SOURCE RW’s Mentor Connect program is a free mentor program that matches clients to qualified, vetted, seasoned professionals. Mentors and mentees work together to solve specific problems and to generate ideas to grow and expand the mentees’ businesses.
Have you ever thought about what qualities make for a stellar mentor? A great mentor is someone who will:
1) Care about and invest in your professional growth
2) Share a similar value system in leadership and management
3) Speak the truth
Meet mentor professional, Leanne Emery
We couldn’t be happier to have an experienced mentor professional, Leanne Emery, involved with Mentor Connect. Leanne is a Certified Mentor from SCORE Association, a nonprofit association supported by SBA, of thousands of volunteer business counselors throughout the U.S. and its territories. Leanne sits on the Mentor Connect committee and is helping to guide and shape the SOURCE RW Mentoring program.
Leanne Emery came to SOURCE RW after recently retiring from SCORE Indianapolis Chapter 6. While with SCORE, she worked as a Certified Mentor Trainer and trained SCORE’s volunteer mentors. In addition to training SCORE mentors in best practices, Leanne also served as the Membership Chair and actively recruited other individuals wishing to volunteer. Leanne’s mentoring experience is mainly in working with individuals wishing to start their own businesses and her specialty is non-profits. With a passion for entrepreneurship and personal ties to the Near West neighborhoods, SOURCE RW is a natural fit for Leanne’s experience, talents, and skills.
Leanne was kind enough to answer a few questions for us about her involvement with SOURCE RW Mentor Connect, as well as her background as an entrepreneur.
What do you hope clients get out of a mentoring session?
A sense of connectedness to me as a mentor who is interested in their success and willing to support, as well as suggestions on moving forward.
What made you interested in business ownership?
I was most interested in providing a quality service to my clients and a healthy environment for staff to grow. I also focused on a specific vision with direction that fostered growth, nurturing, and empowerment to clients and staff as they worked together.
What have you enjoyed most about being a business owner?
Watching our clients reach a 96% success rate when the expected success rate was 90%. The enthusiasm of staff as they worked with the clients and as they grew together as a staff.
What have you enjoyed least about owning my own business?
My biggest was the annual grant writing process because it was time consuming and I did it myself. The second was having to confront and discharge two employees who hindered our business.
Was there a point when you wanted to quit?
There were times my husband and I were stressed due to cash flow, but we never thought of quitting, because of our commitment. The only reason we closed the business was because our contract was cut to the extent that we would have had to make major changes in our program which meant a poorer quality and we were not willing to do that.
Was there ever a point when you realized you had “made it”?
We had points when we knew things were going well, however since most of our work came from grants we were very aware of the volatility of those. We were a small business and really had no desire to become a huge organization which may have been our downfall, but it was our choice and we are extremely pleased with the one of a kind services we provided.
If you could tell aspiring business owners just one thing before their journey – that you had wished you had known prior to starting your journey – what would that be?
First and foremost, have a mentor. I was fortunate, however, what I wish I had known was that it is a slow process to build a business into one that pays your bills in full and sustains itself so be financially savvy always.