Mentors change lives every day. Meet Travis, a Stein Fellow and Achievers For Life mentor who’s helping a middle school student stay on track for graduation.
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What is your professional background? Currently, I am working with Northwestern Mutual. I’m a financial advisor with them and been there about four years now. And I feel that I serve our community in that capacity, too, helping people have a better financial future.
Why do you mentor? It’s a hands-on approach and I think mentors shape people. They shape communities. It’s a great way to help the trajectory of Jacksonville, the state, the country, the world be better. So, that’s why I got involved.
What has your mentee taught you? They listen even when you don’t think they’re listening. And they do know when you’re not here. So, there have been a couple times when I missed and he definitely brought that to my attention. And so, I’ve learned that it’s no matter how they maybe nonchalant or may not seem like they’re paying attention or may not want you to be here sometimes they do want you here and they want that relationship. They want that guidance.
Tell us one of the myths you’ve encountered about mentoring. I don’t know how to talk to students, is a big one. And I say, “you don’t have to talk to just listen. Then your listening skills will help them more than your talking skills.” And sometimes students just need someone to listen to them. And I think people have more experience than they think. They have life experiences in the professional world, as a parent, as a father, as a husband. Those experiences are experiences you can share with a student.
What about the time commitment? Not as much time as people think. It’s one lunch break a week, maybe. Or one every other week, but just the consistency of just doing it, so, if you don’t have the time sometimes you have to take it. I think it’s important for people to take that time if they feel like they can make them time.
I am Travis Williams, a native of Jacksonville. I’m a professional, I’m a Stein Fellow, and I’m a mentor.