Why We Volunteer to Mentor Business Owners
Nilda Thomas is a Certified Volunteer Mentor with the Southeast Michigan chapter of SCORE. A longtime consultant in both technology and marketing, Nilda is a talented, knowledgeable and very active mentor with SCORE. Here are four questions and four answers (4x4) that shed light on why Nilda chose to give back of her time and wisdom.
Why did you decide to serve as a volunteer mentor with SCORE?
I became a SCORE mentor because there weren't many women mentors or people of color when I came on board. As a business owner/entrepreneur myself, and having a unique skill set in understanding business, marketing and technology and how it all works together, coupled with my experience in the corporate world, I wanted to share my expertise to help others succeed. I'm a "big-picture" thinker and very strategic, so I am able to help put things in perspective and provide a roadmap for my mentee to follow. I believe in giving back, as I have had people help me along the way. It gives me great joy to see mentees follow through and get results from my recommendations.
What has been your greatest area of fulfillment you’ve received since starting your mentorship service with SCORE?
My greatest fulfillment was seeing my very first mentee push to make her dreams come true. She made the Forbes 30 Under 30 List, opened a studio, and started a nonprofit arm to her business, giving back to the community and mentoring herself to school-age children, exposing them to STEM careers.
Entrepreneurs often refer to “a-ha moments” when being mentored by SCORE volunteers. What was a recent a-ha moment one of our clients had that you think will have an impact on the success of his or her future endeavors?
I believe the "a-ha moment" for the aforementioned mentee was the importance of identifying customer personas before planning the go-to-market strategy. We eventually identified four personas and created different messaging for all four of them. Also, a common a-ha moment is when mentees learn to be flexible when things change.
What’s been the biggest surprise?
The biggest surprise was the number of business owners who had not heard of SCORE and our resources. It's like it was the best-kept secret! I'm glad I was able to play a part in helping provide insight in developing personas and marketing strategies to the organization.
About the Mentor:
Nilda G. Thomas, MBA has more than 20 years of experience in technology, serving in senior marketing roles at Deloitte, Microsoft, AT&T, and EDS, where she helped to launch the Distance Learning Services Group in the late 90s and became fascinated with the technology. After several corporate downsizings, she launched her first business, NGT Marketing Group LLC, a marketing consultancy to help small businesses and nonprofits leverage new marketing and technology trends. In 2007, her fascination with eLearning prompted her to launch International Forensics eLearning Academy LLC, providing online training to first responders with courses in information technology, homeland security, security guard training, firefighters, and EMT. However, it was too soon to the market and people weren't ready to adopt online training. Fast forward to 2019: she still had a dream to provide online training and relaunched the company as Workforce eTraining Solutions LLC (WETS) with a vision of providing access to online career and technical training to minorities, women, youth, veterans and underserved communities. WETS is a distributor of web-based learning technologies including virtual classes webinar training software, work-based learning programs, Virtual Instructor-Led (VILT) on-demand online education, eLearning, and Instructor-Led course content. The company provides courses in information technology, Microsoft, career, professional and leadership development, human resources, small business, and more.
As an advocate, she believes e-learning helps to bridge the digital divide. In 2000, she was featured in Black Enterprise and was quoted, “If we don’t embrace it [technology] as a people, we’re going to be left behind. We need to embrace and be afforded the opportunities to take advantage of the way we learn technology so we can become more marketable in the workforce.” She was also featured in Hispanic Women in Business and Women in e-Commerce magazines. Additionally, she has served on several boards and serves as a trusted advisor to senior corporate and philanthropic executives. WETS is a woman-owned minority company.
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