Mentor Pair: Courtney West ’11 and Haley Coller ’16

Posted on August 1st, 2016 by

Best advice from mentor Courtney West to mentee Haley Coller: 1) Take notes about what your manager does for you. Tell them how they have helped you grow. 2) At the end of the day, people will recognize top talent. It’s okay to tell them no for now. 3) Maintain your business relationships. Managers may reach out to you again.

Courtney West ’11,JD, MBA
Associate of corporate strategy, Land O’Lakes

Haley Coller ’16, business
Committed to asset management at Goldman Sachs in New York City, January, 2017

Where the mentoring relationship between West and Coller mattered most was in the little things that matter.

“She didn’t need help with building her resume or preparing for an interview,” says West, the young woman in business, about Coller, the future young woman in business. “What she was looking for were the intangibles: How do you let people down? How do you have tough conversations? How do you keep in touch with people in a not-awkward way?”

For West, who is only five years out of her own undergraduate experience, the uncertainty of navigating those same issues is still fresh. “I remember what it was like to not know how to do those things and to make those early mistakes,” she says. Her wisdom was a perfectly timed blessing for Coller, who was juggling several promising job offers from around the country at the time she was being mentored by West.

“We talked a lot about how to let companies down,” Coller says. “What the most professional way to do that is, and how to frame it to keep the relationship budding. Her advice was so important to me because I was nervous about letting people down.”

With West’s help, Coller walked through her multiple offers with grace. After her graduation—and several months of touring in Europe—Coller will begin her career at Goldman Sachs in New York City. Several of the business relationships she has cultivated, including those she “let down,” will continue to flourish. Coller and West’s relationship will continue as well, both say. Coller has an interest in pursuing dual advanced degrees in law and business—just like West has done. For these two professionals with multiple interests, there will be multiple opportunities across industries and disciplines to navigate the gray areas of intangibility.

“The intangibles come from experience,” West says. And learning from the experience of a fellow Gustie like West is what the Gustavus Mentoring Program is all about.

Would you like to mentor a Gustie?
The Gustavus Mentoring Program pairs a current Gustavus student with an alumni, parent, or friend for a mentoring relationship. They commit to meeting once in person, then on a monthly basis from October through May, whenever and wherever it suits both of them. The student drives the relationship, and there are several resources available to help facilitate conversations on leadership, values, and goal-setting.


Media Contact: Director of Media Relations and Internal Communication JJ Akin


Comments are closed.