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School of Business and Leadership helps pair students with mentors

St. Kate’s students (left to right) Joanne Kabajungu 11, Francesca Hollman 11 and Yia Xiong 11, with Paula King, dean of the School of Business and Leadership.
St. Kate’s students (left to right) Joanne Kabajungu 11, Francesca Hollman 11 and Yia Xiong 11, with Paula King, dean of the School of Business and Leadership.
Photo by Kayla Schaefer.

As a St. Catherine University student, Francesca Hollman ’11 is learning how to become a leader. That's a given. Educating students to lead and influence is one of the University’s missions. In addition to all the opportunities on campus to increase her leadership know-how, Hollman is getting an off-campus boost — a 3M mentor.

Since fall 2010, Hollman, who’s majoring in communication studies and has a minor in two-dimensional studio art, has been part of The Art of Honoring Leadership Mentoring Program founded by St. Paul nonprofit Honoring Women Worldwide. School of Business and Leadership faculty nominated her and two other St. Kate’s students, Yia Xiong ’11 and Joanne Kabajungu ’11, to participate in the year-long program.

The program pairs first-generation junior and senior female college students of color with professional female organizational leaders of color. The goal is to provide the students with new professional skills and relationships so they may be better prepared to successfully enter the work world.

Top companies such as 3M, HealthPartners, Wells Fargo Bank, Target Corporation and Travelers Insurance willingly provide the leaders to mentor the students. And local universities do their part to encourage students to get involved. St. Kate’s students have been involved in the mentorship program for several years now thanks to the efforts of faculty in the Department of Business Administration.

“I knew this would be a great opportunity to grow both mind and career wise,” says Hollman. “Although my schedule is very hectic — I am a new mother and this is my last year as an undergrad — I felt the need to do something outside of the classroom setting.”

Hollman’s mentor is a manager at 3M with a background in graphic design and engineering. Kabajungu, an international student with a double major in international business and financial economics, also has a mentor from 3M. Xiong, a transfer student majoring in international business and economics, landed a mentor at Target Corporation.

The program consists of six monthly sessions in which the mentors and students meet to hear panel discussions and learn about various topics such as "Honoring Multiculturalism, Diversity and Inclusion" and "How Your Finances Impact Your Leadership Power.” Event locations vary, and the events are typically held at a partnering organization or college.

According to post-program evaluations, 60 percent of students reported that their “perceptions and judgments of myself and others” had improved and 90 percent had an improved understanding of different cultures, including organizational, ethnic, generational, level and class.

“When I first read the program description, I knew it was for me,” says Hollman, who “felt very honored” when she learned of her nomination. “I'm very glad I’m a part of it.”

More program info
Honoring Women Worldwide (HWW) is a nonprofit organization established in 2007 with the purpose of inspiring and engaging women “to choose language that honors and celebrates themselves and each other.” Learn more about The Art of Honoring Leadership Mentoring Program.

March 11, 2011 by Pauline Oo

See also: Business, Students