Last fall a wave of students in pinstripes and pantsuits streamed into a Hinckley Center conference room hoping to answer a question that is sobering for any twentysomething on the verge of graduation: “Where do I go from here?”
The question was fielded in turn by a most valuable audience: members of the BYU President’s Leadership Council (PLC). Made up of CEOs, real estate developers, lawyers, the list goes on—the PLC is full of individuals who give to BYU, and not just financially. Through the PLC Mentoring Experience, PLC members are sharing their experiences and wisdom with ambitious students who are just getting their start.
Take Jermaine Carroll (’08), a student who has spent the last four years simultaneously earning his MBA and JD. “Everyone wants to know what I’m going to do when I finish in April,” he told Jack Wheatley, his PLC mentor. “I tell them I’m going to take a nap.” Wheatley, a successful commercial contractor and major BYU donor, nods with fatherly interest.
In another corner, David A. Nearon, a lawyer who heads his own law firm, and his wife, Linda, advise a young law student with ambitions to establish a non-governmental organization in Bolivia. David S. Christensen (BS ’80) and Jay Wadman, two commercial real estate developers who preside over their own construction firms, teach real estate–minded students about segregating financial risks. And Richard L. Thawley, cochair of the World Financial Group, and his wife, Cindy, speak to a young married couple about balancing a family and graduate work.
“These people are excellent role models for us,” says Carroll, who is mentored not only by Wheatley, but also by H. Brent Beesley (BA ’69), CEO of Heritage Savings Bank. “It is a priceless opportunity to talk to those who have gone before and who have been successful in their professions, family life, and Church service.”
PLC mentors counsel the same group of students at least twice annually, following the students through their junior and senior years.