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Students and Sales Executives See Significant Value in Baylor ProSales Mentor Program

Feb. 19, 2014

Mentor Program

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Over 40 sales executives currently serve as mentors for the Professional Selling Program

Baylor University's Center for Professional Selling has launched a mentor program for current students, pairing young salespersons with sales veterans to help prepare ProSales students for future success both personally and professionally.

The mentor program consists of 50 students (mentees) and over 40 sales leaders (mentors). The mentors advise and work with mentees on different goals. They are encouraged to, first and foremost, listen to the objectives and aspirations of the mentee and help determine the primary challenges in attaining those goals. The mentors set clear expectations and commitments from the mentee to ensure the mentorship relationship is productive and helpful.

According to a survey of current mentors and mentees in the program, the relationships have helped students clarify what business best suits them, increased the students' level of confidence, provided valuable insights and perspective into the sales profession and put the students in a position to be successful in their future endeavors.

The ProSales mentors are talented sales professionals who exhibit dedication to the coaching process. "I welcomed the opportunity to help these young people make the transition from student to business professional. I have been around in the business world for many years and thought that sharing my experiences might help them accelerate their learning curve," said Jack Trimm, a mentor and director of Human Resources at AFFLINK, a global leader in supply chain optimization based in Tuscaloosa, AL.

"I want to help build a level of confidence that will help the student in any circumstance he will face while a student, as well as after he gets into the work world. I want him to realize that there are people who sincerely want to see him succeed and are willing to spend a little time to make sure that happens," said Trimm.

Trimm described the relationship with his mentee like a big brother. "I want to be someone he feels comfortable asking questions, seeking advice from, or just talking with when he needs someone's ear."

Britney Wekesser, a 2009 Baylor ProSales graduate and organizational leader for the Plano (TX) Walmart, is also serving as a mentor for current students. "I have developed a passion for helping others pursue their dreams in the confines of a professional career," said Wekesser. "It is a true blessing to impact a student's life while getting a front row seat into her professional career. Mentorship doesn't stop after graduation, it is a life-long partnership."

"The ProSales mentor program guides students through the job search process while offering strategic and innovative practices to become a successful and competitive business-savvy individual," said Wekesser.

The value of these relationships cannot be overstated for students gain different perspectives and engage with empathetic sales leaders. "Students often want, and need, to be able to confide in someone outside their authority structure. They often want to be able to network with someone who is actually doing what they want to do and may have faced exactly the same circumstances they are facing," said Trimm.

Mentors have been impressed with the quality of Baylor's ProSales program as well as the current students. "I have business relationships with a number of universities that have sales programs. I can say without hesitation that the Baylor ProSales students are the best prepared students I have seen", said Trimm. "They are obviously taught how to present themselves professionally and they show a level of self-confidence that is hard to find in college students these days."

Mentees are also encouraged to be an active partner in the relationship by identifying specific challenges they face and being honest about their strengths and weaknesses. A mentee's ultimate goal is to build a strong relationship with a mentor while striving to improve.

Lindsey Regan, a junior ProSales student and current mentee from West Lake Hills, TX has found great value in her mentor relationship so far. "I have been able to learn from someone who has experience in my field of interest," said Regan. "I have a source of expertise to reach out to when I need advice. I've gained communication skills, learned how to effectively set goals and I've learned what to expect once I graduate."

"Having a mentor is important to me because I have someone to whom I can turn to ask questions about my future. Because he has experience in the sales field, I can draw many lessons and ideas from his insight," said Robert McCandlish, a junior ProSales student and current mentee from Westminster, CO. This is not McCandlish's first mentor relationship and he doesn't take this opportunity for granted. "My pastor growing up was an outstanding mentor to me," he said.

McCandlish has also absorbed a great deal from his mentor in a short time. "I have learned that there is always something I can do to set myself apart from other salespeople. I have to go the extra mile to be successful," said McCandlish. "Mr. Trimm has taught me that practice makes perfect in everything that I do. The more I practice, the more confident I become. I can rely on him to give me honest and constructive feedback."

About the Center for Professional Selling

Dedicated to excellence in sales education and based in the university's Hankamer School of Business, the Center for Professional Selling is recognized as one of the premier global information resources for the sales profession. For more information on the Center for Professional Selling, visit http://www.baylor.edu/business/selling.

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