Mina Ebrahimi ’17 VSB and Veronica Santos ’09 VSB

Mina and Veronica

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

“A classmate reached out to me and encouraged me to join. I was initially hesitant, because I did not think I would be paired with someone who fit my criteria. I was looking for an entrepreneur in the food industry, specifically one who owned a bakery or café. The classmate told me to be specific in my request, because that would help find the best match for me. Most students take the corporate route, so I was looking for a mentor who I could learn from and be inspired by to take a less common route - and I was lucky to get just that!”

– Mina

“Villanova has provided so many wonderful opportunities that have shaped me into who I am proud to be today. It was important for me to stay connected to my alma mater and to give back in some way. As a full-time corporate tax accountant and a bakery owner, my career path isn’t typical, and I wanted to share my experiences with an aspiring entrepreneur.”

– Veronica

2.    How has your experience compared to your expectation?

“My expectations were low initially, because I did not think there would be a mentor who fit my very specific criteria. I was wrong, thankfully! My match with Veronica exceeded my expectations. Not only is she an entrepreneur who owns a bakery, but she also graduated with an accounting degree and currently works in tax. I also am in accounting and was considering going into tax, if I did not stick with starting my own business. Veronica has been a wealth of information about both routes, and ultimately has helped me solidify my decision to launch my own business in real estate and get my real estate license.”

– Mina

“The VSB Mentoring experience has gone beyond my expectations; it’s such a rewarding experience. I thought I’d be the one teaching, but I’m learning a lot from her, too!  Mina is such an enthusiastic, motivated and well-rounded student, and I feel lucky to be her mentor.”

– Veronica

3.     What makes your relationship a successful one?    

“My relationship with Veronica is successful because of how honest we both are. I was honest with her about my fears, my true dreams and how I felt about my options. Veronica was also very honest with me about her journey and gave me valuable insight into corporate life and the entrepreneurial world, since she has experience in both. I'm so thankful that she did not try to push me down any path and, instead, gave me the ins and outs of both routes to help me make a well-informed decision. Despite being a baker, she did not sugar-coat anything and I am grateful for her honesty with me.”

– Mina

“Mina and I have similar interests, and even similar upbringings so we relate on many different topics, which builds a great foundation for a mentorship. We also make time for each other. We often touch base via e-mail and text, and we make it a point to have dinner together at least once a semester.”

– Veronica

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

“The best part about having a mentor is having a role model to look up to who is also always available to help me. I admire Veronica’s devotion to her passion, while also holding a full-time position. Being an entrepreneur is all about finding a way to make it work and Veronica has been a phenomenal example of that. Seeing her work so hard motivates me to make time for what I’m passionate about: my real estate business, even though I’m balancing it with school work and extracurricular activities. Despite being so busy, Veronica always makes time to reach out to me and meet with me. Talk about goals!

– Mina

“We keep each other motivated. Sometimes when I’m feeling worn out, I think about how Mina is balancing all of her courses, her jobs, her RA responsibilities and college life in general, and it gives me a boost of energy. And of course, I love having a reason to go back to campus!”

– Veronica

 

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

“I would encourage other pairs to be open and honest. There's no point in pretending to want a job that you aren't passionate about. Chances are, your mentor may have had doubts, too. He or she could help you work through them or help put you on a path that you'd actually enjoy, since they're bound to have many colleagues in a variety of fields.”

– Mina


“Find a common ground. Besides your career, find something else that you can relate to, it’ll help you get comfortable with each other. And make time to catch up in person. Even if it’s just for a quick cup of coffee, the mentoring experience is so much better when you can talk face-to-face. “

– Veronica