“It’s clear that we need mentors to guide us, because they have been there, and they have lasted and succeeded.”
These are the words of Nebo Zlatic, an accounting, finance and international business honors student who participated in a mentoring program offered in the College of Business at Florida International University (FIU). Mentor and FIU President’s Council member Patricio Perez, partner, McGladrey LLP, and Zlatic, his mentee, shared their reactions to a relationship that provided an enriching experience for each of them.
BizNews: Why did you decide to participate in mentoring at FIU Business?
Perez: Becoming a mentor was an easy decision. As much as we accomplish individually, we must always appreciate that no one ever succeeds without assistance and guidance from others at different points in their lives. Acknowledging this simple fact and my admiration for what FIU is attempting to accomplish with this program were my motivation to serve as a mentor.
Zlatic: I saw the opportunity as a way to increase the depth of my thinking approach, to understand processes within organizations better, to learn what values are most needed in an individual, to learn how to implement those values, and finally to understand myself better in order to be a growing individual not just in a business environment, but in life as well.
BizNews: What were your expectations?
Perez: As much as I supported the program in theory, I was also a little skeptical to start. My skepticism subsided and my eagerness increased after one conversation with Nebo, an individual who has much to offer and who is already accomplished. He was clearly motivated going into this program and that motivated me further to be the best resource I could be for him.
Zlatic: I hoped to receive guidance in connection to what I want to achieve, to have someone I can turn to whether in ups or downs, to increase and sustain my motivation to do and keep doing great things, and to learn the path toward becoming a well-rounded individual.
BizNews: What have you enjoyed most about the experience?
Perez: What I enjoyed most was the opportunity to meet and interact with a young professional, especially one of Nebo’s caliber.
Zlatic: I have enjoyed every single meeting I have had with Patricio. I have always walked out with an increased sense of hope, increased sense of understanding the world, increased motivation, simply a great deal of fulfillment.
BizNews: How do you feel having a mentor helps a person in his or her career?
Perez: I was very fortunate to have people in my life throughout the years to mentor and advise me. The business world can pull you in different directions. Some of those directions are competing and conflicting interests. My mentors have offered me outside perspectives that always take me back to being true to myself.
Zlatic: I don’t think words can describe the tremendous impact a mentor can have on a student and his or her future. Patricio has given me more than I expected and what I asked for—he understood me—and I thank him for that.