Executive Career Mentor Partnership Endures Beyond Graduation
Ever since Krystyna Marini ’12 was a young girl, she knew that she wanted to be a lawyer. Although she was clear about her goal, she had little information on the realities of what law school would be like and did not have any mentors to guide her.
Finally, at PC, she discovered the Executive Career Mentor Program.
The program provides an opportunity for students to work one-on-one with an executive — often a PC alumnus — who has succeeded in the business world. The initiative typically targets a student’s final two years, but in Marini’s case, it is enduring after college.
After being accepted into the mentor program in 2010, Marini, an English major in the Business Studies Program, was partnered with Caroline M. Gilroy, Esq. ’83, then general counsel at AAA Southern New England and now general counsel at Edible Arrangements International in Wallingford, Conn. Nearly three years later, the relationship is still thriving.
During the past winter break, Marini worked with Gilroy as the first law school student intern in the legal department of Edible Arrangements. Due to the experience gained during her internship, Marini was recently hired to work this summer on a similar law project for fashion designer Michael Kors in New York City.
Marini feels that part of the reason their relationship is so successful is that Gilroy challenged her to transform and question what she wanted out of life, much like her alma mater did.
“Providence College prepared me well for this next chapter,” said Marini. “Although I have graduated, Carrie’s excellence as a mentor is evident in all of the extra effort she makes to ensure that I continue to benefit from our relationship,” said Marini.
“My internship is the most recent example of this. I gained practical experience and was able to see just how great of an attorney she is.”
Marini is also quick to credit Gilroy for helping shape her decision to attend Boston University Law School.
“I am the first person in my family to go to law school. Carrie stepped in to help answer all my questions and offer advice based on her experiences,” said Marini. “She not only gave her opinion as to which school she thought would be the best fit for me, but she also drove me to Boston to make second visits to Boston College and Boston University.”
“Krystyna and I discussed her long- and short-term goals and decided that BU would provide her with the best opportunities,” added Gilroy. “She showed remarkable courage, determination, and maturity when she made her decision, considering another school had offered her a tuition scholarship.”
For Gilroy, the partnership continues to be mutually rewarding, and she expects it to remain that way for a long time.
“Our relationship has survived graduation and is ongoing,” said Gilroy. “Krystyna has taken full advantage of the program and has a bright future. I am thrilled to still be working with her. I hope our relationship inspires other mentors to go the extra mile in order to open doors for these fantastic students.”
Marini is grateful for the experience the program has provided her and looks forward to the day when she can return the favor.
“Once I graduate from law school, I’d appreciate the chance to help a Providence College student in the same way,” said Marini.
The benefits of collaboration
Launched in the fall of 2006 as the Providence College President’s Council Executive Mentor Program (PC Advantage), it has paired more than 100 students with 60 mentors, representing companies and non-profits such as Raytheon, BankNewport, Delta Dental, Cushman & Wakefield, Fidelity Investments, and Women & Infants Hospital.
After an intense selection process, students are matched with a mentor based on their career interests and a personal interview. There are currently 24 pairs in the program — 12 seniors and 12 juniors. Mentors commit to providing career counseling, job shadowing, and guidance over a two-year relationship.
The benefits of the collaboration are not one-sided, said Stacey Moulton, associate director for career education in the PC Career Education Center, and overseer of the program. The program can be equally rewarding for the mentor as well as the mentee. Through the exchange, “both participants will increase their knowledge, develop skills, and grow together.”
Current student gains competitive edge
Kaley M. Benson ’13 (Duxbury, Mass.) is in the final semester of her partnership with mentor Megan Leitch, senior marketing manager at Fidelity Investments. She encourages students to join the program and cites the potential to establish lifelong relationships and gain a competitive edge as key reasons why.
“This mentorship has given me the confidence to step out into the real world,” said Benson. “It has provided me with knowledge and guidance that isn’t available in an academic setting.”
— John Larson
Read more about what's happening at the College at PC News.