A Natural Fit for Mentor

As with mentor couples, sometimes relationships just fit. This is how Minna Madzunkova, Mentor USA's newest staff member and charity enthusiasts describes what brought her to Mentor.

7 February 2023 | Blog

What inspired you to join Mentor Foundation USA?
I’m passionate about being an active member of my community, especially getting the opportunity to work with youth! Last fall, I was volunteering at an event hosted by the Swedish American Chamber of Commerce of Los Angeles, in collaboration with Mentor USA. From that point on, I became interested in Mentor USA which has evolved to my current position as its Executive Director! Now, I am a member of the Mentor family, learning new and valuable things every day.

What makes Mentor’s mission important to you?
I think it’s wonderful being a part of a movement that empowers youth. Providing positive guidance and support to youth is what I love most about Mentor USA’s mission.

What is one of the challenges you face in the workplace and how do you overcome it?
Up until now, Mentor USA has mostly worked on the two coasts, where the organization has offices, but I hope in the future it will be able to reach youth in as many states as possible. I am based in Southern California, which means I have Zoom and conference call meetings in many different time zones, but with good planning and discipline, it’s all possible!

What plans does Mentor USA have for youth reach in 2023?
In California alone, we have more than 1,000 public high schools. That is both an opportunity and a challenge. In 2023, we are planning to offer a hybrid model (virtual and in-person) of mentoring and youth support, while we also seek out long-term collaborations with schools in communities that need Mentor USA the most.

Which mentoring programs would be your first choice to run in 2023?
My personal choice would be individual and in-person mentoring. However, post Covid-19 it’s become a bit more difficult, so our hybrid model will be a great way of keeping connected with, and providing support to youth, until we can do more in-person activities. I look forward to starting our virtual inspirational mentoring sessions next year!

What trends do you notice in the mentoring field?
The U.S. is vast, and the communities that span across the country are diverse. But I have found that providing positive support to youth is extremely well received across the board. This is at a level not experienced prior to Covid-19, and it’s a trend that I’m thankful for.

What is your favorite way to relax after work, and what are some of your hobbies?
I spend as much time as I can with my family, and during the pandemic we bought a sailboat. It was our little getaway when we were stuck in the house for a year and a half. We all learned how to sail together, and it’s now a hobby that is a big part of my life.

Is there anything else you’d like to add?
Yes, I want to recognize our amazing team. Our experienced Board of Directors, Advisory Board, Ambassadors, and Youth Advisory Committee, who together and individually support and spread the word about Mentor USA. I see a bright future! I cannot wait to see what we can accomplish together, and all the youth we can reach to support.

Please feel free to get in touch with Minna Madzunkova for more information about Mentor USA: [email protected]