Imagine going through one of the most confusing and complicated times of your young adult life. Now imagine going through the same time but with the support of someone who has successfully navigated the same experience. This is exactly what Michele Gianforcaro ’89 has done for the students of the Villanova School of Business. She has made it possible for current students to have the opportunity to connect with alumni for mentoring as they cope with the pressures of deciding on their career path.
Michele knows firsthand the importance of mentoring and how Villanova can benefit from such a program. In 1989, Michele graduated Villanova with a degree in Accounting. She has about 20 years of experience working for corporations such as GlaxoSmithKline, PwC, and Coopers & Lybrand as a CPA with involvement in sales, marketing and operations.
The Villanova School of Business Mentor Program launched in January 2014, during National Mentoring Month, as a pilot program for approximately 100 women undergraduates. The pilot proved to be so successful that students, both women and men, were requesting to be part of it. As a result, the program was expanded to all VSB students. Today, one in every three students of the Class of ’18 has opted into the program!
Utilizing specialized mentoring software, the Mentor Program is designed to match students to alumni with similar interests and experiences, enabling one-on-one relationships between students and professionals. The Program provides a bridge between the classroom and the professional world. Students receive suggestions, guidance and direction from professionals based on real world experience on possible career paths, professional and leadership development and how to network to find the right opportunity.
The Mentor Program highlights the Villanova community and re-engages alumni in an impactful way to “give back” as well as “pay it forward”. Alumni from the Classes of 1980 to 2013 are participating and often volunteer to provide students support and direction that was not available to them. Mentors are active in the Mentor Program in a variety of ways, often serving as ambassadors within their company recruiting other Villanovans to join the Program or as members of the Advisory Board. The 2016-2017 Advisory Board consists of 32 Villanovans from the Classes of 1992 to 2018, 91% of which are women. You can learn more about the Advisory Board here.