he is today, but cautioned that money isn’t everything. There are many types of success, and now is the opportunity for current students to find it. “You are the new,” he said, “In with the new.”
Graceland Enactus member Natalie Sherer said of Fall Burn 2015 and the GU4U program, “It’s a chance to show students how valuable mentorships can be, and help them connect with mentors in their fields.” Freshman Megan Kneib commented that she was excited to fill out the GU4U mentorship information because “it is giving me opportunities.”
Graceland senior Jay Lysinger was instrumental in getting the program off the ground. He and others saw a need for students to find mentors, and for alumni to connect to their alma mater. It offers graduates another way, a very impactful way, to give back.
Lysinger understands the value of a mentor. His own mentor is his father. “He’s the person I call before an interview. He’s in my field so it is relevant to me, but not everyone has that, which is why this is important.” He says the program, “gives people somewhere to start the relationship.”
GU4U is still in the beginning stages, but Lysinger predicts the program should be up and running for the spring semester. Students and alumni interested in taking part in the GU4U mentorship program can send an email to GU4U@sting.graceland.edu, and watch for more information on this program from Graceland University.