A perfect match
Mentoring relationship proves beneficial in both directions.
Venice Herring is the kind of mentor every young professional wants in her corner when navigating major life and career decisions. Brina Maydock knows the benefits of her guidance personally.
Maydock ’13 is a member of the current Young Alumni Academy class and was paired with Herring ’06 MLHR in the fall. They are among hundreds of Buckeyes who are connected in mentoring relationships through The Ohio State University Alumni Association.
Herring’s 30-year career in human resources would make her a sought-after advisor for anyone, but she’s especially right for Maydock, who works as a human resources generalist for L Brands.
“Venice is a great sounding board,” Maydock says. “I’m grateful to have someone who understands what I do.”
Herring, who is the director of human resources at Quantum Health, has been a mentor for many years. Since earning her master’s from Fisher College of Business as a mid-career professional, she has worked with Ohio State graduate students and alumni. While her experience is impressive, it’s her warmth and sincerity that transform mentees into lifelong friends.
“I love being a mentor, because I can seed into people and help mold their careers,” Herring says. “I’ve tried to be a nurturing figure. I’ve offered both career and personal advice, and I’m making lifelong connections.”
Herring and Maydock meet monthly for coffee, breakfast or dinner — whichever they’re able to fit into their schedules. No matter how busy they are, their chats are a priority.
Maydock turns to Herring for personal advice and guidance with career decisions, such as the time she got a job offer on the West Coast, where she hopes to live one day. She decided the timing wasn’t right and passed on the offer, in part because of her involvement with Ohio State and Herring. “The opportunity to be a part of the Young Alumni Academy and get paired with a mentor you just click with makes decisions like that difficult.”
A former first-generation college student, Maydock also graduated from Fisher. Without scholarships and her involvement in the university’s Young Scholars Program, she says she would not have been able to earn her degree. The road wasn’t easy.
“I took classes for every major before setting a goal to get into Fisher,” she says.
She acknowledges that she was intimidated and wasn’t sure she could do it. But hard work is a guiding principle for Maydock, and she shares the value of it with her own mentees.
“Put forth 10 percent more effort,” she says, “and it will help you exponentially.”
Yes, this mentee has mentees of her own. Because, as it is for Herring, paying forward is a way of life.
“Those still in school don’t always understand the value of mentorship,” Maydock says. “I know I didn’t at the time. But I got involved, even if it would make me uncomfortable. At this stage in my career, I’m fortunate I have Venice as a sounding board and voice of reason. We have a rich dialogue, partly because she has a wealth of knowledge and partly because she’s just a really interesting person.”
Herring is equally grateful for their relationship, and she urges others to give mentoring a try.
“If you have ever thought about becoming a mentor, do it!” she says. “You can’t imagine how much satisfaction comes from helping others succeed.”
Your mentoring options
Feeling inspired to become a mentor or mentee? The alumni association offers three ways to get involved, so you can choose the option that fits your schedule and career goals. Some Ohio State colleges and departments also offer formal or informal mentoring; consider contacting your college’s career services office and offering your assistance, or visit volunteer.osu.edu.
The Alumnifire virtual networking community connects Buckeyes from around the world and in multiple industries. It’s a bit like LinkedIn — if LinkedIn were populated by thousands of Buckeyes eager to help fellow alumni succeed. In addition to potential mentors and mentees, you’ll find thousands of offers for informational interviews, job shadowing, career advice and even job opportunities.
How to join: Visit osu.alumnifire.com and create an account with your Ohio State email address or your Facebook or LinkedIn account.
Young Alumni Academy
This 10-month, application-only program is open to Ohio State graduates of the last 10 years. The program is perfect for alumni seeking an in-person experience that combines workshops and networking opportunities. Workshop topics can vary by year, but have included personal brand, work-life balance and building leadership skills. Ten monthly sessions are held at Longaberger Alumni House from September through June, and informal networking is offered via events that include current and past participants. Academy members are matched with mentors based on career interests and goals.
Learn more: Visit go.osu.edu/YoungAlumniAcademy.
Buckeye Pen Pals
The Buckeye Pen Pals program connects students with alumni mentors around the country. Based on a short registration survey and students’ career interests and major, program administrators match students and mentors. Participants stay in contact by email, but decide on their own how frequently they correspond and on what topics.
Get involved: Visit go.osu.edu/BuckeyePenPalMentor to take a short survey that will help determine the right match for you.