FWSF Scholarship Mentoring Program — Behind the Scenes with FWSF Board Mentorship Co-Chair, Krystle Chow


Krystle ChowKrystle, how does the scholarship mentoring program work? 

The scholarship mentoring program pairs each scholarship recipient with a personal mentor. Each mentoring relationship is unique and customized to the needs of the mentee and mentor involved depending on their goals. The structured mentoring program lasts for one year beginning with the receipt of the scholarship award. There are typically two to three fun group events such as a luncheon, or most recently a session with a personal branding coach on fashion for the workplace. Some mentees and mentors continue to keep in touch for months or years after the first mentoring year.

Why is the mentoring program such an important part of the FWSF scholarship benefits?

One scholarship recipient said the money is very much appreciated, but it goes quickly out of their hands toward tuition payments. Mentoring, on the other hand, can be long lasting and provide meaningful connection and career advice.

How are scholarship mentors chosen (or assigned)?

The pairing process is based on the top three choices from both the mentee and mentor perspective. Criteria such as school, job function or dream job, favorite class in school, hobbies, favorite vacation spot, and other fun personal facts are used for the pairing. There is usually a very good match between mentees and mentors, almost always resulting in the pairing being one of the top three choices for both the mentor and mentee.

What is the value of mentoring for the scholarship winners?

Shelby Duncan, a former scholarship winner and FWSF board member, shared the following about her experience as a mentee.

  • I had a diversified experience as a mentee and was partnered with various women throughout FWSF who were able to provide their unique points of view based on their industry, focus, age, and background, which helped me to identify my interests within the financial services industry.
  • I was able to develop a long-term, meaningful personal and professional relationship with my main mentor — we still talk regularly and I consider her a confidant. As time has passed, I have also been able to help her work through some of her challenges; it feels great to be able to give back.
  • Mentorship relationships can and should be reciprocal. While the mentor may be traditionally more successful, knowledgeable, or experienced, the mentee, often the younger member in the relationship, can provide valuable insight about trends, technology, and provide creative solutions to traditional business problems.

How does someone get to be a scholarship mentor? 

First, you need to be a member of FWSF! Many of the 13 current mentors this year are FWSF board members and have also served as mentors in the past. These women have personal and career experience they are able to share and a continued interest in mentoring and development new scholarship recipients.

  • We asked a number of our current mentors to share their thoughts as to some of the ways the mentors/mentees continue to stay connected after the official scholarship mentoring period ends. 
  • Pat Hudson, the FWSF Secretary, has had been a mentor to 10 mentees over the last decade. She has continued to keep in touch with most of them, including scheduling lunches and dinners to catch up. Additionally, when they have come to turning points in their careers, several of her mentees have reached out to her for recommendation letters, reviews of essays, email drafts, etc., and her advice about the opportunities presented to them.  As she tells them: “Once a mentee, always a mentee.”
  • Anne Chambers, a former FWSF President, and currently the VP of Fundraising and FWSF Scholarship Fund chair, shares that two of her mentees, Vineetha Mummadi and Barbara Janczer, are now FWSF Board members, so she sees them at board meetings and for lunch as time and schedules permit. Barbara’s journey from scholarship winner, to mentee, to FWSF Board member and the Technology Chair, will be the subject of an article in the next newsletter.
  • Lori McKenzie, vice president, Sales & Consultant Relations | Western Region, Charles Schwab & Co., Inc., has been a long-time mentor. She invites all of her former and current mentees to an annual holiday happy hour. They meet in downtown San Francisco for a glass of wine. Over the years, it’s been fun for her to connect with her mentees. She also hosted a tea party in January and invited her former and current mentees, along with a few other young women, to help them all connect. It turns out that Pat was inspired by Lori’s annual holiday party to host an event herself. She had a brunch at her house last November which connected two of her mentees, who, despite both being students at Berkeley, had never met.

We are all proud of our FWSF scholarship recipients/mentees during "their year.” It is also very inspiring to stay in touch with these wonderful young women as they grow. 

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