Love Series: Elena Shomos, Mentor

At JMB Award, we're fostering a community of love and support that lasts beyond a single day. We asked members of our community to share why they love JMB Award. These are their stories. 

Photo: Art + Life Photography

What I love about being a JMB Award mentor is empowering my mentee to be the strongest, most confident, and bravest “girl with grit” she can, using my knowledge and past experiences as a guide.

I believe everyone needs someone who is always available to be encouraging, to help you look at personal, academic, and professional situations from new perspectives, and to provide ideas for creative solutions to some of life’s biggest challenges. I love watching my mentee become increasingly confident in the way she problem solves and in the decisions she makes as time goes by.

As a mentor, I know I don’t have all the answers—we couldn’t have been more different in our academic interests and paths in high school and undergrad. But so much of what I have been able to do over the last 10 or so years since graduating high school has been thanks to women who led by example and took time to mentor me in some capacity, who listened to my ideas and provided feedback, and who cheered me on as I pursued my goals. It’s an amazing experience to be able to pay it forward.

On a related note, I love the way that the JMB Award community is a family to all who belong. I am certain that my mentee’s senior year would have been dramatically different without several of the local connections she was able to make because of this outstanding group of women. When I was in high school, we weren’t having conversations about the importance of networking. Now, we can’t thrive without a network. The JMB Award community offers our mentees an amazing springboard to grow, and, as JMB founder Fran puts it, to develop their own “personal board of directors.”

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