by StreetWise Partners

Monday, July 10th, 2023


To create the career you want, focus on the many small moments of learning and growth. That’s the message we heard from StreetWise mentee Emily Almodovar and her mentor, Gagan Vaseer. 


“The way to approach a career is by slowly working towards it,” says Gagan. “It’s the daily minutia of progress, the incremental chipping away at a roadblock or strengthening a skill, that gets you where you want to be.” 


Emily agrees. “You have to take baby steps,” she says. “Every step of the way is important to the journey towards an attainable goal and vision of where I can get to.” 


In working with Gagan as her mentor, Emily has pushed herself out of her comfort zone and gotten more confident interviewing, networking, and setting attainable goals for her next career move. Here’s a look at how they’ve worked together on this journey. 


Getting out of her comfort zone 


Emily was working at Sweetgreen when she first heard about StreetWise from a coworker. She knew she wanted to move into a different career, but never had practice interviewing and networking, or building a strong resume. StreetWise gave her the opportunity to hone those skills. 


As an introvert, learning to give an elevator pitch and speak in more professional environments was especially challenging for Emily. But the one-on-one time with Gagan offered a supportive environment to put herself out there and practice.   


“In every coaching session, she was pushing herself to get more out of her comfort zone,” says Gagan. He focused on helping Emily get more comfortable talking about herself and communicating her “transferable skills” – skills she’s already learned on the job at Sweetgreen. 


“Before, she was hesitant to share her successes and strengths,” he says. “Now she’s better able to talk about the great work she’s done and interview in a corporate setting.”  


Even if she felt nervous, shares Emily, she took Gagan’s advice and went for it. “If I don’t try, how do I know?” she says. “I remind myself that I can always be better than I am today, and that getting through this challenge will bring me to my next step of growth, step by step.” 


Making a career move at the right time 


Along with getting comfortable talking about herself, Emily also worked with Gagan on setting attainable goals: How do you make the right career move at the right time? When have you learned enough in your current role so that you’re ready to pivot to the next thing? Where can your skillset lead you? How can we work towards that together?  


Today, Emily is working as a manager at Sweetgreen, which she sees as an opportunity to grow her leadership skills. While she’s looking at open roles and narrowing down her job searches, she’s taking things slowly and being deliberate with her job search.  


According to Gagan, Emily understands the career process is not something you rush into. “Her slow-and-steady approach of learning everything that she can and approaching it in a methodical way works really well and shows a level of confidence and self-reflection,” he says. “Emily knows what’s going to be good for her and what will align with her skills.” 


Getting the most out of the mentoring relationship 


Asked what advice they’d offer other mentees, Emily says to stay adaptable and open “because change is always occurring and you never know what you can produce or where a moment can take you.”  


Gagan says it’s important to show up every meeting ready to engage: “When one person is fully committed, the other person is committed as well.” 


He also emphasizes that mentees and mentors alike must not be afraid to ask for help; people want to share their experience and expertise. “We all have expertise in something,” he says, “and we can all help in some form or fashion. Every cycle, I find out more about what I can provide to others.” 


Every cycle, he also finds out what he can learn from others, like seeing Emily email strangers to network and being reminded that he, too, should follow suit. “This program helps mentees, but mentors grow a lot from doing it as well,” he says. 


Join the StreetWise community 

Success shows up in many ways through the StreetWise program, including skills and confidence gained, and incremental wins that fuel new opportunities and careers. Emily and Gagan are just one of many pairs of mentors who have teamed up to deliver on this promise. Are you next? 


Learn more about being a mentee.  


Learn more about being a mentor. We’re recruiting mentors in a range of industries, including tech, marketing, HR, finance, and accounting for the Fall 2023 Cycle.  

Be greater. Give back. Be a catalyst. Lead the charge. This is your time.

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