Please describe your background (i.e. current job, industry, etc.) and what motivated you to join StudentMentor.org?
My name is Arthur Viente and Im a mentor with StudentMentor.org. Im currently the Vice President of Sales for JLA Home Design & Contract, a business focused on textile and home décor sales in the USA. Ive been working in the retail and wholesale business for over 30 years and worked on both sides of the fence. I spent about half my life in the retail channel and the balance in the wholesale channel; and have covered almost every possible position relative to each business channel. I started in retail at 16 (as soon as the state would let me work), and put myself through college by working full time while going to school. Had it not been for my persistent parents, I probably would have dropped out of college and hit the road as a salesman way before I ended up taking that path. As it stands, I finished school with a degree in Radio, Television, and Film, began writing commercials right out of college; hated it, and jumped back into something I loved to do retail. Ive had a very successful career, traveled the world for business, and continue to grow and expand my professional and personal experiences. Ive changed positions every 3 years on average, some due to professional goals and opportunities, some due to economic conditions and performance; and found my diversity of experience provided a more balanced and objective view of both business environments and peoples capabilities. I was doing some work that didnt provide enough one on one contact with either peers or customers, and came across StudentMentor.org. I found in this program an environment for me to share my experiences in an open and objective platform, without concern for judgment. It filled my need to engage with people to help them further develop their goals and aspirations; while at the same time, provide new insight into my own.
What have you been helping the mentee on and how has this experience been for you?
Im a closet teacher, and had money not been a motivator for me early in life, I may have pursued a career in teaching. Consequently, Ive always excelled and enjoyed teaching people throughout my career, and built a reputation as someone to work with if you wanted to develop your skills. Ive been working with mentees through the StudentMentor.org program, focusing on helping these students better understand their passions, organize their thoughts and experiences, and chart a path towards specific goals. Ive enjoyed numerous email conversations exploring what it is they may want to do, what they dream to do, and helping them to avoid traps and diversions based on expectations versus their desires. Its kind of a balancing act between painting a picture of realty while still holding on to their dreams. This experience has allowed me to tap into my past, explore my experiences, and share with others considerations that may not be as apparent to them at an early stage of their career. It’s helped me continue to evaluate my own goals and reminded me that the learning process never ends, and I have as much to learn as I do to teach.
We have also been exploring social media together and learning its value for job searching, career research, and networking.
Would you recommend getting involved with StudentMentor.org to others?
StudentMentor.org has proven beneficial to me, and I believe to those Ive helped so far; and I would recommend it enthusiastically.