Isabella "Bella" Way '17 VSB and Patricia "Tricia" Brown '89 VSB

bella and Tricia

1. What inspired you to join the VSB mentor program?   

“I joined the VSB Mentor Program at a time when I was conflicted in my career interests. I was hoping to meet someone with similar interests, who was combining these interests in the workforce. In the mentee questionnaire, I stated that I was interested in both marketing and healthcare. Tricia and I were matched and she immediately showed me how it was possible to combine my passion for marketing with my desire to work in a field that would improve people's health.”
– Bella

“I am grateful for the education I received at Villanova, as well as the career that I’ve had at my company. I want to share what I’ve learned with young women as they begin their careers.”
– Tricia

2. How has your experience compared to your expectation?

“My experience has far exceeded my expectations. I am so lucky to have met Tricia. I was expecting to meet someone who could give me career advice or guidance for a path to success, but Tricia went above and beyond that. She immediately had a strong interest in getting to know me and was dedicated to helping me in any way she could."
– Bella

“Bella is bright, passionate and very talented. I was able to offer her a summer internship at Merck. She exceeded our expectations, bringing us new perspectives and making valued contributions quickly. My team loved working with her and asked her to come back the following summer. It’s so exciting that we’ve been able to connect, become friends and help each other.”
– Tricia

3. What makes your relationship a successful one?    

“My relationship is successful because Tricia and I were perfectly matched and because she is passionate about leading me to a successful career. I never expected to have had such an amazing experience. When I told Tricia that I did not have an internship lined up, she created a position for me at Merck. Working there offered an invaluable experience and working under Tricia gave me so much exposure to various facets of the organization. I ended up interning at Merck again this past summer and I hope to work there when I graduate. Had I not met Tricia, I would probably still be questioning my career path and my life after graduation. The Mentor Program truly changed my life.”
– Bella

“What I enjoy most is being able to talk about our families and personal life as well as about work. It’s a pleasure to see Bella, get updates on how she’s doing in school and how her family is doing. She has given me great advice for my daughters as they prepare for college.”
– Tricia

4. What has been the best part about having a mentor/mentee?    

“The best part about having Tricia as my mentor is the knowledge that I have gained from her. She has opened a new world for me by showing me how to be successful in an industry I barely knew anything about. Through our relationship, I have formed so many connections and have gained insights that cannot be taught in a classroom. Additionally, watching her perform her duties as the Executive Director of US Promotion at Merck has shown me the qualities needed to be a leader and has inspired me to set higher goals for myself.”
– Bella

“The best part of this experience is having a new friend who has given me new ideas and perspectives.”
– Tricia

5. Do you have a best practice to share with other pairs in the program?

I think the most important thing for mentors and mentees is frequent communication. It is easy to lose contact and fall out of touch, but you never know what doors you could each open for the other. I was extremely lucky to have a mentor who took the program seriously and was dedicated to helping me. Mentors provide a wealth of knowledge and insight into the business world and mentees should utilize this great opportunity to explore their interests. Having someone who can answer career questions, facilitate professional connections, and always support you is extraordinarily beneficial to your professional life.”
– Bella

“Don’t worry too much about the frequency of your meetings. Focus more on building a long-term friendship, and enjoying each other’s company when you find the time to connect.”
– Tricia