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A Selby gentleman, lady, and scholar

Last week, I had the pleasure and the honor of participating in the William G. (the gentleman) and Marie (the lady) Selby Foundation annual Selby Scholar Symposium, held at Michael’s on East.

The Symposium is an annual event that connects “mentors” from the community with “scholar” students from the local school systems who are attending college in Florida and beyond. The Foundation helps these students with scholarships — which is tremendously important, but also connects them with people from their own community who work or volunteer in fields that relate to what the student is studying.
My Selby Scholar was a lovely — beautiful, in fact — very bright, poised young woman named Alexis who graduated from Riverview High School, and is studying Journalism and Political Science at UCF.

This is the second year I’ve been asked to participate in the program and I love it — it’s so rewarding to sit with a young student and listen to his or her hopes and dreams and then give them ideas, advice, pointers, and my special “don’t make the same mistakes I did” mini-lecture. Alexis was very gracious when I chattered on and on — I told her as a freelance writer I don’t get away from my ball and chain at-home computer too often so when I do — I talk … a lot!

There was a tremendous crowd at the event — I was seated with BIZ941 Editor Susan Burns, Mayor Kelly Kirschner and City Manager Richard Bartolotta (luckily, this was a few days before Kirschner gave Bartolotta a poor grade in the City Commissioners’ annual review session).

Organized by Selby Foundation President Dr. Sarah H. Pappas (along with an incredible support team who helped her pull the large event off without a hitch — and amazingly, given the big crowd, mid-day schedule, and people coming from all over the area — started and ended on time!) the event also raised several thousand dollars and collected a sizable donation of food goods for All Faiths Food Bank.

Other familiar faces included Williams Parker Attorney Dan Bailey, Chef Derek Barnes, Sarasota Herald-Tribune Prez Diane McFarlin, Architect Guy Peterson, CAP “Brandtrepreneur” Sam Stern, Janice Zarro, Exec Director of The Women’s Resource Center, and Ringling Pres Larry Thompson. And that’s just a smattering of the many, many talented folks from the community who signed on to mentor the young people who — who knows? — might wind up in their mentors’ shoes some day. Literally there was everyone from medical examiners to school principals to pharmacy owners, to artists, professors, bankers, construction industry bigwigs, and nurses.

Keynote speaker was Beverly Alter who gave us fascinating insights into the differences between generations of workers in the current workforce — a 22 year-old working with a 63-year old is going to have dramatically different expectations, desires, and context for interaction and vice versa. Was especially helpful for me because one of my biggest clients has a workforce of over 350 people — some who think email is an archaic communication tool, some who think Twitter is for nitwits. Since I help that company communicate internally — it was a lot of food for thought.

Overall, the Symposium was an incredibly productive event that wasn’t just “feel-good” — it was “do-good” on so many levels — for the scholar students themselves, the hungry in our community, and for the mentors who got to spend a little part of their year helping others begin their young, ambitious climb up the ladder of whatever kind of success matters to them most.

And none of it would have been possible without the original gentleman and lady (the Selbys) whose generosity way back when is still fueling dreams and realities in the millennium.

Posted on January 4th, 2011Comments RSS Feed
3 Responses to A Selby gentleman, lady, and scholar
  1. M.C.
    Bravo, you captured the essence of the Selby Scholar luncheon in both substance and tone.

    My talented mentee, a student from Columbia University, was my inspiration. She was filled with energy, varied interests and I know will be a valued leader in our global future. Our future is in great hands with this dynamic young woman!

    It was my honor to be with all of you.
    Best, Janice

  2. Thanks for the note, Janice — I’ve heard from several of the mentors who mentioned the same “take-away” that you experienced — that they were inspired by their mentees. I felt the same way — kind of re-energized. Was a great way to start the year.

  3. Lisa Rubinstein
    January 7, 2011 at 5:50 am

    I totally agree. Great event and I’m always so honored when asked to attend and mentor a student.


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