Big Brother James learned at an early age the impact of a positive adult mentor and role model in a young person’s life. Growing up in a single-father home in inner-city Detroit, he felt grateful to have a father who taught him important life lessons and handy skills. He became a Big with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Middle Tennessee because he wants to pay it forward for generations to come and make sure young people know they are worthy and never alone.
Brenda Gadd is the president and founder of Rethink Public Strategies, a firm leading policy change at all levels of government. She is an advocate for gender and racial equity, and a recognized expert on advocacy, leading campaign, advocacy and candidate trainings throughout the U.S. Brenda reminds us that politics are about people and how important it is to be engaged. We sat down with Brenda to learn about her career and how mentorship has impacted her journey.
Becky Sharpe is the CEO of International Scholarship and Tuition Services and Collegiate Sports Data, and a Partner in WatchGameFilm. Her professional and volunteer endeavors focus on her passion of helping people grow. We sat down with Becky to learn more about the impact mentorship has had on her career and how she approaches mentorship today.
Contrecia Tharpe is an expert in branding, PR and communications. She founded her own boutique integrated marketing and communications firm in 2008, which she has overseen for the last 13 years. She is also a faculty member at Tennessee State University in the communications department where she teaches public speaking, marketing and communications courses. Contrecia shared some of her wisdom and experience with us in this valuable conversation around the impact of mentorship on her professional journey.
Cynthia Whitfield-Story is the President and CEO of INSPIRE1, LLC Consulting & Coaching Firm. Before starting her own company, she worked for Allstate Insurance for almost 40 years, where she developed crucial mentoring relationships with the leaders she admired. Cynthia worked her way up to an executive-level at Allstate and after retiring, followed her passion for leadership coaching and development by starting INSPIRE1. She says, “I think it’s important for people to follow their passion, dream big and find a mentor who can turn those dreams into a reality.” Read more about the impact mentorship has had on Cynthia’s life.
As a mentor, you may be thinking about what your relationship with your mentee will be like during the next few months. How will you show up for your Little as we continue to navigate a new normal? What are the things you can control that will help your relationship thrive during these unusual times? At BBBSMT, we know that mentoring relationships are strongest when volunteers focus on the Big C’s – being committed, consistent and connected.
If you’ve been mostly meeting with your Little virtually over the past year, you may be struggling to find ways to reconnect. That’s completely normal. Reconnecting with your Little might be more difficult than you imagined, but we can help you start the right conversations!
None of us could have predicted what would happen over the past year. Fortunately, we are in the process of returning to a new sense of normalcy, and with that comes the opportunity to re-commit to your role as a Big. As you are planning for your “new normal,” make sure to carve out space and time for your Little. It is never too late for a fresh start!
We often picture reunions as being easy and exciting, but, similar to a high school reunion, getting together with friends you haven’t seen in a while can be awkward at first. It is understandable that reconnecting with your Little after being separated by COVID restrictions may have you feeling stuck or unsure of where to start, but Big Brothers Big Sisters of Middle Tennessee is here to help.
Big Brother Marcus became a mentor because his own life has been transformed by the power of mentorship. Marcus’s mentor provided him with direction in his values and career path, and instilled in him a desire to always give back.