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Mentoring Moment, a working relationship blossoms into a friendship

Published: Sep. 24, 2020 at 7:14 PM CDT
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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - At the beginning of 2020, Mayor Paul TenHaken helped launch “Sioux 52”, a mentoring initiative that would unify area non-profits, businesses, and faith communities.

Four objectives also revolve around the number 52.

-52 non-profit partners

-520 business partners

-5,200 mentors

-52,000 mentor hours

Initiative coordinators hope to achieve this by the year 2026 so Sioux Falls can become “The City of Mentors.” Achieving those numbers will take time, but most importantly, beneficial relationships are forming in lieu of the initiative.

For Michelle Lavallee, the CEO of Children’s Home Society, she ended up connecting with Brienne Maner. Since they paired up, the two have become very close friends and still keep in contact.

Up until the two formally met, Maner was a little nervous about her first interaction with her.

“I always looked at Michelle as someone who I aspired to be like,” Maner said. “You put somebody up on a pedestal for so long and you start to second guess whether or not you feel like you’re worthy of being in their social circle.”

Ironically, one of the first lessons she learned from Lavallee was not to second guess yourself, try to put the fear aside, and look for opportunities to be uncomfortable and grow.

“In her circumstances, she was gaining clarity of what she wanted to do next,” said Michelle Lavallee. “I am just so proud of her that at the very end of our mentoring relationship that year, she did take a job and she’s leading the Zeal Center for Entrepreneurship.”

Lavallee has made impressions on Maner through the EmBe Women’s Leadership Program, and when she Billie Sutton’s running mate in the 2018 gubernatorial race.

“You’re going to make mistakes along the way, or you’re going to fail,” Maner said. “I watched Michelle run for office. She didn’t win, but she handled it with grace and I love that she put herself out there and that inspires me to want to run for office one day.”

Lavallee says she has had great mentors in her life, and because of that, she has slowly made efforts to pay it forward. She believes Sioux Falls can truly become the City of Mentors.

Copyright 2020 Dakota News Now. All rights reserved.

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