Sharing Guidance and Wisdom as a Mentor
Susan J. Farese, MSN, RN, SJF Communications
I am pleased to be a Mentor for my 2nd year in San Diego State University‘s ‘Aztec Mentor Program‘ (AMP). This year I have two Professional Studies and Fine Arts (PSFA) Communications students for both semesters. Last year I mentored one Senior (Communications) and one Junior (Public Health) student during the Fall, 2016 semester and three graduating senior mentees (Communications, Health Communications and Finance/Entrepreneurship) for the Spring, 2017 semester. The Communications student was my mentee for the entire year.
Here are two links from recent feature articles by Erik Good, about my experiences in the SDSU Aztec Mentor Program: http://newscenter.sdsu.edu/sdsu_newscenter/news_story.aspx?sid=76775 and https://amp.sdsu.edu/pages/2962?src=tab
I believe in mentoring as well as being mentored!
Time has certainly flown since I was introduced to my own first ‘mentor’. I distinctly remember the time (after working about a year or so) as a newly graduated Ensign in the Navy Nurse Corps in 1978 in San Diego. Needless to say…I was stressed out with what we now call ‘burnout’ (which was not even a term used then) in my very first job after graduating college! As a staff/charge nurse on the open bay male general medicine floor, I endured grueling rotating shifts and dealt with serious illnesses and on several occasions deaths of active duty, dependent and/or retired males at my young age. I suppose I had a certain look of ‘being overwhelmed’ one day. Upon rounds to the unit, my supervisor said to me “By the end of the day, I want to know how much leave (vacation) you’re taking and where you want to work when you return”. I stared at her in disbelief for a few seconds, thought about it, planned that leave and afterwards transferred to Cardiothoracic Surgery Step Down unit. That job switch and my Supervisor’s insight, caring and seriously ‘looking out for me’ changed my professional life. I was then able to navigate my career by being in control. Plus, I gained respect for having a Mentor and have learned immensely from many of them over the years!
Flash forward to 38 years later! That Mentor ultimately inspired me to take control of my professional career as a nurse, actor, author, writer, consultant & entrepreneur. I have also had several Mentors in my life since then!
My diversified career has been quite interesting and evolving over the past ‘almost’ 40 years. Besides clinical, management/administrative, education/staff development roles in Nursing during time as a Military Nurse (U.S. Navy – 3 years and Army Nurse Corps-9 years, attaining the rank of Major), I also worked in medical research. My masters degree is in adult primary health which prepared me as a Nurse Practitioner/Clinical Nurse Specialist. As an entrepreneur I have provided public speaking, continuing education, legal nurse consulting, public relations, marketing, acting and coaching.
During Fall, 2016, as a parent of an SDSU Freshman, I received an email from the Office of New Student and Parent Programs, Career Services and the Office of Alumni Engagement Career Services, inquiring if I would be interested in being a Mentor in the AMP. I quickly made the decision to embark on this journey (completed my AMP profile which asked for education, career positions and so on) and have enjoyed my time in this mutually fulfilling program. Since then I was interviewed by Diane Marin (SDSU Alumni and Career Development and Administrator of AMP), and Eric Good, (Public Affairs Communication Specialist, SDSU) with article links above. I have been fortunate to be connected to our daughter’s campus in such a unique way, plus was able to give back – and hopefully enrich and guide the students towards success in their futures, as students and as they enter into the working world.
How does it all work?
First of all, each student that selects me as their Mentor presents different personalities, majors, goals and challenges. I am a proponent of meeting in person on campus for our sessions, usually an hour long, several times a month. We review resumes and Linked In profiles. We discuss the importance of networking in their prospective fields. I prep them on the common sense and procedure of attending career fairs. We research possible graduate degree programs. We explore employment options with job searches and discuss negotiating salaries, raises etc. much more during the semester(s). I also provide emotional support and guidance for them throughout the semester and especially during their final “stressful” Spring semester nearing graduation (and they prevail)!
It is thoroughly enriching for me as well. My experience in Nursing, PR/Marketing/ Communications and the Arts enabled me to feel confident as a role model for them and their enthusiasm, diligence and commitment persisted!
I wish them all well!
Here are some more articles about the Aztec Mentorship Program:
A photo with my two Mentees from this past Fall, 2017 Semester
Some photos and testimonials from last year’s Mentees:
“Getting involved my last semester at SDSU was great because my mentor, Susan, prepared me to stay on top of job searches, reviewed my resume, and encouraged me to step out of my comfort zone and attend events that Career Services had put together,” – Kaitlin Woods
Testimonial for SJF Communications via San Diego State University (SDSU) Health Communications Student, Kaitlin Woods
“Susan was my mentor throughout my Fall 2016 semester at San Diego State University. Having Susan mentor me was by far one of the best decisions I’ve made. She has propelled me to reach new levels of my potential and widen my understanding about the communications field. Susan is a wonderful asset to any student, individual or agency and I could not recommend her wisdom enough. I am blessed with the opportunity to know her and have her as my mentor”.- Alexandra Talaro
Testimonial for SJF Communications via San Diego State University (SDSU) Communications Student Alexandra Talaro
“The Aztec Mentorship Program has been an enlightening process for me. Not only has it allowed me to reach out to various alumni in different industries I am interested in, but has created opportunity to foster an invaluable mentorship.
Overall, my best experience was with Susan Farese, a local entrepreneur with many experiences, particularly in the entertainment industry. I learned a few lessons after being matched as a mentee with Susan but lessons are still being learned as we still stay in touch. Resume development, entrepreneurship tips, and networking opportunities have been the focus of the mentorship. Susan helped me develop a technique of developing the perfect resume based upon which jobs I am searching for rather than sending out a general resume out to all jobs. As an aspiring entrepreneur, I learned from Susan’s experiences and mistakes in running her own PR firm. She spoke to me about my different entrepreneurial opportunities and gave insight to possible issues I may run into. Even after the program ended, Susan recently helped me get my first gig doing lighting and sound production for a local play!
Honestly the best part about my experience was the specific attention given to me about how I can best further myself. After a few sessions, Susan understood what I really needed to learn to get the best out of the program and that only happens when mentors are dedicated to extending real life knowledge and experience to mentees.” – James Ranon
Testimonial for SJF Communications via San Diego State University (SDSU) Finance/Entrepreneurship Student
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