As the LMU women's basketball team gears up for the 2017-18 season, the Lion women hosted a Mentor Madness event to tip off the second year of team's mentor program. The event provided an opportunity for the student-athletes to hear influential stories and interact with their mentors in a small-group setting. Each mentor shared background information to the group and then round table discussions were held for more close-knit conversation.
This event serves as the start of the mentor program each season. Following Mentor Madness, each student-athlete was paired up with a mentor and they build a professional relationship throughout the year facilitated by special receptions and events.
"This mentor program has become one of my favorite and most impactful programs we do with our players," Lions head coach Charity Elliott said. "Watching our players get excited about their futures and get connected with such amazing, strong, successful women is something that I hope impacts them forever. We are so grateful for our mentors' commitment to give back and impact the next generation of women."
The Mentor Madness Event was a positive experience for LMU women's basketball players, coaches, and the mentors involved as well.
"The event was a great opportunity to meet and spend time with the players, to find out more about their career interests and their aspirations for the future," mentor Marie Feldman said. "A variety of thoughtful and intelligent questions were asked, which really showed the team's commitment to dealing with upcoming life challenges, as well as their desire to succeed."
Feldman, a registered dietician, certified diabetes educator and health coach is the author of The Big Book of Diabetes Recipes and also writes her own nutrition blog.
"Meeting with the mentors during our event was an incredible experience," junior guard/forward Cheyanne Wallace said. "It was amazing to get a chance to be in the presence of such powerful and independent women and hearing their stories and backgrounds was inspiring. It is a great feeling to know that there are strong women out there willing to help and guide us as we search for our careers and chase our dreams."
"I really enjoyed the mentor event because it gave us the opportunity to hear from and connect with successful women that have been in our shoes before," sophomore guard Cierra Belvin said. "They helped remind us that everyone's path to success will be different, but we will eventually end up where we are supposed to be."
The mentor program helps provide LMU women's basketball players with support toward building their futures in a positive way. It allows the team's players to learn from influential women across several industries.
"Attending the mentor madness event was something I was looking forward to from the moment I was asked to participate in the mentorship program," mentor Marianna Villa said. "Once there I was humbled by the experience in ways I had not anticipated. The coaching staff planned and executed an event that allowed for open dialogue and safe sharing, opportunities to meet every member of the team, staff and volunteers, and we left knowing what our goals and expectations were and had future plans for engagement."
Villa is the senior director of development at Loyola Marymount University. She earned a bachelor's degree in psychology from LMU and has developed a successful career in higher education while volunteering with several significant causes in her spare time.
The Mentor Madness event was a major success for the LMU women's basketball team. The squad tips off the 2017-18 season with an exhibition game at home on Tuesday, Nov. 7 vs. Occidental at 7 p.m. The team's regular season home opener is on Tuesday, Nov. 21 vs. Arizona at 7 p.m.
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