It’s only been a little over a year since iMentor began working with the global professional services firm Marsh & McLennan Companies, but the partnership has already had a big impact on iMentor and the students we serve.
In New York City and Chicago, 52 Marsh & McLennan Companies employees volunteer as mentors to students in low-income communities. Each mentor works one-on-one with a high school student to develop college-readiness skills and navigate the college application process. Amit Loungani, a mentor from Mercer, a subsidiary of Marsh & McLennan Companies, is helping his mentee, Philip, a junior at KIPP NYC College Prep, focus on time management and organizing his priorities. Philip’s goals are to get his grades up, do well on the SATs, and finish his college applications; he is also very passionate about dance. Amit is helping Philip learn to balance his academic goals and his extracurricular interests. “He already recognizes where he stands and wants to improve, and I try to help him organize that. I can't take too much credit…but hearing it from me just propels it or sets it in motion,” Amit says. “Saying your goals out loud to someone can make them more attainable.”
In addition to working with iMentor in New York City, Marsh & McLennan Companies wanted their Chicago employees to have an opportunity to volunteer in their community as well. As a result, the Company also sponsored our iMentor Interactive program at Muchin College Prep High School in Chicago, which is providing the school with its first mentoring program. And 20 of the Firm’s employees are volunteering as mentors to students at the school. “Marsh has a big presence in Chicago, and this is my way of getting involved in the city, and in the future of city,” said Jennifer Lester, a mentor in Chicago and an employee of Marsh, one of the Company’s other subsidiaries.
Marsh & McLennan Companies is a true thought partner for iMentor, helping to develop new ways to bring more mentors into schools through employee engagement. The Company’s commitment to the communities in which it works is spreading among its employees. Amit notes, "I don't think I would have found out about [iMentor] through my own means....That Mercer puts its name behind it shows that they've done their homework and it is worthwhile."
iMentor is excited to continue the partnership with Marsh & McLennan Companies. In January, the Company joined our 100 Mentor Pledge and committed to expanding their engagement with iMentor to include 100 of their employees as mentors. Next school year, Marsh & McLennan Companiesand iMentor are also expanding their partnership in Chicago. Current volunteers will continue to mentor students already in the program, as they become Muchin’s first class of graduating seniors. Additionally, Marsh & McLennan Companies will recruit 20 additional volunteers to mentor a new group of juniors.
At this time of year, many of our mentees are mailing deposits to secure their place in college in the fall. With the support and guidance of their mentors, mentees wrote personal statements, took the SATs, and applied for financial aid. International High School at Lafayette senior Ali, who was accepted to three schools and will be attending Long Island University, feels particularly grateful to his mentor, Paul, for his extraordinary support. Here’s a snippet of one of their last e-mail exchanges this academic year:
Thanks to you, I am capable of taking care of myself. I learned a lot from you. You have made me a better person than I was before. Looking at your experiences, I actually want to be like you, outgoing, maybe become a mentor in the future. You have taught me not only to take care of myself but also try to experience new things. If I don’t like something that I never tried, why not try it? I might like it. You have also taught me to be strong and to take responsibility for myself. I remember when you told me to work hard in order to get something because no one will do it for me. You also motivated me to do things that I was afraid of doing.
This was such a wonderful email to read. It really means a lot to me to hear you list all the great things you've accomplished this year and also how you have really taken control of your life. I had so much fun over this past year and I’m so glad that I was able to help motivate you for your senior year in high school. I am truly honored to hear you say you would want to be like me. Thanks for the kind words, my friend. You have taught me a ton throughout this experience as well. Looking forward to staying connected during your transition to college and throughout your college experience. Enjoy graduation and the last few weeks as a high school student!
iMentor congratulates Ali—and all of our graduating seniors on their huge successes this year—and applauds Paul for being an exemplary mentor. We are proud to be able to pair students with strong, caring mentors each year who can support them on their journey to higher education.
Last week, iMentor CEO Mike O'Brien attended the Clinton Global Initiative America (CGI America) meeting in Chicago, along with hundreds of business, government, and nonprofit leaders from across the country. At the meeting, iMentor and Morgan Stanley announced a CGI Commitment to Action to expand the Mentor Pledge by doubling the number of Morgan Stanley employees who volunteer with iMentor.
iMentor launched the Mentor Pledge this January in partnership with 10 corporations to recruit 100 of their employees to be mentors for high school students in low-income communities throughout New York City. Morgan Stanley, one of iMentor’s longest-standing corporate supporters, will double its mentor pledge from 100 to 200 mentors as part of the company’s dedication to skills-based volunteering, which leverages the professional expertise and backgrounds of its employees to deliver high-impact results in the community.
iMentor created the Mentor Pledge with Accenture, Barclays Capital, Bloomberg LP, Citi, Deutsche Bank, Ernst & Young LLP, Goldman Sachs, Marsh & McLennan Companies, Morgan Stanley and UBS. These companies not only support iMentor with valuable volunteers but also provide a financial commitment to the Mentor Pledge program, which New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg highlighted in his 2012 State of the City address.
The commitment of these companies will allow iMentor to expand its programs to meet its goal of serving 2,400 students in New York City in 2013. The mentors will help students navigate the college application and financial aid processes and build key competencies linked to college success. iMentor provides expertise and assistance to its corporate partners through mentor recruitment and training efforts in collaboration with each of the 10 pledge companies.
“The visionary leadership of Morgan Stanley and the other companies in the Mentor Pledge is absolutely vital to expanding the work we do to support students from low-income communities on their path to college success,” said iMentor CEO Mike O’Brien. “We are excited to participate in CGI America and expand upon iMentor’s mission with a group of extraordinary leaders who are all working to connect youth with education and employment opportunities.”
Said Joan Steinberg, Head of Community Affairs at Morgan Stanley: “We are proud to have helped iMentor get its start more than a decade ago. Then, as now, our employees have embraced the opportunity to share key skills with New York City students, positioning these young people for greater academic and professional success. We’re pleased to be deepening our relationship with iMentor, which is a past winner of the Morgan Stanley Strategy Challenge in recognition of their innovative technology-enabled mentoring.”
iMentor matches Mentor Pledge company employees with students from partner schools in one-to-one mentoring relationships that last up to four years. iMentor supports all mentor-mentee pairs as they work through iMentor’s college-readiness curriculum and also provides mentors with ongoing training, networking events, and coaching from iMentor staff.
At the CGI America Meeting, Mike also lead a discussion on how cross-sector partnerships can further mentoring across the country to help more students gain access to higher education and jobs.