I talked with six or seven rounds of six to seven students. I wasn’t sure what to expect or how the kids would respond to their opportunity to speak with several different entrepreneurs and small business owners. Once lunch arrived, the speed rounds began. As the students hustled around to find a mentor to sit and “speed mentor” with, it became clear to me that they had a lot on their minds–their company projects and the competition the following day. Their excitement and focus on their projects didn’t stop them, however, from engaging with me in a meaningful way. They listened intently as I shared my background and experience.
During each round, the students had several thoughtful questions and I realized just how important it was for the students to have this time to meet with real entrepreneurs who could share our insight, challenges and wisdom. The session also gave the students an opportunity to see that being an entrepreneur gives you so many options and potential to make an impact in the world.
One student shared with me that she was nervous and unsure of how her project presentation would go the next day. I explained to her that we all get a little nervous when we have to speak in front of a group. I told her that if she did her work, gave it her best, spoke confidently and believed that it would go well, she’d be just fine. She smiled, and I think I eased her mind.
I had a great time serving as a JA Business Week mentor, and I’d highly recommend it to other entrepreneurs. You’ll get back just as much, if not more, than you give.
Chef Lisa Givens
Executive Personal Chef
Owner, Gourmet Away, LLC
Former JA Student, 3 Years