by Juliette Rocheleau, Senior Corps Member on the Capital Area United Way team at Capitol Middle School


To support the Senior AmeriCorps Members, CYBR started the Bridge Builder Mentorship Program. The Bridge Builder Mentorship Program is a pilot program that gives Senior AmeriCorps Members the chance to interact with the young professionals on the City Year Baton Rouge Associate Board. Each Senior AmeriCorps Member is paired with a board member to discuss career development goals and explore meaningful connections to local businesses and/or arts communities that allow for “Life After City Year” planning. In honor of National Mentoring Month, we asked a few of our Senior AmeriCorps Members to share about their experiences with their mentor. Introducing the mentors of the Bridge Builder Mentorship Program-- through the eyes of their mentees:

Mentor: Jenee Slocum is the Director of Special Projects for Louisiana Economic Development

Jenee has been a really great resource for me in trying to figure out which path to pursue after City Year. Like a good mentor, she has never provided me with direct answers but instead helped me weigh the pros and cons of my options while sharing her successes and challenges in her own career. We connected because of her teaching experience, as well as her work abroad in South America. Her experiences give her an interesting globally minded perspective which I value as I consider pursuing a graduate degree in tropical medicine. Jenee is a good listener and gives me a lot to think about when we meet. What I value most from my time spent with her is that she has reminded me that more often than not, people will have more than one career, which is true of Jenee’s own career development. I am grateful for all her insight and I am confident she will continue to advise me as I navigate my own many career paths.

Ryan Branson is a Team Leader serving on the New Schools for Baton Rouge & Entergy Louisiana team at Broadmoor Middle School.

Mentor: Bradley Sanchez is owner of The Salad Shop

Bradley not only opened The Salad Shop, but also graduated from Louisiana State University and previously worked in marketing for a New York City Broadway theater company.  Before Bradley was my mentor, I was fortunate enough to have met him through his wife and CYBR Development Director, Ryann Denham Sanchez, when we played on the same kickball team in the fall.  It was very beneficial getting to know Bradley as a peer before he became my mentor because Bradley was able to take his personal experiences and apply them to what he had learned about me in the months leading up to our pairing of mentor-mentee.  In just a few months, I will be entering the workforce despite having a difficult time deciding exactly what that entails.  Bradley has given me many valuable lessons about how to balance my personal interests (which are not exactly perfect for a job-- I cannot analyze statistics for the 2000s Red Sox for a living), with a job that will fit with my own skills and experiences.  Along with this, Bradley and I have worked together to narrow down my interests, skills, and previous work experiences in order to have a better idea what my life after City Year may look like.
Tyler Wands is a Team Leader serving on the Albemarle Foundation team at Merrydale Elementary School.


Mentor: Erin Tadie is an Associate Attorney with Kean Miller LLP

I began meeting with Erin Percy Tadie in October, shortly before taking my GRE for the first time. Shortly after taking my GRE, I knew that I wanted to get my resume together to send out to Master's programs in Creative Writing. During our first meeting at Highland Coffee's, she was quick to help me create a timeline for when I needed to get applications in for where, and when I should have my resume completed by. In November I sent my resume over to Erin for feedback, and she was quick and eager to offer guidance, offering suggestions on how to play up my service at City Year, and tips on specifying my resume for the Master's programs I was interested in. Now it is January and all of my applications are in, and while I'm twiddling my thumbs, I know that I can reach out to Erin for whatever else I need, and she can help me develop back-up plans.
Phillip Spotswood is a Team Leader serving on the Irene and C.B. Pennington Foundation team at Winbourne Elementary School.


Mentor: Emily Landry is an Assistant Director of Development Services at the LSU Foundation

The most beneficial thing about having a mentor like Emily Landry, an Assistant Director of Development services, is that as someone only a few years older, she can understand and relate to the struggles I'm going through as a recent college grad. So far in our meetings Emily has given me pointers on networking, resume writing and feeling more comfortable during first meetings with potential employers. I feel confident that with her continued mentorship I will enter the workforce more prepared and better developed as a young professional.
Helen Seder is an Impact Leader at City Year Baton Rouge.

Mentors: Matthew Doolittle is the Assistant Vice President of Commercial Banking at Capital One and Ely Thurmond is a Consulting Manager at Postlethwaite & Netterville. Ely also serves as chair of the CYBR Associate Board.

This year, City Year's new program blessed me with a dynamic duo of mentors. Matt Doolittle, a traveler at heart, got his financial degree at LSU and currently works for Capital One. He's been able to share his past experiences with highlighting the connections you've made in life to get your foot in the door and that as a (young) professional, you need to find a way to make your work stand out. Ely Thurmond, a jack of all trades, attested to finding professional groups to join, in order to bridge your own passion with connections to others. As a trio, we've come up with distinct points on what transitioning into a "young professional" looks like, and preparing me for what my next steps should be for my upcoming time with the Peace Corps. Leaving last semester, I felt supported by these two successful mentors. We came up with action steps for me and they worked as my unbiased sounding boards. I respect them both, not only as professionals, but as people who have willingly found time in their schedules to accommodate my budding passion and thirst for knowledge.
Manda Wittebort is a Team Leader serving on the Lamar Advertising team at Melrose Elementary School.

City Year Baton Rouge is grateful to all of our Associate Board Members for their support , leadership and commitment to the development of our AmeriCorps members!

Ely Thurmond (Associate Board Chair), Postlethwaite & Netterville
Trevor Bailey, Bailey Construction & Development
Rudy Comeaux, The Lemoine Company
Zach Corbin, Raising Cane's 
Joe Cousson, Louisiana Economic Development
David de Laureal, Bernhard Capital
Matthew Doolittle, Capital One
Deidra Jackson, Opus Capitol Strategies
Renee Joyal, Huey and Angelina Wilson Foundation
Emily Landry, Community Volunteer
Rob Landry, Louisiana Chemical Association
Mikki Cesear Mathews, J.P. Morgan
Kellen Mathews, Adams and Reese
Brian McNabb, Office of Senator Bill Cassidy
Bradley Sanchez, The Salad Shop
Jenee Slocum, Louisiana Economic Development
Erin Tadie, Kean Miller


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