Chiayu “Jackie” Yuan '20 VSB and Aminah Fawad '15 VSB

Chiayu Yuan '20 VSB and Aminah Fawad '15 VSB

1.     What inspired you to join the VSB Mentor Program?    

“Villanova is known to have a strong alumni network, so this program was perfect for me to meet someone that was once in my shoes as a VSB student. I’ve always wanted to establish a long-term relationship with someone who can help me develop professionally. Instead of becoming another name within my network, I wanted to know my mentor on a personal level.” – Jackie

“As a Villanova student, I had the opportunity to be developed by great mentors and be mentors to others. These experiences proved to be exceptionally valuable over the course of my four years, helping me make career and life decisions while developing some life-long relationships. I knew that being a part of the VSB Mentor Program would allow me to continue on this path in a meaningful way.” - Aminah

2.     How has your experience compared to your expectation?

“My experience has far exceeded my expectation. I am not the most outgoing person, so I feel a need to be mentally prepared before asking questions. Because Aminah is very understanding and patient, I have been able to gradually step out of my comfort zone. It’s great to have someone that provides honest opinions from a different perspective when discussing my short-term and long-term career plans. Aminah also offered to review my resume and prep interviews with me. I’m very thankful for everything she has done for me as a mentor.” – Jackie

“Far exceeded! When I first met Jackie, I could not imagine being where we are today. Not only has Jackie made incredible strides in her career (landing a Spring Co-Op AND a full-time offer at Johnson & Johnson!), our relationship has really blossomed, and I look forward to seeing that continue in years to come. While all of Jackie’s success is attributed to her hard work and drive, it is incredibly rewarding as a mentor to see her grow.” - Aminah

3.     What makes your relationship a successful one?    

“Communication and understanding are very important. Aminah and I try to schedule a catch-up call every 4-6 weeks, and we have always been very considerate of each other’s time when something comes up last minute.” – Jackie

“I think communication is key. For me, working full-time and traveling 4 days a week most weeks can be a handful. For Jackie, being a full-time student and then working full time can be a handful too! Having an open line of communication with Jackie really has helped us have meaningful time together, even if that mean’s rescheduling our calls to a different day to make sure we are both present for the conversations we need to have, even if it just catching up.” – Aminah

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

“The best part about having a mentor is knowing that someone is always there to support you and celebrate your success with you. I see Aminah as the person who has witnessed my growth from sophomore year to senior year. Without Aminah’s support, I wouldn’t be where I am today.” – Jackie

“The best part about having a mentee is that warm fuzzy feeling (yes, I said it) when you see your mentee reach his/her goals. Sometimes it’s making a decision about classes, studying for a big exam, landing an interview, or even having a tough conversation – seeing a mentee reach and even exceed goals like this really make my day.”- Aminah

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

“I find it helpful to get to know your mentor outside of the traditional mentor/mentee relationship. The friendship acts as a base for proper communication and understanding. Schedules can sometimes get hectic for both sides, but it’s important to make an effort to keep each other updated and reschedule when necessary.” – Jackie

“Although it can be difficult, I think meeting in person really helps break down barriers. Once you know each other a little better, it is easier to have difficult conversations and grow more as a mentor/mentee pair.” - Aminah