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Market-Based Solutions to Vital Economic Issues
News & Media
May 29, 2020

Kenan Scholars Mentor Bakes Muffins and Builds Relationships

By Jessie LaMasse, Kenan Scholar Class of 2021

There is only one thing that could make the Kenan Scholars Mentors even more impressive: muffins. Mentor Mike Norona, a former Fortune 500 company CFO, created a community among the Kenan Scholar cohort this year. About once a month, he gathered a small group of scholars around homemade muffins as fuel to spark conversation. He prepared for each meeting by requesting questions ahead of time, bringing necessary life stories and follow-up contacts. I always left “Muffins with Mike” feeling inspired and motivated to achieve my next goal. In addition, Mike continually checked in with us scholars, sending motivational emails and check-ins on our goal progress.

This type of support and guidance from the Kenan Scholars Mentors has been transformational in my business aspirations. The mentors include business leaders, policymakers and faculty, giving insight to cross-sectional work and inspiring business for the public good. This year alone, the mentors helped me make hard decisions, prepare for important interviews and get connected with professionals aligned with my passions.

As I move forward into my senior year, a couple of muffins and Mike Norona taught me that I can always count on my Kenan Scholars mentors and peers to support my endeavors and spark a change-making conversation.

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