Jessica Andrade '19 VSB and Lorraine LoPresti '86 VSB

Jessica Andrade '19 VSB and Lorraine LoPresti '86 VSB

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

“I loved my experience as a college student at Villanova, and the excellent education I received as an accounting major has enabled me to enjoy a diverse and successful career over the past 30 years. We did not have a mentor program at that time, but I was fortunate to have an accounting professor, Dr. Monahan, who provided guidance to help me make some of the most important career choices while I was in college and even after. At this point in my life and career, I wanted to “give back” to VSB and, for me, working directly with a student in the VSB Mentor program was how I hoped to make a difference.” – Lorraine

“As soon as I heard about the VSB Mentor Program, joining it seemed like a no-brainer. I had just declared my accounting major and was in a perfect position to start exploring career options in that field. Growing up as a student-athlete, I know how crucial coaches and other mentors can be for personal growth and development. I was very excited to be able to receive that same support from a career and academic standpoint and expand my connections within the Villanova community.” - Jessica  

2. How has your experience compared to your expectation?

“I cannot even begin to express how amazing the experience of serving as Jessica’s mentor has been!  Most of all, I am impressed with her drive and commitment to schoolwork and athletics, as well as her desire to build her life upon the values shaping her Villanova experience, to help others and to make a difference in the world. We found from the very first conversation that we have much in common, in terms of our goals, ambition and personality. Jessica has even taken classes with some of the same professors I had at VSB! I was so proud to meet Jessica after her Big Four Accounting firm internship interview and learn that she would be hired to work there next summer…in the very same office where I started my career in public accounting! While I had hoped to make a difference in the life of a VSB student by joining the Mentor Program, I could never have imagined how much I would receive in return by sharing this experience with Jessica. Her friendship is one that I treasure!” – Lorraine

“My experience has far exceeded my expectations of joining this program. I will never forget our first phone call where we instantly clicked and spoke for over an hour getting to know each other. Since then, she has helped prepare me for numerous interviews with the Big Four firms, which ultimately led to many externship opportunities as well as my upcoming summer internship with KPMG. Looking back, that spring semester of preparing and learning from Lorraine was probably one of the most important times in my life in terms of personal and professional development. We have also been fortunate enough to go to Villanova basketball games, meet for dinner, and participate in service trips together. Lorraine has proven to be an invaluable resource for me in all things Villanova. I never expected to get a best friend out of the deal, but I am very grateful for what our professional relationship has turned into and for all she has done for me.” - Jessica

3. What makes your relationship a successful one?

“Jessica and I have come to know each other personally as well as having a structured mentor/mentee relationship. Building trust and getting to know Jessica helps me to provide the guidance she needs…and ensures the advice I give is what is best for HER. We discuss goals Jessica would like to accomplish, but we also take the time to meet for dinner or coffee, where we don’t talk about school and instead chat as friends and colleagues. Jessica did not hesitate to ask me for help in preparing for interviews and came to me prepared to discuss her approach and a list of questions. We keep in touch on a regular basis, in spite of both our hectic schedules, and we use email, text messages, phone calls and in-person visits to keep communication flowing.” – Lorraine

“I think what makes our relationship so successful is our shared passion for helping others and working hard. As with anything in life, we’ve gotten out of our relationship, what we’ve put into it. Our ability to stay in touch despite our busy schedules and keep an open line of communication has really helped us make each other and our relationship a priority. In addition, getting to know each other beyond a surface level has helped build our relationship to what it is today. We have a ton in common and always have a good time when we’re together.” - Jessica

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

“At the end of the day, Jessica has shown me that the same, wonderful spirit that inspired me during my Villanova experience is still very much alive in Jessica and the students in VSB!  Jessica’s enthusiasm, dedication and great sense of humor are truly an inspiration to me. Sharing in Jessica’s dreams and goals for her future has brought me back to remember those values and dreams I developed when I attended Villanova.  It is easy to get lost in the day-to-day tasks and responsibilities of a challenging career.  My mentoring experience with Jessica has reminded me to not lose sight of what I value most and to make that part of my every day experience…at work and in life.” – Lorraine

“The best part about having a mentor is knowing I have someone in my corner supporting me no matter what. Lorraine is very reliable and has had an answer, or gotten me an answer, to every question I’ve had. She has made me feel more confident as a VSB student and more excited and hopeful about my future in accounting that I could have imagined. It’s also been so interesting to hear about all her personal work experiences. I love picking her brain and I always leave a conversation with her having learned something new. It’s great having someone who I feel comfortable with and respect so much at my disposal. You really can’t put a price on that.” - Jessica

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

“Take the time to get to know each other personally and create a balance in your mentor sessions that is both structured and informal. Staying in touch regularly helps to keep communication lines open, so that the mentee is comfortable reaching out when he or she would like to ask for assistance. Not all sessions need to be in person; even an email or text exchange makes a difference.” – Lorraine

“The best advice I could give to other pairs in the Program is to focus on what they want out of the relationship and to communicate their objectives on a consistent basis. Staying in touch - and on the same page - with each other really helps build a relationship. Communication and asking questions from both sides are irreplaceable skills to have in any sort of professional relationship.” - Jessica