Business and educational leaders from Clermont County and across the tri-state met with Great Oaks/Batavia High School Business Management students recently for a round of “speed mentoring.”  The students spent seven minutes discussing their future goals and plans with a volunteer mentor; then got up and started the process again with another.  Seventy-four students met with twenty-one mentors throughout the morning. The speed mentoring process gives students a chance to practice interacting with potential employers and to get advice in a variety of career fields.  The student’s business management instructor arranges for the event to come to Batavia every year.  This year it was organized with Heather Frye from the Clermont County Chamber of Commerce.

Survey comments after the event complimented the students’ preparation, communication skills, and confidence.  “They were very professional meeting new people and interacting with us. Many of them were prepared with great questions, even if my career didn’t match their interests. They were extremely polite and interactive even after two hours,’ said Arline Pique of the Hamilton County Education Service Center.  John Conlon, Employment Coordinator with Great Oaks Career Campuses was impressed as well. “They were very attentive, demonstrating a high degree of professionalism and maturity, especially considering they are just high school students! It was apparent that the students were well prepared for the event, took it seriously, and were there to learn. I left impressed by what I experienced at Batavia High School.”

The Business Management program is taught by Angie Kovacs. “When they leave my class, I want them to know what to expect and how to be successful outside of school. Eventually, they go from an atmosphere where they have to ask to go to the bathroom and have most decisions made for them to one where they have to think for themselves. This process gives them a sense of reality because they are talking to mentors who have taken ownership of the decisions they have made throughout their career,” said Kovacs.

Stacey Sandfoss of Fitzgerald’s Pharmacy noticed that the students were on a good path the achieve this, “They all made good eye contact, pleasantly answered questions, seemed to have more awareness of the realities of being in the workforce.”

Several opportunities arose from the event.  Many mentors will be helping students with business projects and a few students secured employment opportunities through follow-up communication. Stephanie Felts of the Tri-State Warbird Museum was also able to recruit a group of volunteers for the museum’s Fly-in with Santa on December 14th.

Students appreciated the opportunity. “The people seemed genuinely interested in what they were telling us and gave good advice that we can actually use,” said junior Issac Hattar.

Landon Young also had a good experience, “I liked how it boosted my confidence in general for interviewing skills and the mentors really helped me thing of life after high school.”

The Business Management program is a satellite program of Great Oaks Career Campuses offered in partnership with Batavia High School.