From Braven Leadership Coach to Ongoing Mentor: Impact Beyond the Accelerator

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Who is a mentor that has guided you throughout your career? We all have people who support and guide us in school, sports, work, and in life. At Braven, our Leadership Coaches serve as mentors that enhance our students’ chances for success in the professional world. Each coach leads a cohort of 5-8 college students and facilitates weekly workshops. But being a Braven coach doesn’t end when the 15-week semester is over – at least not for Joy Dahlen, Sr. Human Resources Manager at Thermo Fisher Scientific.


Paying it Forward to the Next Generation

Joy volunteered her time as a Leadership Coach, Mock Interviewer, and Professional Mentor at Braven so she could pay it forward to the next generation and develop strong coaching skills. During her time as an LC, she led a cohort of seven students, and one in particular landed a job at her company.


From Leadership Coach to Ongoing Mentor

Dominic Casas, Spring 2017 Fellow and 2019 San Jose State University graduate, took on the role of Project Manager in his cohort for the end-of-the-semester Capstone Challenge, a 6-week engagement where Fellows develop a solution to a real-world challenge proposed by an employer partner using design thinking. After finishing the Braven program his second year of college, Joy’s mentorship helped him land an internship in chemical engineering at Thermo Fisher Scientific.

During his semester in Braven, he gained leadership skills, practiced mock interviews, and conducted informational interviews with professionals in his desired field of chemical engineering – all of which helped prepare him for his internship at Thermo Fisher. But what opened the doors to his first professional opportunity was Joy’s support and guidance:

“Joy has been an incredible mentor – both during and after the Braven Accelerator. Even three years later, we don’t go a month without talking. Her constant mentorship and guidance are what got me my first internship, leading me to even more opportunities at NASA, Electric Power Research Institute, and Thermo Fisher Scientific’s Operations Leadership Development Program.”


A Leadership Coach’s Impact

Having a dedicated Leadership Coach impacted Dominic in many ways; from landing his first internship to getting into a prestigious rotational program – all at Thermo Fisher. With 12-15 people accepted nationwide, Dominic is gaining exposure to distribution operations, planning and sourcing, logistics, production supervision, and manufacturing quality engineering. And here’s the kicker: Joy went through this same exact program 7 years ago.


Growing Together

Joy has been an exceptional volunteer for Braven’s students. In addition to mentoring Dominic during and after the program, she has impacted multiple students with her skills in coaching, facilitation, and leadership. But while she’s significantly impacted students, she’s also honed her skills :

“Braven was both an opportunity and outlet for me to express areas I’m passionate about: volunteering, coaching, and working one-on-one with young adults. It was exciting to be part of the transformation of each Fellow. My own mentors from college led me to the career path I’m on today, so I wanted to help the next generation obtain the resources, knowledge, and tools to be successful in their own careers.”

Joy’s cohort has continued to grow in leadership with increased confidence. Her Fellows have landed roles in biomedical engineering, public relations, marketing, and communications. The potential she saw in each student is what motivated her to support them beyond the Braven Accelerator course.


Words of Wisdom

Both Joy and Dominic have experienced the positive impacts of Braven. Dominic gained clarity on his career path and developed the skills needed to pursue his passions. Joy gained valuable skills and experiences that she applies to her current role. 

Joy’s advice for future Braven volunteers is:

“Share your experiences and lessons learned with your Fellows early on in the Accelerator course. By sharing past experiences that happened early on in my career, I was able to give insights on networking, interviewing, and leadership in the workplace. The opportunity to pay it forward is well worth the journey.”








Interested in becoming a volunteer at Braven? Learn more here.