Caitlin Welsh VSB ’19 and Erin Guadagno VSB ’07

Caitlin-Welsh-and-Erin-Guadagno-VSB-Mentor-Program-Success-Story

1. What inspired you to join the VSB mentor program?    

“I was inspired to join because I know the true value of having a mentor. I did not have a formal one while I was at ‘Nova and would have benefitted from it. However, I have been very lucky in my career to find formal and informal mentors to help me along my journey.” - Erin

“I attended the information session out of curiosity because I didn’t know that much about the program. Once I learned more, I knew it would be helpful in terms of networking and securing an internship.” - Caitlin

2. How has your experience compared to your expectation?

“I tried to not have any expectations for the program, good or bad. From what I’ve learned, mentor relationships need to develop as naturally as possible for success.  Fortunately, I have really enjoyed being Caitie’s mentor and hope she feels the same way.  I’m glad I can share the lessons I’ve learned and help guide her through her college and real-world experiences.” - Erin

“When the mentor program first started recruiting, I was uncertain I’d get anything out of it. I have always been independent, and I didn’t think I would need someone else’s help. After attending the information session, I decided to give it a try. When filling out the questionnaire, I realized how little I knew about what I wanted to do after graduation. I started writing down all these questions I had for my future mentor. After we were connected, Erin helped me think through some of my goals and put them into words. She taught me more about what it means to be in financial services, and that there are other options for finance majors. Erin has even helped in my internship search and prepared me for my interviews. I don’t think I would be in the place I am goal- and career-wise if it weren’t for my mentor.” - Caitlin

3. What makes your relationship a successful one?    

“We set expectations at the start of our relationship that there wouldn’t really be expectations. We check in with each other from time to time and when needed, we set time aside to have a call and really talk about what’s going on. We were also able to meet when I made a recruiting trip to campus for work and it was great to catch up in-person.” - Erin

“The first time we ever spoke on the phone, I remember frantically telling Erin how I have no idea what I want to be when I grow up. She knew exactly what to say. She told me her story, where she started out, and where she is now. When I told her I was nervous for an interview, she called and helped me prepare, and texted me much needed words of encouragement the hour before. I think what makes our relationship so successful is this openness. I’ve learned that there’s no way for me to get everything out of this mentorship unless I am myself with Erin, and she is accurate and honest in her advice back to me.” - Caitlin

4. What has been the best part about having a mentor/mentee?    

“I’ve really enjoyed being able to help Caitie navigate the internship application and interviewing process. It can be so overwhelming to deal with. I hope I’ve been able to impart some of the wisdom I’ve gained in the 10+ years I’ve been out of school.” - Erin

“At the end of last semester, I was deciding between offers from two companies for summer internships. In my head I had an idea of what I wanted to do, and my family and friends were all telling me to go with this one company. There was a voice in the back of my head, though, telling me I was just choosing this place because my parents told me to. I needed someone to talk to, run through pros and cons with, to reassure me that this was the right choice. I immediately texted Erin, asking her if she had a minute to talk. It was the middle of her work day, and I didn’t expect her to be able to talk right away. A few minutes later she called. I could tell she was having a busy day at work, but she made the time to talk to me and make sure that I never felt lost. Erin has been a consistent resource for me, not only in terms of general career and interview advice, but she’s also been the most supportive and encouraging role model I could have asked for in my college career.” - Caitlin

5. Do you have a best practice to share with other pairs in the program?

“Do what works best for you both. Have a conversation when the relationship starts and figure out what you’re both looking for in the mentor/mentee pairing. Let the relationship develop as naturally as it can.” - Erin

“It’s really important to get to know one another at the beginning. The more you know about your mentor, the more you’ll know what kind of questions to ask them. The more they know about you, the better equipped they will be to answer these questions. That’s why being honest is a necessity.” - Caitlin

6. Erin – feel free to share any observations you have experienced working with Caitlin since the beginning of your relationship.

“I have really loved seeing Caitie grow over the course of the year and I am so incredibly excited that she was able to get an internship that she’s excited about. She has gained confidence in herself and I can’t wait to see what the future holds for her!” - Erin