January is National Mentoring Month, a time to celebrate the power of investing in tomorrow’s leaders and show gratitude to those who have invested in us.
We are kicking off the month by sharing a conversation with Jamie Sholem — Partner at TPG, ANY’s Governing Board Chair, and Mentor Coach alumnus! Jamie has been with the organization since our beginning, and we were eager to hear about his experiences with mentorship.
Tell us about your history with ANY. What about ANY’s mission resonated with you?
In 2009, I was working at Goldman Sachs on the same floor as Robert Reffkin. He came by my desk one day to tell me about an organization that he was starting that he wanted me to be a part of. The proposed mission to support first-generation college students really resonated with me, as I believe that we should all be doing our part to “pay it forward” for all of the mentorship and good fortune we have received on our own professional journeys. I said yes almost immediately and signed up as both an initial member of the Young Leadership Board (YLB), as well as a Mentor Coach in the first class of 2010. After one year, I moved over from the YLB to the Governing Board, where I have served for roughly 9 years, including as Vice Chair and in my current role as Board Chair. And as a side note, my then-girlfriend (now wife!) became a Mentor Coach in 2011 in the same class as Marianna Tu, our current CEO!
Tell us about your experience as a Mentor Coach. What have been some of your most memorable ANY moments?
Being a Mentor Coach was a huge time commitment, and I constantly appreciate that when I think about the dedication of our hundreds of Mentor Coaches. It was also incredibly rewarding. The excitement around the cause was very palpable even from the beginning. I made numerous friends throughout the process, and also got to impact the lives of numerous Fellows, which was a fantastic experience. My most memorable moments from the early days of ANY are 1) the multi-hour debates we used to have as a Governing Board when we were still in our infancy and learning from our many mistakes, and 2) the emotional Public & Private Victories at the end of 2010 class workshops that would regularly remind me of the dramatic impact that we were having on Fellows’ lives, and why all of the effort was so worth it!
What does mentorship mean to you?
At its core, I think receiving mentorship is vital to both personal and professional success. Providing that mentorship is part of living according to the Golden Rule – giving others the guidance you would have strived for when you were once in their shoes.
As Board Chair, what are you excited about when you consider ANY’s future?
I’m most excited about 1) empowering others within the organization to push themselves and do great work, and 2) the interconnected web of America Needs You’s influence across our constituents that only grows with each passing year as we graduate more alumni and grow the program.
Is there anything you want to say to the ANY community?
ANY is not a top-down organization with respect to leadership. Its foundations are built on one-on-one mentorship, relationships and motivated individuals using their personal influence to advocate for the ANY mission. Each one of you can truly make a difference for ANY, and we are nothing without your time and effort. So thank you!
Share your own mentorship story with us! Post on social media using #IAmAMentor and tag us @AmericaNeedsYou.
Want to become a mentor? Complete a short survey for an invitation to visit a workshop.