Leadership development and talent retention is a key issue and priority area for the Regional Business Council (RBC), and the Mentor Network (TMN) plays a leading role. TMN, now in its 15th year pairs executives from member companies with up and coming students and grows future leaders for the St. Louis region.
Since 2002, TMN has paired business and engineering college students with executives from RBC member companies who share career experiences and provide students with practical knowledge and insight into opportunities. A formal program with professional development opportunities and training begins in the fall of each year and concludes in the spring, with a reception bringing all participants together.
TMN has had a high-impact effort on St. Louis businesses according to RBC President and CEO Kathy Osborn. “Driving talent development is a key priority of RBC and the Mentor Network helps to get young professionals engaged in companies here in region. Numerous students have been mentored by executives of RBC companies and partner companies since 2002.”
The benefits of TMN are apparent to both students and executives. One student shared that it inspired him to grow, sharing that, “RBC’s Mentor Network presented me with a great opportunity to interact with a successful and ambitious executive, hear his story and experiences and receive advice on how to handle the development of my own career.”
However, the benefits of TMN are not exclusive to the students. Busey Bank Vice President of Community Development Jimmie Howlett enjoys his time giving back. “What inspires me is that I can make a difference in someone’s life.”
Relationships built through TMN are unique and lead to special results. For example, Alaina Maciá (CEO of MTM and Ride Right) has had the opportunity to mentor Chloe Valentine, a senior Marketing student at Lindenwood University. As Macia says, “I am passionate about building opportunities for women. I am teaching Chloe that not only can you make a career, you can make deals.” Chloe was proud to earn great feedback on her mid-year evaluation presented at the Mentor Network Spring Reception on April 10. Upon graduation, Chloe is eager to start a full-time career in St. Louis.
Advice, networking and mentorship aren’t the only benefits students have gained through TMN. Gary Stevenson, a junior at St. Louis University was recently offered and accepted an internship with his mentor Wendy Henry at BKP. This is a great opportunity for Stevenson to gain hands-on experience as he completes a Bachelor’s degree in Accounting at St. Louis University.
Students are selected by their schools and universities based on their academic performance, leadership outside of the classroom and willingness to stay and work in St. Louis. Through the program students have the opportunity to meet one-on-one with top business leaders and access senior level executives in St. Louis. In addition to advice and counseling, students are given opportunities to network with C-suite mentors and RBC members at special events.
Through programs like TMN, the Higher Education Collaborative and the Young Professionals Network, the St. Louis Regional Business Council continues to drive leadership development and talent retention to meet the demands of St. Louis’s businesses.
This year’s concluding event included opportunity for networking and a panel discussion with area professionals.