The Meet & Greet with Mentors event was full of firsts: the first meeting between Guttman’s Women of Gratitude, Resilience, Integrity, and Talent (GRIT) and their new professional mentors; the first step by the mentors and mentees into their respective roles; and the official kick-off to the 2018-2019 Women of GRIT mentorship cycle. The mentors – social workers Krisbill Gonzalez and Sabrina Sarro, nurse Latoya Thomas, and public relations and engagement specialist Lavita McMath Turner – embody the Women of GRIT’s mission to impart academic, personal, professional, community, and leadership development to young college women. As of this Meet & Greet, these incredible women have been playing important roles in the lives of the Women of GRIT.
After graduating from The CityCollege of New York with a B.A. in psychology and sociology, Krisbill Gonzalez has worked to improve the quality of life for individuals and communities. Ms. Gonzalez provides social services to senior citizens at the Mitchell Senior Center in the South Bronx. Sabrina Sarro, who holds an LMSW from the Columbia School of Social Work, is a Community School Coordinator for the Queens Community House and is involved in program development, parent outreach, and resource recruitment at Queens Satellite High School for Opportunity. Ms. Sarro is also a part-time therapist at Aldea Counseling Services. Latoya Thomas is an LPN with the Jewish Board for Family and Children’s Services, where she works with the adolescent population at a residential treatment center. Ms. Thomas is currently pursuing her license as a registered nurse. As Guttman’s Academic Executive Officer, Lavita McMath Turner continues a career dedicated to inclusion, community, advocacy, and service. Before joining Guttman, Ms. McMath Turner was the first Director of Government Relations at Kingsborough Community College, the first Director of Kingsborough’s Center for Civic Engagement, and the Government Relations Officer at the Brooklyn Museum.
The Women of GRIT’s committed leadership – Co-Founders Dr. Tracy Daraviras and Ms. Victoria Romero, Co-Coordinator Ms. Patricia Jean, and Executive Committee member Dean Nicola Blake – facilitated the introductions and presented the expectations for participating in the mentorship program. Mentorship is shown to be one of the most effective practices for cultivating self-esteem, personal well-being, and professional advancement among college students and recent graduates, especially women and people of color.
Event attendees also reviewed the calendar of prescheduled events and discussed engaging ways for mentors to provide guidance, such as panels, presentations, and shadowing opportunities.After dinner and more conversation, the students confirmed their interest and dedication to the program in writing. Hopefully leading to influential connections and essential relationships for this Women of GRIT cohort, the bonding had begun!