On Influential Mentors and Closing the Network Gap

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January is National Mentoring Month, a time to reflect on the influential mentors we’ve had throughout our journeys and to celebrate them. For me, these include individuals like Dr. Tony Recasner who hired me into my first job out of college as a 6th-grade social studies and language arts teacher at the former James Louis Middle School in New Orleans, Louisiana as well as Wendy Kopp who hired me into a major leadership role at Teach For America, which became a high impact and growth education nonprofit.

In the world of Braven, mentorship plays a huge role in the lives of our Fellows. We are blessed to have had more than 5,000 volunteers dedicate their time and mentorship since our founding. In the 2020-2021 school year alone, 235 volunteers nationwide donated their time as Leadership Coaches, leading cohorts of 5-8 students, and 463 participated in our one-on-one 12-week mentorship program with a Fellow interested in their career field.

They play a critical role…

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