This is my all-time favorite photo of my son and I from 28 years ago. It sits on my bathroom counter keeping that memory alive.  It brings so much love and warmth to my heart.

Happy Mother’s Day ladies!

I loved being Taylor’s Mom as he grew into an upstanding, successful young man who I am deeply proud of.

January 2012, I stood in LAX terminal hugging my 20 year old son goodbye as I sent him off to New York for his exciting first real job  as a performance specialist for Tony Robbins and the Unleash the Power Within marketing/sales team.

In that moment, I was officially an empty nester.

My boy was a grown young man beginning the first of many chapters in his personal and professional growth. (Oh the heartstrings)

I was so darn proud of this guy after the previous two years of early adulthood challenges (parents you know what I mean). He was starting a three-year journey on the road with one of the world’s most empowering transformational experts and I couldn’t be more proud and excited!

So, off he went and I now had this void in my heart that needed to be filled.

Although my logic and head knew I would always be his beloved mother forever in this lifetime, my heart still was adjusting to this new role as an empty nester.

I began looking how to redirect this role as nurturer, caretaker, coach, cheerleader, believer, and mentor that I loved so much to something that felt purposeful and meaningful. I felt lost. I said to myself, “How do I fill this deep void? I love being a mother role and more. It defined me and it was very natural to who I am. How do I keep this vital part alive and thriving?”

The intuitive message was “mentoring program for youth.”

Although I have a running passion and theme in my life of mentoring youth, which I did while raising Taylor and volunteering at his schools for career day and at home doing my best to be a role model. I now wanted to find an outlet where I could nurture that part of me that was so yearning to keep alive and contribute to lives.

I found the perfect outlet; SDSU Aztec Mentoring Program.

I could bring all what I loved about being a mother and mentor to Taylor to young women in their junior or senior years in college for my alumni school!

Since that revelation in 2014, I have been happily mentoring bright, driven, and beautiful young women college seniors on their way to graduation as they entered the real world.

I am almost complete with my fifth mentee. This last fall semester 2018 and spring semester 2019 I had the privilege of mentoring Elaina Johnson, a senior in business marketing who has a passion for music, artist development and personal growth. She graduates on May 19, 2019. This Sunday.

Her love of human potential, creativity and music brought us together. She had a busy on-campus life using those three passions over the last four years involved with the Aztec Music Group.  She served as an executive board member from inception, VP of External Relations for two years, VP of Marketing for one year, and for her final year director of A&R and Professional Development.

Let’s look at her own perspective in how mentoring has paid off for her.

“I requested Marla as my mentor from the program mentor database because I saw her as a successful woman entrepreneur who owns her own business. Exploring her website and learning more about her journey in the entertainment industry and then her transition of growing into your own spotlight was amazing. I saw her experience in business and personal brand development, as well as marketing and public relations would be incredibly valuable to learn from. I also really admired her innovative attitude and the resilience!

There were so many benefits from her mentorship, but here are some highlights.

1) Having someone to encourage me to set goals and hold me accountable for working towards them was priceless. Having a coach encourage you is a huge motivation in doing things and doing them well.

2) Marla shared her experiences with me and was able to use her network to enrich my time with her as my mentor. She agreed to do a zoom conference call with her DJ/MC client Juan Castro of Invisible Touch Events in Orange County. They spoke to the Aztec Music Group, my student organization, about their journeys in the entertainment industry. Hearing from veterans who followed their passion and made them profitable was highly valuable to college students seeking to enter the same industry.

3) Marla invited me to her Creative Roundtable event that she hosted and curated. It was amazing to be in a collaborative environment with creative entrepreneurs who turned their passions into their work. The open discussion of struggles and success was very empowering, and it felt like we all learned from each other that evening. It was a lovely network of people.

4) The mindset and business success tips Marla taught me really supports and encourages the ideas of mindfulness and self-care, which are so important to me.

It was great to hear a professional speak on work life balance, to be real about how it can be a struggle to find balance and what she does to stay consistent. She encouraged me to set boundaries and to respect myself and my time, which in turn teaches people how to respect me.

Marla also helped me define both my personal and career values, and in so also helped me to understand the importance of having a healthy relationship with money. Marla encouraged me to find my tribe and to surround myself with people who embrace their genius talents and live in higher frequencies (high vibe). That was very important to me!

It was a great reminder that people in our lives can help us grow and to learn from those around us. It reminded me that having a mentor like Marla is important and invaluable at any point in life or a career.”

As a proud Mama always is, I can complete this 2018-2019 mentorship with a smile in my heart knowing I am forever more making a difference in the lives of our future women leaders and that is fulfilling to my soul.

Gratitude & Joy,