SU Voice Alumni Blog

Giving Back: When a Mentee Becomes a Mentor

Posted by The Seattle University Alumni Association on Wednesday, February 3, 2021 at 10:26 AM PST

A profile photo of Terren Drake, '14Graduation hasn’t stopped Terren Drake, ’14, from returning to Seattle U and giving back to the Albers School of Business and Economics. Drake currently works for PACCAR—a global leader in design manufacture and customer support of high-quality premium trucks—as the Director of Used Equipment for the US and Canada at PACCAR Financial. “I joined PACCAR immediately after graduating from the MBA program at SU. One of the best parts about working for PACCAR is their philosophy. They want to develop well-rounded leaders that understand different facets of the business and the interconnectivity of the company. It affords employees the opportunity to do a lot of different things,” said Drake.

His educational experience and the MBA program’s emphasis on networking taught him the importance of nurturing and building professional relationships while looking for opportunities to add value to other people’s experience. “I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for Seattle U. I developed the ability to network and build professional relationships during my time at Seattle U and it has paid dividends in my professional career as I have navigated PACCAR culture,” said Drake.

After joining the PACCAR team and completing the management program, Drake relocated to Chicago to work for a few years. Upon his return to Seattle, he reached out to the Albers Mentor Program, wanting to become a mentor after having participated in the program as a mentee. “I walked away from my MBA experience with so much. I felt I received more than what I had learned in the classroom and wanted to continue to be a part of that. As I moved back, it became an ideal way to reconnect with Seattle U and hopefully give back to others the same way my mentors invested in me while I was in the program,” said Drake.

 “There are other MBA students that I was in the program with that also felt compelled to give back and remain connected. A good friend of mine who I met at Albers is also a mentor. He and I will sometimes meet with each other’s mentees. Our professional experiences are different, so the ability to provide differing perspectives is a value add to the students.”

Drake’s unique perspective on participating in the program first as a student made the prospect of mentorship initially daunting, but after realizing his personal experience and the lessons he learned could be valuable to others, he settled in and continues to share his story with his mentees.

Helping other people with similar professional experiences, watching peers make choices about next steps and valuing lifelong learning fuels Drake’s motivation to continue to mentor graduate students. “A lot of people are still trying to figure out what they want to do and where they want to go. To be able to help people navigate that transition feels familiar to me and to be able to share my experience navigating that process is something that I enjoy,” said Drake.

He often finds that while providing advice or feedback to mentees, he gains perspective, learns new principles and believes that it is a way to stay abreast new ideas happening in the business world. “It’s easy to get stuck in a routine, but it’s nice to come up for air and find a different outlet to provide value.”

There are many ways to get involved with the Albers School of Business and Economics. “The more that we are connected and engage with each other, the more it will open a world of opportunities to us when we are at places in our lives when we want to make a change,” said Drake. Find a volunteer opportunity that is meaningful to you and be a part of Our Moment for Mission: The President’s Challenge by joining the Albers Alumni Board, providing feedback on student resumes or serving as a judge on the Harriet Stephenson Business Plan Competition.