Image Impact International’s Mentoring 4 Impact: Why Mentorship Matters

Mentoring 4 Impact

Contributed by Cindy Ann Peterson, VP Communications

Image Impact International’s Mentoring 4 Impact was successfully piloted in 2018-2019 at CUNY John Jay College in support of juniors and seniors who are first-generation students and/or those living with disabilities. Over 75% of CUNY students are the first in their families to go to college and nearly 400 students are registered with CUNY LEADS (Linking Employment, Academics, and Disability Services). Image Impact International worked in conjunction with CUNY LEADS and John Jay’s Office of Accessibility Services to launch this pilot program. Mentoring 4 Impact is made possible by the Focus for Health Foundation Grant.


Coming from diverse backgrounds and career fields, our mentors commit for two semesters. Mentors are trained in disability awareness, person-first language, and mentoring etiquette. Mentoring pairs are coordinated based on student majors and mentor career experience. Mentoring takes place at CUNY’s John Jay campus in New York City.

Research from the United States Department of Labor Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP) indicates that mentoring relationships provide valuable support to young people, especially those with disabilities.

ODEP cites these benefits of mentoring:Improved academic performance

    • Increased attendance rates
    • Better attitudes about school
    • Higher college enrollment rates and higher educational aspirations
    • Enhanced self-esteem and self-confidence
    • Stronger relationships with parents, teachers and peers
    • Improved interpersonal skills
    • First-hand exposure to the workplace
    • Increased career awareness and ability to make educational choices
    • Decreased likelihood of dropping out of school


The Mentoring 4 Impact program collaborates with mentors from diverse industries and organizations as well as field-diverse coaches to provide additional targeted support.

Classroom workshops and access to mentors enable students to:

    • Refine their resumes
    • Project a professional image
    • Gain job interview experience
    • Build leadership skills
    • Prepare for career fairs & internships
    • Determine a career

Meeting once a week at the college for 16 sessions, Mentoring 4 Impact is a certificate program that covers leadership, communication, networking, interviewing, federal application processes, and professional resume skills enabling students to gain needed support for thriving in both college and the workplace. 


Mentoring 4 Impact John Jay Pilot Program Graduation Celebration

Students gained access to a variety of trusted Mentors and receive guidance on navigating the employment process. Participating Mentors include professionals from corporate and public sectors:

    • Christine Alvarez, Executive Coach, Former VP, Discovery Communications
    • Brad Angevine, Marketing Professional (Image Impact Program Chair)
    • Mel Garlick, Legal Aid, Former NYC Department of Corrections Investigator
    • Greg Gershuny, Senior Executive, U.S. Army Veteran (Image Impact Board Member)
    • Chris Greaves, Director of Annual Giving, Institutional Advancement, Morehouse College
    • Beverly Howard, U.S. Coast Guard
    • Pamela Judd, Former Disability Employment Manager (Image Impact Board Member)
    • Laura Laria-Roberts, NY State Addiction Counselor, Certified Recovery Coach, Peer Advocate
    • Charnette Lewis, Accounting Professional, New York Life (Image Impact Board Member)
    • Oneil Madden, Project Management Consultant (Image Impact Finance Project Manager)
    • Craig Weitzel, Special Activities Case Manager, FDIC (Image Impact Board Member)

Here’s what students are saying about the ‘Mentoring 4 Impact’ experience:

“I enjoyed having a program where you learn in a classroom environment which helps build confidence and also getting that one-on-one guidance from the mentor to help with specific problem areas of your professional life.”

“What I liked most about the program is that each session is helpful for the professional world. I really needed help to work on my elevator pitch and during this program, I have gotten significantly better at it.”

“The most important interviewing points, networking details and guest speakers was what I liked most about the Mentoring 4 Impact Pilot program.”

“I really liked the information packets with the accompanying PowerPoint. The mentors were also extremely nice and helpful.”

Program benefits include: increased confidence, refined professionalism, leadership skills and mentorship guidance.

We offer special thanks to Mentoring 4 Impact’s pilot program planning committee, workshop instructors, mentors, pilot funding, grant from Focus for Health and iii board of directors.


    • Pamela Judd, President
    • Brad Angevine, Chair, Mentoring 4 Impact
    • Tu-Lien Nguyen, Chief of Staff
    • Susie Schainost, VP Education
    • Laura Laria-Roberts


    • Shelly Evans, Mentor Advisor
    • Greg Gershuny, Pilot Support
    • Pamela Judd, Pilot Support
    • Charnette Lewis, New York Life ENABLE Liaison
    • Susie Schainost, VP Education
    • Priscilena Shearon, VP Program Evaluation
    • Adrienne Simons, Research Director, Survey Support


    • Chris Alvarez
    • Brad Angevine
    • Bernadette Forward, Guest Speaker,
    • Greg Gershuny
    • Pamela Judd
    • Laura Laria-Roberts
    • Cindy Ann Peterson
    • Marguerite Schneider
    • Craig Weitzel
    • Susie Schainost


    • Pamela Judd, President
    • Charnette Lewis, Treasurer
    • Suzanne Trice, Secretary
    • Gregory Gershuny, VP Development
    • Colin Ghira, Audit
    • Tu-Lien Nguyen, Chief of Staff
    • Cindy Ann Peterson, VP Communications
    • Marisol Rosero-Allen, VP Human Resources
    • Susie Schainost, VP Education
    • Priscelena Shearon, VP Program Evaluation
    • Craig Weitzel, Audit


The Mentoring 4 Impact program provides a unique and collaborative program with training and mentors for the entire one-year school term, preparing the students for a professional certificate upon completion and professional life skills for their upcoming career search and job fairs. Practical, applicable and beneficial for students, instructors, mentees, and mentors. 


Image Impact International’s mission is to mentor first-generation students, especially those living with disabilities, to remain in college and successfully enter the workforce. Image Impact International is a New York City based organization, established in 2015 as a 501(c)(3) non-profit.


Our programs and initiatives include: 

#Mentoring4Impact #Civility4Impact #Disability4Impact #Training4Impact