Speed Mentoring connects UAA students and community leaders

by Mariah Oxford  |   

Tana Skye Nevada
Tana Skye Nevada, BBA Management '16, is hosting UAA College of Business and Public Policy's upcoming speed mentoring event. (Photo by James Evans / University of Alaska Anchorage)

Skye Nevada’s LinkedIn profile describes her as “community driven, civically engaged, involved in everything.” It’s not an overstatement. In addition to her role as senior development manager for the American Cancer Society in Alaska, she volunteers for community groups and nonprofits. She is the driving force behind an upcoming campus Speed Mentoring event open to all UAA students.

Skye graduated from UAA in 2016 with a B.B.A. in business management, but it took her some time to figure out what she wanted to do. Skye said that events like Speed Mentoring give students a peek into the nitty-gritty, day-to-day reality of different careers. That can help them get insights into their fields of interest — and others they have never considered.

She brought her network together to create Speed Mentoring, which is co-sponsored by the UAA Alumni Association, where she sits on the board, the Chamber of Commerce Young Professionals Group (YPG), of which she’s the chair, and UAA’s College of Business and Public Policy, where she’s an alum.

Speed Mentoring will be Thursday, April 7, on the second floor of Rasmuson Hall. Registration is required. From 2-4 p.m., students will rotate through short conversations with several mentors. They can practice their elevator pitch and also ask questions, like how their mentor got started in the industry and what their daily routine is like.

“Students won’t want to miss it,” Skye said. “It will be a great investment of their time. We’ve gathered dozens of community leaders and business professionals — many are alumni — who want to give back to UAA and enjoy these discussions with current students.”

Learning how to ask questions and network with others is a critical skill that can be developed. Skye will provide registrants with helpful tips for getting the most out of the experience, including how not to be nervous. “Remember that even though you may be sitting across from a CEO, they are a person too and still get up and put their pants on one leg at a time.”

April 7 Speed Networking flyer
The upcoming Speed Mentoring event on April 7 is open to all UAA students.

Participants will mingle casually after the one-on-one mentoring and extend conversations over food and drink during a 4-5 p.m. networking session. Students will also receive swag bags and a chance to win door prizes.

Pulling off an event like this is a major undertaking. It takes confidence and a commitment to community. Skye has both. “One thing I learned as a student in CBPP is confidence. I'm already a confident person, but because business is so broad, I was able to meet many different types of people at CBPP. They were using CBPP to continue their individual passions by creating their own business or joining a business and taking the skills they learned. I have a business degree, but my heart really lies in community engagement. CBPP was really good about embracing each student’s individuality.”

As Skye developed her career path, she found support from the Chamber of Commerce Young Professionals Group, another collaborator on the Speed Mentoring event. “YPG is an amazing group of young people that are always ready to cheer you on, and to lend a hand if you need, whether it's personal or professional. They are dedicated to doing everything they can to make Anchorage a wonderful place to live, to work, to play and just to call home.”

Supporting UAA students falls right in line with the goal to strengthen Anchorage. The Speed Mentoring event will help students connect with community leaders and learn more about the careers they might like as they enter the workforce. Within a few years, they could be the ones sitting on the other side of the Speed Mentoring table.

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