Meet Michelle, my SDSU mentee!

Traditionally a year prior to graduating college and then immediately beyond, our young, overzealous graduates (with fear of the unknown) are in the throws of strategically preparing resumes, learning interview etiquette, networking and assertively sending out resumes in hopes of finding that “dream” first real job.

Then there’s the new genre – Generation Z. Have you heard?

Coming up fast behind the Millennials, Gen Z is defined as people born from the mid-1990s to the early 2000s made up 25% of the U.S. population, making them a larger cohort than the Baby Boomers and Millennials.

“Generation Z will account for 40% of all consumers by 2020, according to statistics compiled by Fast Company. Born after 1995, this new generation rivals the ever-popular millennials and consists of a new breed of consumers. If marketers thought they threw out the playbook with millennials, they need to know that Gen Zers aren’t even playing on the same field.”Ad Age magazine

Let me proudly introduce to you my incredibly driven, high achieving San Diego State University mentee, Michelle Zoldano. She is a senior graduating this May with a degree in Business Marketing.

I’ve been a mentor for my alma mater‘s career services division, Aztec Mentor Program, for four years so far. What a fantastic experience! I LOVE it!

I have delightfully mentored several SDSU women college seniors over the last four years and Michelle is no exception!

I love their energy, commitment and naivety that turns into drive and hunger to succeed. Youth leadership has been a passion of mine for decades. I used to speak at my son’s middle school and college inspiring these future leaders to choose the right career and life.

Within a dedicated website for the Aztec Mentor Program, juniors and seniors research for mentors to help them navigate the scary, uncertain waters of the real world after graduation in finding that ideal first job.

I was overly excited (and surprised) when Michelle reached out to me via email for Spring 2018 mentorship because she wanted to be an entrepreneur right out of college!

“I chose Marla as my mentor because of her experience mentoring entrepreneurs. I have always wanted to start my own company and wanted guidance into the right direction. I was drawn in initially by her story on her website. Her experience really fascinated me and I knew her mentoring me would be a good match,” said Michelle.

This generation of young people is making headlines through their activism, use of social media, diversity and demand to be heard, writes Washington DC’s top news site WTOP.

Furthermore, WTOP reports “There are a lot of factors that set Generation Z, or the post-millennials, apart,” said Stef Woods, a professor of American studies at American University.’ “Studies have shown they will tend to be a bit more entrepreneurial and will be pursuing higher education in slightly less numbers than millennials.” As a whole, the generation tends to be more individualistic and is also the most racially and ethnically diverse in the U.S., Woods said.

Since late January, Michelle and I have been on Zoom calls every few weeks to guide her in her entrepreneurial goals. This was not a fearful, uncertain upcoming college graduate. Michelle was self-directed from the moment we had our first call. She already knew what she wanted and researched her chosen industry prior to mentoring with me.

As she completed her last semester of college with her studies, we developed her first business venture. Her love of beauty and fashion drove her to learn the art of Microblading and she was very clear she did not want a traditional “desk” job!

She also found a 3-day certification course to gain her required skills for her venture. She achieved that during the last few months WHILE completing her classes in college AND being mentored.

Impressive drive.

I thrive on people like this especially these young ones!

During our time together, I invited her to one of my private trainings where she had a wonderful opportunity to meet and network with my entrepreneurial clients and take in their wisdom.

“One amazing benefit from being in the mentoring program with Marla was being able to network. I had the pleasure of attending an inspirational training and networking event Marla produced, Creative Influencers Private Dinner. I met a variety of her entrepreneurial clients and colleagues. This experience was one I will never forget! It was so inspiring to be around these business owners and professionals seeing what’s in store for my future!”

As of the writing of this article, Michelle and I got her first business venture off the ground and she has already secured her first paying beauty clients! Through a great learning experience for her – I guided her through securing an ideal work environment in a salon as a 1099 independent contractor.

“I gained so much by learning to be in the right mindset with Marla. Becoming an entrepreneur (especially while finishing up school) is tough and can be distracting. There are difficult times to go through in making sure you are in the right mindset to make the best decisions. This is crucial to becoming successful. I really gained excellent insight from Marla in the ability to gracefully remove myself from negative feedback others were offering me (no fault of their own – just trying to protect me!).” adds Michelle.

Unlike millennials, Generation Z is also coming of age and entering the workforce into a decent economy. –states Washington DC’s top news site WTOP.
One of the more impressive traits I witnessed with Michelle was her ability to make fast decisions that were fairly well thought out. She would come to me requesting advice having plenty of information already researched.

“Increasingly tech-centric, Generation Z is accustomed to making decisions quickly — a byproduct of the shortened attention span that comes with the increased ability to instantaneously access virtually anything. When selling to Generation Z, communicate your message and value proposition clearly and quickly, or run the risk of losing your audience and the sale. –

Michelle adds, “It’s important to surround yourself with supporting and motivating people. Marla has really helped me stay focused on my dreams and not give up when I hit a few bumps along the way. She taught me to always think positively, always think things through and to follow through!”

Let’s congratulate Michelle on an incredible effort well done in her last semester of college and wish her loads of future success!

Inspired to invest in yourself with a mentor learning to be an innovative brand and thought leader in business? I’d love to highlight your success story. It begins by filling out an application and scheduling a clarity call to see if you and I are a fit for success mentoring and business strategizing. Click here to begin. I have several options – VIP Day, 4 and 6-month entrepreneurial success programs, and a 90-minute zoom intensive.

To your dreams manifesting,