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CEO Programs complete Mentor Day

How to you bridge the gap between generations? Over the course of a 10-month school year, Midland Institute CEO students visit and listen to 50 to 70 small business owners who reside in their hometown, but even with learning from the business community, students often struggle with ways to connect with those leaders.

Because the Institute believes it is important that students know how much the business community cares about the direction of their lives, CEO students are also matched with a mentor about half-way through the school year in an event affectionately known as “Mentor Day.”

“Their role is to help bridge the gap between the business community and the CEO students,” Hancock County CEO mentor Christene Murphy said. “They look over business plans, give suggestions on personal & class business questions, assist with potential employment opportunities, etc. The list is endless.”

Before Mentor Day, students have a chance to meet with potential mentors, selecting which adults they think they would work best with. In many cases, the facilitator and CEO board members pair a professional with a student.

Then CEO classes host Mentor Day where mentors and students share breakfast, network or participate in a team building activity.

“We encourage our students to initiate the Mentor-Student relationship and use them as a starting point for their business network,” Murphy said.

In the second year of the Hancock County CEO Program, Mentor Day included a team building activity to break the ice as networking took place. Students and mentors were given the challenge to make the largest profit by building a freestanding tower that could stand on its own for 30 seconds.

Teams had to weigh costs of planning time at $3/minute, construction time at $5/minute and each block used cost $.50. When the tower was completed, it was worth $10/inch.

After this activity was completed, teams dismantled their towers and were given another challenge to build the tallest freestanding tower (stand on its own for minimum of 30 seconds) in 10 minutes.

“It was interesting to see the different approaches with each group,” Murphy said. “We had some out of the box thinking and it provided a way for students to begin communicating with their mentor. Not to mention everyone had fun.”

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