Paying forward, one mentor at a time
Paying forward, one mentor at a time
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One plus one can equal endless possibilities when Buckeyes are part of the equation. Consider a story that starts with Edwin Jones.
Before him, actually.
Jones (BSBA ’08, MBA ’15) is a husband, new father and client representative for IBM who lives and works in Columbus. He’s also active in the Alumni Undergraduate Mentor Program at Fisher College of Business, which is how he met Rose Pansick (BSBA ’15).
An advisor in treasury at Cardinal Health, Pansick was still a student when she benefited from Jones’ desire to pay forward for the interest others had shown in him. Now she’s doing likewise for junior finance major Emma Yabs.
See where this is going?
The oldest of three sons of a single mom, Jones says his family was one of modest means, but it was rich in education and the importance placed on it. An accountant by trade, Jones’ mother holds two associate’s degrees, two bachelor’s degrees and an ironclad will for her kids to succeed.
“My mom wouldn’t let me not be successful,” says Jones, whose first exposure to Ohio State came as a high school junior in the Accounting Careers Awareness Program, or ACAP-Ohio. The weeklong experience introduces teens to college life as well as the careers that follow it. The National Association of Black Accountants and Ohio Society of CPAs sponsor the program, and Fisher hosts it.
“I hadn’t seen a university of Ohio State’s scope, with that kind of capability, before participating in ACAP-Ohio,” Jones says.
That up-close view led him to enroll as a student the next year and, before even earning his bachelor’s degree, he’d begun an 11-year stint of giving back to ACAP-Ohio that continues today. When the opportunity to get involved in the Alumni Undergraduate Mentor Program arose, Jones jumped at that, too. He met Pansick her sophomore year.
“I feel like I’ve known Rose forever,” says Jones, who like Pansick describes their relationship as informal, rewarding and real. “I don’t know what’s right or wrong; I just know what worked for me.”
Over the course of years and situations, their conversations have covered résumés, job interviews, work challenges and more.
“My mentors have made those conversations available to me, and I can make them available to others. It’s addictive to see someone be successful and to know you’ve had a part in that, large or small.”
Pansick still recalls her first meeting with Jones (when he picked up the coffee tab) and the second one (when she tried to).
“He said no. He said, ‘When you’re out of school and able to, you pay forward to someone else.’"
“Edwin has helped shape both my college experience and my business career,” she says. “The best way to give back to him is to try to make a positive impact on other people. And for the two of us, if there’s something exciting to share or that we want to know about, one of us reaches out, and we just pick up where we left off.”
Pansick has let Yabs know she’s up for those chats, too.
“She’s always there for me to talk to,” says Yabs, describing her conversations with Pansick as falling into three broad categories: careers for finance majors like them, professional communications and the balance of her school, work and social lives.
Already a mentor to two first-year students, Yabs one day hopes to reverse her role in the Fisher program through which she met Pansick.
“Experiencing this type of relationship and seeing the value in it makes me want to be a mentor and have a relationship like Rose and I do,” Yabs says.
This story originally appeared in Ohio State Alumni Magazine.
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It’s addictive to see someone be successful and to know you’ve had a part in that, large or small.”
MBA '15)Alumni Undergraduate Mentor
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