Gabrielle Daigneault ’18 VSB and Patti O’Shea ’87 VLS

Gabrielle Daigneault ’18 VSB and Patti O’Shea ’87 VLS

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

I decided to join the VSB mentor program because I thought it would be a good place to start building connections. I was a sophomore, just figuring out that I wanted to be an accounting major. Out of the friends I had made so far at Villanova, no else had committed to studying accounting. I wanted to meet with someone who could relate to me and help me go through the process.” -Gabby

“I had recently retired from an exciting and rewarding career as a tax professional. I thought back to my college days and recalled the uncertainty and nervousness of finding my first job. I was nervous that I might not have enough to offer Gabby since I was out of the market, but thought it would be rewarding to try to help someone else by giving them a perspective 40 years after college, with all the ups and downs behind me!” –Patti

2.     How has your experience compared to your expectation?

This experience exceeded all of my expectations. Not only did I get a mentor out of the process, but a friend as well. I heard some stories from my friends about how they had lost contact with their mentors. Looking back, I am so glad this did not happen in my mentor-mentee relationship.” -Gabby

“The experience was even more rewarding that I had hoped. Gabby and I got along well from the beginning. She was curious and shared her thoughts and wishes. I was able to introduce her to people who gave her advice on job fairs and things to consider. We met every two months and even talked on the phone before her job fairs or after her interviews. We reviewed her resume together and talked about etiquette for job interviews. She appreciated what I had to say and I appreciated her questions and feedback.” -Patti

3.     What makes your relationship a successful one?    

I believe the relationship that Patti and I have is successful because we aim to contact each other at least once a month. Whether it’s through email, text or in person, we always try to find a way to check in. Also, we are both aware that life can get hectic. Sometimes, other things take priority, like exams, vacations, weddings; the list goes on and on. However, this is not an excuse to give up. The dinners we had always made up for the time we hadn’t seen each other, and it just gave us more to talk about. I believe our constant commitment to maintaining this relationship for the past two years is what made it so successful.” -Gabby

“We kept in touch by text, email or phone and also met for dinner every few months. Gabby enjoyed getting off campus and it helped us get to know each other on a personal basis. She is a swimmer and I am an equestrian so we discussed our sports. Plus, we became friends on Facebook so we got to informally meet each other's families.” -Patti

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

“The best part about having a mentor is knowing that there is someone who cares. Every time I had an interview, or a career fair to attend, Patti would send me words of encouragement, tips, and would ask about the outcome afterwards. Having someone who is invested in your professional life feels fantastic.” -Gabby

"The best part of mentoring is to have the opportunity to work with the young people.  I enjoyed learning how the finance program at Villanova has evolved since I was in college. The idea of the University offering a professional mentor/mentee program is a perfect way to prepare the students for their future!" -Patti

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

I recommend setting aside time once a month to meet up. Having that face-to-face contact really helps build a relationship. Patti and I had the ritual of going to Chili’s at least once every two months and I always looked forward to this. My advice would be to put effort into forming a relationship with your mentee, because as a senior now, I am happy ‘sophomore me’ decided to go through the process.” -Gabby

“I believe the fact that we had regular communication, even if by phone or text, was beneficial. That way I could get a feel for how Gabby was feeling about something and give her encouragement or advice on how to deal with it. Gabby knew she could reach out to me whenever she wanted and I would send a quick text if we had not gotten together in a while.”


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

“Gabby is a wonderful, well-rounded young woman. She has a warm, friendly demeanor which will help her work well with others. She is dedicated; she is a swimmer, studied accounting and held a part-time job. Gabby knows how to manage her time between work and play, which is important in balancing work and personal life. Gabby decided to go to graduate school at Villanova so we have plans to keep in touch this year while she is still on campus.” -Patti

7.     Gabby – what are your future plans?

“After graduation, I will be going home for the summer and starting the Masters in Accounting with Data Analytics program at Villanova University in the fall.” -Gabby