Noel Girgenti’s First Group Mentoring Session – Group 8, Session 1

On Tuesday, October 1st, Noel Girgenti hosted her first group mentoring session of the year! Even with a small group of two executives and five students, the conversation was intimate and loaded with personal anecdotes of major experiences in the executives’ lives that contained important lessons for the students on their career journey. The conversation commenced with the question: “We all have a common end goal: have a successful internship or job. How did you get to where you are now through your personal interactions and emotional intelligence?”

Group mentoring leader Noel Girgenti. Photo courtesy of

This question opened up a gateway to other facets of conversation. The stories of the executives were intriguing, impressive, and included countless key take-a-ways for how the students will learn to conduct themselves in the work place. The one major lesson though was to always stay true to yourself and do what you believe is best.

Students were able to ask questions about their internship experiences in comparison to the executives’ stories and speculate about circumstances that they would need to be proactive about instead of reacting to the situation. Other portions of conversation included culture of a work place and making transitions.

As the hour and a half session continued on with a rich conversation, bonds were made between the students and executives during this experience. Overall, it was a magnificent evening filled with much learning from the wise words of the mentors.

Congratulations, Noel, on your first group mentoring session!


Included below are the meeting minutes:

Meeting Minutes – October 1st, 2013 – 6:30 PM –to 8 PM

Attendance: Noel Girgenti, Ryan Stetz, Theo Filardi, Geoffrey Thomulka, Vina Tailor, Bob Franco, Pat Haverland



–          Students: Major, year,  internships interests, and past internships opportunities

–          Executives: Job descriptions, basic information, graduated major

What’s your journey? How did you get your jobs? What kind of interactions with people got you where you are now?

–          Pat – interactions for entry level positions – eyes and ears open, observation of culture and behavior (“the norm”), organization

  • Job hunting process
    • You are who you are
    • Don’t deviate from your own personality, show who you are à work better when comfortable with self
  • What color is your parachute? à inventory of what you really like to do
  • My journey has been to learn strengths and weaknesses
    • Ask for feedback and work on it
    • Be open to new opportunities and changes à CHANGE IS A GOOD THING


–          Bob – early stages in career are irrelevant to employment now

  • Early jobs give foundation into finding yourself at different companies
    • Was hard to do new things in company – young, wanted to try something else – changed
    • Found a perfect fit at American Express for himself
  • Act and perform like those in different fields à fit in if you need to
  • Know what authority figures want – help them out and make connections
  • Network à make appointments with authorities – convert what you’re working on to something he/she may be interested in later – 5 minutes opportunities – follow up (build advocacy – open new opportunities)

–          Advocates displaced during 9/11 à tried something different

–          Adapt to culture to make a difference

–          Great companies on resume give openings

–          Present self as service to person who has needs NOT candidate

  • Draw from one set of experiences and apply to others
  • ASK THOUGHT-PROVOKING QUESTIONS (way to find what is important to person)
  • Try and solve other person’s problem for them à be a “salesperson” à don’t care about own needs until someone tells you what they need

–          Be flexible in the form – talk to everyone

–          Don’t be the person who is stuck doing something forever when you’re too young à don’t rule out anything until it is an offer

–          Passion does not have a title

Relationships and Culture at Work

–          Pat –

  • When you leave work à sometimes become more personal AFTER leaving work atmosphere
  • Preference between separating the two: work (represent and maintain professional self – people are watching you) and personal

–          Bob – family experience – you may experience love being at work and forget about personal life at times

  • Also understand flip side

–          Pat & Bob – “boring” work now is paying your dues

  • Bob – you’re always doing something positive for the company whether you realize it or not
    • What happens when people are not drawn to their work? à Fear makes people conservative and rigid à not active or imaginative

Why are phone interviews harder?

–          Pat – Body language is 80% of interaction

  • Interviewer cannot get true read of person
  • Just looks at answers not actual engagement or emotions à cannot really express over phone
  • Job candidate can’t tell about the interviewer either

–          Bob – can only show voice

–          Hard to see interest

–          Energy of presence cannot be displayed à face, handshake, etc. that sets you apart


–          Out of comfort zone?

–          Pat – did not like competitive organization with overbearing (“masters of the universe”) people

  • Asked to do things that did not keep with ethical standards
  • “Tone is [actually] set at the top”
  • Company went into “grey zones”
  • Learn something from everything you do
  • Learn how to address without compromising self – say why you don’t want to do something specifically – depend upon own instincts

–          Bob – like to take on challenges and “impossible tasks” – project level equals the comfort required when taking on new tasks

  • Can’t solve something? Be comfortable saying that you can’t do it – say that you are not that person and maybe somebody else can fill in
  • There is a time to say “I’m out”

–          Bob & Pat – never cross a line that has to deal with ethics

  • Rather quit
  • Bob – die on my sword rather than another’s
    • Never felt mistreated – not tied down – see everything as great experience
  • Pat – always save money in case of getting fired or quit
    • Some people want to be elsewhere but need the job that they are in now – only breadwinner in household à Do what they’re told so they don’t ruin opportunity
    • Tell boss exactly what you think – don’t be afraid to stick neck out
    • Have a rainy day fund for situations like theses
  • Bob – even if you don’t have a rainy day fund, don’t let that hold you back from quitting or not doing something unethical

How do we use our leadership skills in entry level positions?

–          Bob – making circumstances better than you found them, can lead ANYONE including boss

  • No formula to be a leader à become you own version à don’t be so mechanized like a textbook

–          Pat – those who are watching will see the qualities you bring to the table

  • Be proactive and collaborate
  • Be objective when judging others (comments, projects worked on, etc.)
    • What characteristics do they have? à Potential? à Want to develop those people that have that potential

Expectations from here:

–          Gain insight on how mind of person in business operates

  • Obstacles to overcome

–          Key take-a-ways

  • Excited by what others go through and what is meant to come for us as students
  • Ethical dilemma problem solving – making best decisions
  • Perspective shifts of the goals of higher-ups
  • Present self as service to others – what you can bring to them
  • Psychological perspectives – what happens when different minds come together –be yourself and be flexible
  • Enlightened us to see different side of the coin besides technical things such as resume, interview, etc.
  • Keep opportunities and options open

–          Talk about what we do in the classroom

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