January 18th, 2018
Posted In: Corporate Engagement, National Mentoring Month Blog Series, National Mentoring Summit, Recognition

Finalists for the brand new Corporate Excellence in Youth Mentoring Award represent nine companies, five states, and a diverse array of industries spanning technology to finance to insurance – and they all have one thing in common: a commitment to building meaningful relationships to support young people while building a 21st century workforce.

The Corporate Excellence in Youth Mentoring finalists and their mentees are real-life examples of the power of mentoring relationships to support, inspire, and engage young people personally and professionally.

These stories will take center stage when the award finalists and one national award winner will be recognized on January 24 at the Excellence in Mentoring Awards Dinner at the Library of Congress. The award ceremony is an invitation-only convening of leaders and supporters of the youth mentoring field and part of the National Mentoring Summit, the signature event for the mentoring field, convening more than 1,000 experts, practitioners, advocates, and philanthropic partners to advance mentoring nationwide.

With support of the Alper Family Foundation, each finalist will be invited to direct a $500 grant to their respective nonprofit mentoring program. The national awardee will be invited to direct a $1,000 grant to their nonprofit mentoring program.


Max De Long

Max joined Genentech in July of 2013 in the Global (MSAT) Manufacturing Science And Technology organization within PTD (Pharma Technical Development), where he is a Senior Engineer. He works on bringing new technologies to the company, including ultrahydrophobic surfaces (think Teflon pans), technology transfers (taking the product from one Genentech site to another), as well as supporting global investigations and multi-site agency responses. Max has been volunteering since 2004, starting with a rowing organization he was a part of in high school, the American Diabetes Association (2005-present), a student chemical engineering chapter while in college (2008-2009), a free-clinic post-college in Worcester Massachusetts (2009-2011), the Rhode Island State Science Fair (2011-2013), Laguna Honda (2016-present), Futurelab programs (Genentech, 2015- present), Leadership Engagement and Diversity mentor program (Genentech, 2015-present) and New Opportunities program (Genentech, 2016-present). Volunteering is something close to Max’s heart, and it is one of the few things in life he prioritizes.

Ron Diner
Raymond James

Ronald Diner is the Director Strategic Community Partnerships at Raymond James. Ron’s primary focus is Lunch Pals, a partnership he founded between Raymond James and Pinellas County Schools. Lunch Pals has received awards from the Florida Department of Education, the Florida Association of Partners in Education, and the Pinellas Education Foundation. Lunch Pals participants have lunch each week with an elementary or middle school student who can use the support of a caring adult – a mentor. More than 700 children have been matched with a Lunch Pal. Lunch Pals is supported by more than 60 companies and community organizations. Ron has personally mentored elementary students for five years. Currently he is a Lunch Pal to two 5th grade students, with whom he has had lunch for three years. On behalf of Raymond James, Ron also leads a partnership with Mount Vernon Elementary School. In addition to having recruited over 100 staff members of Raymond James to mentor there, he meets regularly with the principal focusing on objectives to increase student achievement. 

Jeff Fetters
Federated Insurance Companies

Jeff Fetters is Chairman of the Board, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Federated Insurance Companies, one of the nation’s largest mutual insurance companies, based in Owatonna, Minnesota. Jeff not only champions mentoring in his personal  life, he also expands mentoring within his company and community. He leads the Federated Challenge for Kids of Minnesota. The annual event in its 14th year has raised over $30 million to support the youth mentoring and educational programs of the Big Brothers Big Sisters agencies in Minnesota.



Elizabeth S. Gurney
First Niagara Foundation

Elizabeth Gurney was appointed the Executive Director of the First Niagara Foundation, responsible for executing corporate and Foundation philanthropic strategies in October, 2011. Gurney created the organizational, administrative and procedural structure for the First Niagara Foundation. In collaboration with the Foundation Board, Elizabeth developed a charitable strategy that aligned with the bank’s values and community needs. Additionally, Gurney served as Vice President of the Hospice Foundation of Western New York where she designed and executed a capital campaign to construct a state of the art comprehensive inpatient facility and was instrumental in its development. Prior to that, she served for two years as Vice President for Development at Children’s Hospital in Buffalo. Active in the community, Gurney serves on the boards of the Children’s Foundation, the Josephine Goodyear Foundation, and the Buffalo Sabres Foundation. Some previous boards include the Center for Hospice and Palliative Care, WNY Grantmakers and Goodwill Industries. She is a graduate of Nichols School in Buffalo, NY and St Lawrence University.

Milton Martinez
General Motors

Milton Martinez is the Chief of Chiefs at the Robotics Engineering Center of Detroit and has championed the advancement of STEM by mentoring youth in Detroit leading to life changing opportunities. By day, Milton is a Lead Calibrator for hybrid propulsion systems and by late-afternoon and night, Milton is the Chief Engineer for the Cesar Chavez Academy Az-Tech Eagles FIRST Robotics Competition team. Milton is an alum of FIRST when he was in high school and now as a role model, has been working with the Cesar Chavez Academy team for 7 years. He actively recruits students and mentors to join the team. This team has been successful over the years at competitions, but even more so, in launching students into college programs where the students have gone on to study engineering, business, math and the sciences.  Milton spends over 300 hours each year mentoring his team and leading the Chiefs at the RECD. This has become a model of success for robotics build centers around the country. Milton does all of this while leading important work at General Motors with global implications for leading edge hybrid propulsion system activity.

Vaughn L. McKoy
PSEG Long Island

An inner-city youth from Paterson “P-town” New Jersey, Vaughn L. McKoy is the youngest of six siblings and an impoverished single mom. Unlike his siblings and friends, he becomes convinced life has more to offer than drugs, gangs, and prison. Throughout grade school and high school, despite the lure of the streets and the shock and responsibility of becoming a teenage dad, he strives for athletic excellence, encouraged by baseball, basketball, and football coaches whose teachings are never solely about the game. After being awarded a football scholarship to Rutgers University, Vaughn meets former alumnus, attorney, and business mogul Arthur Goldberg while lifting weights. Goldberg is featured not only in Nelson Johnson’s Boardwalk Empire, but more recently in The War at the Shore: Donald Trump, Steve Wynn, and the Epic War to Save Atlantic City by Richard D. Bronson. For the next ten years, “Mr. G.” weekly mentors Vaughn to pursue academic and professional success, through teachings of his own. Under the mentorship of Mr. G., Vaughn continues his rise to professional achievement as an Assistant United States Attorney for the District of New Jersey, and today is an executive and lawyer representing his company as one of the sponsors for the upcoming 2014 Super Bowl.

Olubusola Oyefesobi

Busola joined EY’s College MAP mentoring program in 2013. Initially, she served as a mentor, assisting a young woman through the college application process during her junior and senior years of high school. However, even at the start, Busola’s contributions to mentoring stretched far beyond her impact on this one person’s life. She led multiple mentoring sessions for a group of 20+ students, providing information on financial aid and other critical topics. Knowing many of the students were interested in potentially studying abroad in college, Busola arranged for her sister, a student in the UK, to dial in to a meeting, so that the students could ask live questions. The majority of our students had never met anyone who had studied abroad, so it was a wonderful and unique opportunity for them. She was instrumental in the program’s efforts to raise scholarship money for the students, reaching out to her wide network at the firm to encourage donations for our drive. The New York program has raised over $100,000 in scholarship funds since Busola joined the program. She organized large-scale events to further the education of the students, as well as to celebrate their accomplishments. She was truly perceived as a role model mentor across a group of over 50 mentors in our New York program.

Amanda Rost

Amanda Rost has been committed to positive youth development for 10 years, through formal mentoring programs, program development and coaching youth sports. Since working with LinkedIn, she has become heavily involved with Year Up Bay Area. Amanda has now been a mentor for 6 Year Up students, and volunteers for Year Up’s tutoring sessions and elevator pitch competitions. Earlier this year, she won Year Up’s “Bay Area Volunteer Superstar Award,” given to one volunteer in the region who has made a significant impact on Year Up’s young adults and community. As Amanda explains, mentoring these young adults creates an interesting dynamic, because most of them are around her age and usually have children (Amanda does not). In her words, “a lot of the frameworks that the organization provided didn’t really work. I decided the value I could provide was as a peer that my mentees could relate to, when they are coming into San Francisco from surrounding towns and feeling like strangers. I try to find common ground with my mentees and share tactics and strategies for success that I’ve learned and used as I’ve developed my career.” If her mentees say that they don’t know many people in their companies, Amanda will use her LinkedIn expertise to explore networks on LinkedIn and help these young adults reach out to build relationships. “If they tell me a story about someone they haven’t gelled with,” she explains, “we’ll look up that person and understand where they are in the company hierarchy and how they might be able to work together moving forward.” With her Year Up mentees, Amanda strikes a really inspiring balance between friend, coach and consultant.

Michael Ruiz

Michael Ruiz has been a long time participant in EY’s College MAP (Mentoring for Access and Persistence) program. College MAP launched in 2009, Mike started as a mentor in 2010. College MAP is a multi-year, group-mentoring program focused on empowering students in underserved high schools so that they can gain access to college and succeed in higher education. College MAP matches EY volunteer mentors (of all levels, backgrounds and service lines) with groups of local high school students. The group-mentoring model has several advantages: multiple mentors provide insight and guidance to the students in the program, EY professionals are able to balance work and a long-term mentoring commitment and the group of students becomes its own supportive academic community. Mike has served as a Mentor since 2010, but each year, he’s taken on more and more program responsibilities. Over the course of the last 7 years, Mike has served as an Access Director – managing a local high school relationship in San Jose to recruit, mentor and coach high school juniors and seniors as they prepared for college. He went on to serve as a Persistence Director, supporting these same students as they navigated college and career.

Pamela Stewart

Pamela Stewart is Senior Counsel in 3M’s Office of General Counsel. Pam started at 3M in 2005 as Intellectual Property Counsel and in that role supported numerous divisions within 3M’s Heath Care and Industrial Business Groups. She is currently division general counsel for the Automotive and Aerospace Solutions Division (AASD) within IBG. Within Legal Affairs, Pam has served on the Diversity and Inclusion Committee, Professional Education and Pro Bono Committees. As a member of the Pro Bono Committee, Pam both volunteers for and manages 3M’s relationship with the Children’s Law Center, an organization which is appointed by the State Courts of Minnesota to represent the interests of children who are either wards of the state or have been removed from their homes because they are in need protection. Pamela is a member of the Board of Directors of the Girl Scouts River Valleys in Minnesota. One of Pamela’s mentees, Ashley, calls Pamela her “auntie-fairy-godmother” for her willingness to help Ashley navigate a family emergency while interning at 3M. Pamela’s response when asked how Ashley could repay her? To graduate from college and forge ahead in her career. Today, Ashley holds a Master’s degree in accounting and a job at a global firm.

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