By Noel Mayeske, Marketing Manager
For 14 years, from 1994 to 2008, I ran a mentorship program in partnership with Atlanta Public Schools at my former company, Carter. With hundreds of students completing the program, what I didn’t anticipate was that one of my former mentees would eventually become a colleague.
I had the opportunity to mentor Curtis Edgar in 1999, when he was in the third grade at Capitol View Elementary. We’d meet every other week to discuss career ideas, and I organized Career Day at his school. I brought him to work a number of times, and he began to take an interest in graphic design. Later, I mentored him again in the fifth grade, and we continued our relationship.
When he and the other mentees graduated and went on to middle school, that was usually it – we’d get a new group of kids the next year and didn’t see the older ones again. But one day in 2013, while waiting to board MARTA, I heard a familiar voice asking, “Excuse me, Mr. Mayeske?” and it was Curtis, now an adult and just finishing up his degree in graphic design from Westwood College.
Since his graduation, we’ve been meeting for lunch periodically. I have connected him with various freelance opportunities to help broaden his network and build up his portfolio, and he’s done lots of his own networking.
Recently, Cushman & Wakefield’s Capital Markets division in Atlanta needed a freelancer. Curtis had built up a powerful portfolio of work during the past several years, so I connected him to the team. He’s been doing a great job, and is continually getting more work from the team. It’s been pretty cool seeing a person who used to be a (much shorter) 8-year-old, now doing a great job in my field… here at my own workplace!