Below are the photos and video testimonials from our participants both mentors and mentees.
Atilo MontesdeOca-Downes (Mentee)
"I had heard about UWF's Executive Mentor Program from my transfer advisor with UWF's College of Business. The program became the deciding factor of why I chose to attend UWF!"
Jodi Bell (Mentor)
LocaliQ/Pensacola News Journal
"...I love being a part of the UWF Executive Mentor Program. I see that this is part of my legacy and the contribution of time that I make to each of these students will impact them for the rest of their lives and I take that very seriously and it's rewarding to me. I think I've learned as much from each of my mentees as they have learned from me."
Allison Reynolds (Mentee)
"For anyone that wants to join the Executive Mentor Program, I 100% recommend it. It was definitely a great experience just to you know understand how things work outside of college and in the real world."
Sarah Lee (Alumni Mentee)
“My mentor, Bob Ozburn, has a dynamic way that he could connect with people and he just had this energy about him. That was really the thing I could take away from this experience that I had in the Executive Mentor Program. I learned how to make relationships and build them and really just encapsulate the humanity that we have as people...”
Pam Hatt (Mentor) and Taylor Rosser (Mentee)
Vice President of Marketing
Pen Air Federal Credit Union
"I think for me, it’s important to give back. Programs like this were not around when I was in school, so I find this a very valuable tool and very valuable opportunity for me to leverage my experience and pay it forward and give back to those that are seeking that kind of knowledge and that kind of experience." -Pam Hatt
John Shaffer (Mentor) and Morgan Peppers (Mentee)
State Farm Insurance
"You can’t go wrong with having someone guide you. That’s something you will find whether you are part of the mentor program or not. But making sure you find the right people to follow is really important, so with this program you find the right people." -Morgan Peppers
Haley Reiss (Mentee)
"I’ve gained a lot of community involvement. Because my mentor is the President of the Sacred Heart Foundation, I started helping out with the events for the foundation, like Mall Ball. So I’ve gained experience as well as networking." -Haley Reiss
Cody Verhulst (Mentee)
"This was by far one of the most inclusive, greatest programs I’ve been a part of in my six years of higher education. There’s great people that you’ll meet on a daily basis, weekly basis that you can be introduced to, and if you plan to stay in the Pensacola area this is a great, great, great program to be involved in." -Cody Verhulst
DaCotah Ledbetter (Mentee)
Supply Chain & Logistics
"The program offers valuable skills that you can learn from talking to someone in your prospective industry, the things you get to talk about and at a personal level are things you do not learn in the classroom. Amy taught me how to be a headstrong and fearless woman in this logistics industry. She has helped me develop my professional skill set, critiqued my resume – but I needed it, and that has helped me land a job after graduation. I don’t think I would have the opportunity without Amy by my side to help me through my career goals, objectives, and for preparing for the future.”
Hear more from DaCotah.
Amy Miller (Mentor)
Port of Pensacola
"Just to see her work ethic, her dedication, and her commitment to what she has chosen as her field of expertise has really been valuable to me; I hope what I have been able to give her has been just as valuable. I look forward to attending graduation in a couple of weeks and celebrating DaCotah’s graduation and her new career.”
Hear more from Amy.
Neil Light (Mentee alumnus)
Director of Operations
Hixardt Technologies, Inc.
“The biggest thing is to make yourself useful, make yourself a resource. Just go in there and find what you can do and stick with it; It is a lot of work but I guess it turned out for the best in this case.”
Hear more from Neil.
Mike Hicks (Mentor)
Hixardt Technologies, Inc.
“For me as a business owner, it is all about finding the talent, and UWF has been a great resource for me for finding that talent. The thing is, you always want to find the icing on top of the cake. If I can find the top 1% of the candidates in one place, it is right here. Getting involved in a program like this is definitely the way to actually do it.”
Hear more from Mike.
John Kizziah (Mentor) and Will Hutchison (Mentee)
State Farm - John Kizziah Agency
“The opportunity to be around our future leaders and to interact with Will and other men and women like him, it just gets you re-energized and to learn what is on their minds and where they are headed and be a part of that. And to get to share some mistakes and good decisions you’ve made over the years. It’s very enjoyable.” - John Kizziah
Hear more from John and Will.
Amy Miller (Mentor) and DaCotah Ledbetter (Mentee)
Port of Pensacola
Supply Chain & Logistics
“As one of the few women in my degree plan I was taken back because as the only girl (wondering) how I can excel. Amy has taught me to never back down, to never say no to opportunity, and to just explore your options. And I can’t thank her enough for making such an impact in my life - she has made me a better person.” - DaCotah Ledbetter
Hear more from Amy and DaCotah.
John Fritz (Mentor) and Christian Garabedian (Mentee)
Vice President, Southeast Region (retired)
“It’s been a great experience for me to help share some of my knowledge with Christian to get him better prepared for life in the real world when he gets out of college. It has been very satisfying for me to help out Christian and as a result we have also become friends.”
- John Fritz
Hear more from John and Christian.
Tom Murphy (Mentor) and James Sparks (Mentee)
Spenser & Associates
“If somebody has a desire to be able to give back and be able to participate at a very deep personal/professional level and be willing to go full circle with whatever that person needs, I think this program is a perfect fit.” - Tom Murphy
Hear more Tom and James.
Patrick Rooney (Mentor)
CEO/Lead Principal Consultant
Coastal CXO Services
“My job is to guide them along the path of discovery...we all learn best, I think, by hearing from real experiences from others, and that's what I've done with the mentees.” Here more from Patrick.
Nam Nguyen (Mentee)
“The Executive Mentor Program helped me in a sincere and whole-hearted way. I think one of the biggest lessons I learned is to value your relationships that you build with people and to keep them in persistence.” Hear more from Nam.
Shawn Richardson (Mentee)
“I was undecided for a long time, I went from Finance to Marketing; Patrick helped me arrive at that decision and it was pretty amazing to have that support. He made me come to realize that I'm an empowered and enlightened individual with decisions worth investing in and sharing with the world. I cant' wait to a mentor myself one day in a program like this.” Hear more from Shawn.
Rebecca Boles (Mentor) and Morgan Bradley (Mentee)
“Morgan reminded me why the millennials may be the coolest generation ever! They are the exciting, energizing, idea generating, anything is possible, group of people that we boomers raised them to be. Morgan got to work with our whole corporate team and spend some time with other business professionals. I'm glad I said yes to Executive Mentor Program.” – Rebecca Boles
“The Executive Mentor Program is fun and practical, there's no better place to get help on your resume or cover letter than communication professionals who do this for a living. You get real-life experience and witness the world of work first hand. The program paired us and it has created a lifetime friendship." – Morgan Bradley
Hear more from Rebecca and Morgan.
Gabriel Glaysher (Mentee)
“Having a mentor has been a great networking opportunity for me. When a CEO of a company can meet with me for an hour and focus entirely on helping me succeed in my future career after graduation, it demonstrates how much my mentor cares about impacting students at UWF.”
John Hosman (Mentor)
FS Advisors, Inc./AccountingFly
“The Executive Mentor Program connects students with business leaders who can provide advice and the intangibles that are not typically taught in the classroom. It has been a great opportunity to pass along advice that I wish I would have received when graduating. Two of my mentees have gotten jobs because of their involvement in the program.”
Giovana Patitucci (Mentee)
“My mentor and I have a professional relationship regarding career advice focusing on the development of my personal and social skills. In addition to sharing useful information, she gives me book recommendations, activities to do in the Pensacola area, and so forth. My mentor also comes to watch some of my tennis matches as we try to learn more from each other.”
Monty Alcindor (Mentee)
Supply Chain Logistics
“I feel the relationship will be for life. Mr. Dan is open on what goes on in his daily life as it pertains to on the job and he shares tons of information that is not learned in the classroom. I have watched many logistical operations out at the airport. A lot of the time we discuss aviation issues that the industry is currently experiencing and ways on how to fix them.”
Mort O'Sullivan (Mentor)
Managing Partner, Gulf Coast
“It is an emotional thing for me. I know what a difference you can make in someone's life. That's what this program is all about. It's not just what you learn in the classroom but the practical application of that. If you don't have that beacon on the horizon, you might give up, get lost and lose enthusiasm. You can't do that.”
Kelly Chen (Mentee)
“The Executive Mentor Program at UWF bestowed upon me an extraordinary, beneficial opportunity. The invaluable knowledge and assistance contributed by my mentor, Ms. Molly Murphy, surpassed beyond my expectations. Our time spent during our meetings has been an unparalleled experience. No words of gratitude can fully justify the irreplaceable hours dedicated by my mentor; her kindness transcends courtesy. As prospective professionals, we often are unconscious about the sedulous, busy schedule that active professionals, such as our mentors, are engaged in. Inevitably, we, as mentees, may overlook the value of time, particularly, our mentors’ time. Furthermore, my meetings with Ms. Murphy has simultaneously broaden my horizons and affirm my professional pursuit in the accounting industry. She helped strengthen my self-growth and professional development skills. Through our interactions, I was able to distinguish my core values, and strive for a balance in all aspects of life, whether it be professional, academics, or personal. This phenomenal experience empowered me to maintain my ambitious and persevering characteristics, and substantiated my career goals.”
Koal Yuki (Mentee)
Tax Association, KPMG
“The Executive Mentor Program has been very beneficial to my professional growth. Mr. O'Sullivan and I would discuss topics such as accounting careers at CPA firms, the importance of gained skills, leadership, and assisting others. All of his advice was very valuable and unforgettable." Hear more from Koal.
Mort O'Sullivan (Mentor)
Managing Partner, Gulf Coast
"I was assigned a young man...he is truly an amazing individual. It's refreshing because you hear in our circles, "oh, the next generation they don't have what we have, they don't work like we work." Not true. I have been living for a year with an example that inspires me for where our country is going, where people who come from Japan want to come here and live here and be part of what we are doing. What that means to our country to have this kind of program these kinds of people that are being put out in the world...this has been a fantastic experience for me." Hear more from Mort.
Doris Young (Mentor)
Vice President (retired)
"What I've enjoyed most about this program was mentoring Destini. She got to spend time learning how we use research in order to help our customers achieve their goal. It gave her a real life experience...I know in five years she will be in a business in Pensacola and she is going to command a lot of respect because she is going to demand it and have earned it." Hear more from Doris Young.
Destini Lawrence (Mentee)
“I think everyone should be in the Executive Mentor Program! It helped lead me to market research. I've gained so much knowledge and experience in the field. You can't put a price on having a mentor." Hear more from Destini.
Holly Smith (Mentor)
President and Managing Partner
H2 Performance Consulting
"I have enjoyed mentoring Amanda and getting her networked with other organizations and companies locally. I will continue to mentor and stay in touch with Amanda through her senior year and beyond! This program has been a joy to participate in."
Jennifer Grove (Mentor)
Community Development Manager
"I have thoroughly enjoyed working with Lily. Not sure if she or I benefitted more from the relationship!"
Christine Bilbrey (Mentee)
"I really enjoyed participating in the Executive Mentor Program and I have learned so much from Ted. I have already talked to him and let him know that I accepted a full-time internship at Navy Federal so we are going to keep in touch with each other informally from now on."
John Peacock (Mentor)
Financial Advisor, CFP
"I am proud to call him my friend. I hope he continues to contact me for advice help."
Ethan Harris (Mentee)
Marketing and Sales Management
"I am thankful for the advice my mentor gives me when it comes to everyday and business life. It helps, and it means a lot. Just knowing that I have someone who has experienced situations similar to mine feels like a pocket ace every time I face an obstacle."
Bentina Terry (Mentor)
VP, Customer Services & Sales
"I love being a mentor. I have the greatest mentee -- she's motivated, she's interesting and she's interested. I like that I'm able to give back and help someone. I wouldn't be where I am if it weren't for someone helping me. It's really a mutual relationship where I feel like I benefit just as much as my mentee. She never just comes and says hello, she comes with questions and information and when you're dealing with someone, you really like that."
Bob Larkin (Mentor)
Robert L. Larkin Jr. Consulting, LLC
"The single biggest mistake that I had in my career is that I never had a person that I could go to at a younger age and just ask questions. I get a lot out of helping younger people learn from my mistakes. Hopefully, Ernest will learn from my mistakes."
Buzz Ritchie (Mentor)
Gulf Coast Community Bank
"My role as a mentor with Michael (he teaches me more than I teach him) is to try to expose him to some of the things that are going on in Pensacola, behind the scenes. The mentor and the student really get a lot out of it. If an individual serves as a mentor, you probably get much or more out of it than the student does. It isn't really so much me sitting here telling him about what he should or shouldn't do, we exchange ideas all the time."
Michael Dwyer (Mentee)
"I have a very motivated mentor. He's interested in the program and he's teaching me as much as he can, and I'm committed to learning as much from him as I can. He's been shepherding me around town and introducing me to people in the community. For example, he took me to a local Society dinner. I'm trying to prepare for law school so that was a real asset. The Executive Mentor Program exposes students to a whole new world they may not have been aware of. One of the really wonderful facets of this program is the fact that students get out there but also the mentors get connected to the campus. Having an executive mentor has been extremely beneficial to me. I've been able to participate in a mock interview with my mentor's Human Resources representative, as well as attend a resume clinic. These experiences have given me a new perspective on how to succeed in the business world."
Scott Ramsey (Mentor)
Senior Risk Manager (relocated)
State Farm Insurance
"It's the whole concept of idea sharing. We have alumni who have gone out and worked 30-year careers, and now they can come back and share what they have learned with the 19-year olds and 20-year olds who are just getting started. They can say "these are the three things that helped me succeed" you can't learn that in a book. We need success and we need to help you upcoming graduates and alumni be as successful as you possibly can. If I could go back to being 21, and if someone could have told me these things, it would have saved me a whole lot of heartache."
Steven Moorhead (Mentor)
McDonald, Fleming, Moorhead
"I think the program is great. Wish I could have had this opportunity when I was their age."
Kevin Doyle (Mentor)
President and Publisher (retired)
Pensacola News Journal
"Nick got quite an experience when he came to tour our building. The mayor and his chiefs of staff were here to update us on the police pension reform in an off-the-record meeting. I told him it was very unusual for an outsider to get to sit in on the meeting. I was able to introduce him to our editorial team and the team from the city. Unique experience. Great student."
Nick Humphrey (Mentee)
"Mr. Doyle took me on a tour of the PNJ and I was able to meet most of the staff and department heads there. I also got to sit in on an important meeting, which was pretty neat!"
Carrie Boynton (Mentee)
“My time in the Executive Mentor Program was extremely valuable. One of the biggest hurdles to get over as a student is your own anxiety. Having a mentor who is a well-respected member of the professional community, such as Ron Jackson, is a priceless opportunity. Ron spent time listening to my goals and giving me sound advice. The experience allowed me to grow comfortable talking to professionals, which gave me more confidence in interviews and in my career.”
Jay Smith (Mentor)
“My student is awesome. We worked hard on interview skills and her resume. She has a 4th and final interview or a paid internship coming up. I am very proud of the progress she has made. This program has been a real pleasure for me. I really appreciate this opportunity.”
Catherine Kelly (Mentor)
Center Director (relocated)
“I have thoroughly enjoyed the experience and have benefited personally and professionally from this program.”