by StreetWise Partners

January 6th, 2023

As part of National Mentoring Month, we’ll be sharing stories throughout January to offer a look into the mentoring relationship — from the perspective of both mentees and mentors. First up is mentee Shade Rodriguez and her co-mentors Gagan Vaseer and Ben Stanley.  

College student Shade Rodriguez wasn’t sure what the future held. The Bronx native had worked in retail and at a senior center, but wasn’t clear how that experience translated into a career. “Every time I thought about my future and what I was going to do with my life I felt defeated,” she said. That changed when she joined StreetWise Partners as a mentee.  


StreetWise Partners paired Shade with two co-mentors: Gagan Vaseer, a programme management officer at the United Nations, and Ben Stanley, senior manager of Strategy & Ventures at Sesame Workshop. Together, Gagan and Ben helped Shade understand how her skills were applicable to a  role in marketing, gain confidence in talking about her experience, and finalize her resume to apply to summer internships. “Something I’m very proud of is how much confidence I’ve developed talking more about my future career goals and plans,” said Shade. 


StreetWise Partners recently recognized Shade, Gagan, and Ben at the NYC Fall 2022 Graduation ceremony. They were awarded the Mentor/Mentee Pair of the Fall 2022 Cycle for working well together, committing to the program and to each other, and consistently going above and beyond program requirements.  


As Ben explained, “A lot of our role is less tactical and more about offering perspective, talking through things, and providing an open, empathetic ear. I’ve loved watching Shade gain confidence in her qualifications and her ability to articulate them.” 


Gagan agrees: “Shade’s resume has transformed into a work of art during our engagement. Not only does it reflect the best of her skills and experiences, but she has developed great knowledge in how to craft and reshape such documents to best highlight her successes. She owns her voice, and speaks and writes with greater confidence and self-awareness now, which I think will carry her very far.” 


Shade is already on that path. With an excellent resume in hand, she is applying for several marketing internships and hopes to land an opportunity for the summer. She plans to continue her mentorship and hopes to give back to the community. As Shade explained, “I think about what I can change within marketing and how it can be used to better people around me.” 


Interested in joining StreetWise Partners as a mentee or a mentor? Submit your name and email address below and we’ll get in touch. 


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