Tag: mentor

The St. Louis Small Business Monthly features Cliff Holekamp as one of eight “Marvelous Mentors” in its February issue. Holekamp has mentored and inspired hundreds of students through The Hatchery business plan course and other classes he teaches in his role as Senior Lecturer in Entrepreneurship and Academic Director for Entrepreneurship at Olin. As a partner in the venture capital firm, Cultivation Capital, Holekamp has served as a mentor and investor for some of the region’s most successful startups.

Getting to mentor bright young people was, and is, one of Holekamp’s prime motivations for being a professor. “I see mentoring as the elevation of teaching,” he says. “teaching students the knowledge and skills they will need in their business careers is just the start. The opportunity to mentor students as they apply these lessons to their own life decisions is what makes teaching rewarding.   -Small Business Journal, Link to article.

congrats cliffHolekamp was honored that one of his former MBA students, Ben Burke, now Director of Entrepreneurship at Arch Grants, nominated him for the recognition. Burke tells SBM that he was inspired by Holekamp to return to WashU to teach a social entrepreneurship class where he invites his former mentor and professor as a “guest speaker” in his class.

Moneythink is recruiting new mentors for this semester! Don’t know what Moneythink is? We are an organization dedicated to teaching local St. Louis high school students basic personal financial literacy concepts and mentoring them on life after high school.

We teach topics including:

  • Goals & Budgeting
  • Savings & Investing
  • Banking, Credit, and
  • Entrepreneurship

In local high school classrooms, we teach the Moneythink curriculum through fun activities, pop culture references, and small group exercises. It’s a great way to positively influence local communities and the lives of high school students.

Watch the video above, featuring our very own WashU mentors and local high school students in action to learn more about Moneythink and how financial literacy can change lives.

If you are interested in joining or hearing more about it, send Moneythink a quick email and we can go from there! David Paticoff is Moneythink President this year.

Guest post submitted by Scott Nelson, former President of Moneythink at WashU. You can reach Scott with questions about Moneythink at sbnelson@wustl.edu.

RBC mentor panel

At the St. Louis Regional Business Council’s (RBC) Spring Reception for the Mentor Network Program, a panel of RBC Mentors shared sage advice with students.

RBC mentor network logoKathy Osborn, Executive Director of the RBC, advised the audience to “find a company with a mission you can get behind.”

Debbie Rub, Vice President & General Manager at Boeing, shared Boeing’s vision for the future as the company celebrates its 100th year. “Human flight is the future,” Rub declared.

The panel moderator was John Stupp, President of Stupp Bros. He kicked off the discussion by asking, “What lessons have you learned along the way?” Below are a few of the candid insights panelists provided:

Tom Manenti, Chairman and CEO, MiTek Industries:

  • Show up on time (which Manenti said is actually 15 minutes early).
  • Have organization skills.
  • Have an open mind.

Wendy Henry, Managing Partner, BKD:

  • Love what you do. Be passionate.
  • Nurture and develop relationships.
  • Learn your business, not just your job. Understand how it operates.

Tony Thompson, Chairman and CEO, Kwame Building Group:

  • Don’t accumulate too many enemies at one time.
  • Empathy in a leader is important.
  • Inspect what you expect if you want respect.

Dan Gillian, Vice President, F/A-18 & EA-18 Programs, Boeing Military Aircraft

  • Know your business and do your job first.
  • Believe in the power of yes. Take risks.
  • Manage your luck. Put yourself in the right positions.
  • Be intentional and not prescriptive.

Additional insight and advice from panelists to come!

About the RBC Mentor Network. Every academic year, each of the 14 schools of business and engineering in the Collaboration recommends students, based on academic performance and interest in the St. Louis business community, to participate in the RBC Mentor Network. These students are then individually paired with a CEO or top executive of an RBC company to receive practical, “real world” knowledge and post-graduate opportunities.

In the full-time MBA program at Olin, it’s easy to be intimidated by your peers. Students come from a wide array of backgrounds and experiences, and there’s not a single person here who didn’t excel in whatever they were doing prior to school. Everyone is remarkably humble about their achievements, so often it takes some time before you’ll learn exactly how accomplished your classmates are.

Such was the case when I attended a panel set up by one of my core team members, Jon Slack (MBA ’17), who is also a ten year veteran of the Army. Jon and six other WashU MBA and JD candidates arranged to sit down with about 20 cadets from the local Army ROTC Gateway Battalion; a good chunk of these college juniors and seniors from nine schools in the St. Louis area had just received their orders for where they’d be stationed next year, and in what branch of the Army, and my veteran and active-duty classmates were on hand to pass on advice about what it’s like to be an officer in the Army at a young age, to share stories of their own experiences, and to speak about success after leaving the Army.

Veteran and Active Duty members of the Olin Business School and the Washington University School of Law share their experiences as young officers with junior and senior college students from the 9 member schools of the Gateway ROTC Battalion.

Veteran and Active Duty members of the Olin Business School and the Washington University School of Law share their experiences as young officers with junior and senior college students from the 9 member schools of the Gateway ROTC Battalion.

The event kicked off with one panelist sharing how he became immediately responsible for a unit of over forty men, and as more of my MBA classmates shared their stories, I was continually struck by how much responsibility each was given at a young age, and how much freedom they were given in how they went about fulfilling their duties. Although the stories were very different, as the panelists came from varied roles and divisions, there was much similarity in the approaches each took to tackling the challenges of being a new leader.

Danny Henry (MBA ‘17) advised cadets to “be quiet, listen, ask questions, and start to identify who has strengths, what they are, and how to leverage them.” All the panelists urged cadets to have respect for the experience of their NCOs, and to learn from them as much as possible.

David Marold (JD ‘16) framed it as a people business: “if you invest in building relationships, your authority is already there and built into that.”

Charlie Hon, (MBA ’16), shared the benefits of empowering Soldiers to take ownership of their projects, and of recognizing soldiers for their successes, no matter how small.

Dan Vitale (MBA ‘17) reminded cadets that “you’re young, but you know what right looks like,” and encouraged them to “ask dumb questions, because everyone assumes you know nothing anyway, but all that changes pretty quick. By the time you’re a first lieutenant, everyone will think you know everything.”

James Jacobs (MBA ‘17) extolled the virtues of being in shape, explaining how an easy way to immediately command respect from subordinates was to be able to outrun them in PT. He also encouraged cadets to learn to prioritize, “you’ll never get everything done, so figure out what has to be done, what should be done, and what would be nice to be done. And never try to cover up ‘has to be done’ with ‘nice to be done,’ it never works!”

Nearly every single piece of advice was equally applicable to the business world; near the end, I found myself scrawling down notes not for this blog piece, but for my own edification.

The anecdotes my MBA classmates relayed were often ones where they’d made mistakes, or learned lessons the hard way. Their stories and advice illuminated a particularly salient point made by Tony Nuber (MBA ’17): “leadership is a process, not a state of being,” and each cadet had the ability to be a good leader if they brought confidence, determination, and empathy to their role.

It was exciting to see the incredibly accomplished members of the MBA and JD classes interacting with the equally talented cadets of the Gateway Battalion, and to watch one generation of leaders give back to the next.


As first year MBA students at Olin, my classmates and I are forging the relationships that will form the foundation for our professional networks. We are meeting each other, second years, professors, and professionals in the community.

Another exciting opportunity that we can take advantage of is the Industry Insider Mentor Program. In this program, students are matched with Olin Alumni mentors in order to complement the curriculum with industry exposure.

Second years who participated last year were assigned mentors who offered valuable insights. Niki McKinney, who is targeting brand management positions in CPG firms says of her mentor who works in marketing at Nestle Purina, “I absolutely loved getting to know my mentor last year. He was a great asset for me to get to know my target industry, job function, and local opportunities. We still keep in touch now that I am a 2nd year, and he has been instrumental in connecting me with folks at Purina and elsewhere. I’m excited to continue learning from his experiences throughout my professional career!”

Other second years developed relationships with alums in diverse geographies, industries, and functions, such as private equity or procurement in the energy industry. Anton Gimmel says his mentor helped him “cut through the opacity of breaking into private equity”.

Mihika Baruah, who worked with the Director of Procurement for a natural gas company, sets a great example of how the student drives the relationship through consistent, professional communication: ” I connected with my mentor before my summer internship and received some valuable advice from her.”

To apply, follow the link in Susan Evans’ email and send her a copy of your resume at susan.evans@wustl.edu.

Take advantage of this great opportunity by October 11, 2013!

Lauren Colling, MHA/MBA ’08(pictured above), and her husband Arik Frankel, MBA ’08, are enthusiastic members of the Olin Industry Insider Mentoring Program. Both credit the mentors they’ve had for important career guidance and for inspiring them to become mentors in this video: