The SJD Mentor Network paired up Ned Lash, a newly-married army veteran and  MBA student, with Ron Torretti, a seasoned financial professional and SJD parishioner. Their time together in the program changed both their lives. 

The Mentee - Ned Lash: The SJD Mentor Network has been a phenomenal experience that proved to be extremely rewarding for me. My SJD Mentor, Ron Torretti, became one of my greatest coaches and friends. 

During our time together, I grew spiritually, professionally, and personally. We spent a great deal of time discussing goals encompassing all parts of life and creating a step ladder: a plan with measurable results for accountability and acknowledgement of my achievements.

One of my greatest challenges was to balance marriage with scholastic work in the MBA program at Rice University while searching for a career upon graduation. I benefited from my mentor’s experience in a healthy Christian marriage and had a place to discuss stresses I did not want to share with my own parents. I honestly believe I am a better husband due to my mentor’s advice and example.

Professionally, my mentor discouraged me from applying for positions beneath my skill level. My mentor helped me with the confidence to apply and get a job in a top consulting firm in a field that suits my abilities.

Most importantly, my mentor helped me draw closer to God. My prayers are now more open conversations with God, and this helps me understand myself and how I can better serve him. I plan on giving back by using my skills from my MBA and the Army to help build stronger leaders within the church. I hope to mentor youth and possibly start a mentorship program, based on the SJD program, in my new church home in Virginia.

Even though we are moving from Houston, I know Ron is a lifelong-friend, founded in our love for God, but strengthened by similarities and interest shared that were vetted in SJD’s matching process. I would not trade my mentorship experience for anything and will always remain in touch with Ron wherever life takes me.

The Mentor - Ron Torretti: My SJD mentee, Ned Lash, may say he learned from me, but I have to admit I learned as well, and was rewarded by the experience in many ways.

Ned was a bright, dedicated, considerate, disciplined young man just finishing his MBA when we began our partnership. He graduated from the military academy, became an Army officer, was in command of a unit in the Middle East, returned home to work on a new career, and he recently married.

For over a year, we spent time together every other week. He asked hard questions, constantly challenging himself and me as well. By thinking and praying together, then implementing a strategic plan, my mentee successfully met goals and worked through difficult concerns.

There were some challenges for me to overcome as well. Praying out loud with a former military officer was awkward at first for both of us, but as we became more comfortable with our relationship, it became natural. The second hardest challenge was to be extremely careful with advice, especially when a young professional like Ned is faced with decisions that can alter his life.

If I had the benefit of a mentor from SJD when I was younger, I think I could have learned much sooner how to manage difficult problems, make better informed decisions, and enjoy more of God’s prosperity within myself and those who love him. I certainly enjoyed walking with Ned and thank God for this opportunity to serve.

St. John the Divine is dedicated to raising up the next generation of servant leaders and equipping them to share their knowledge with others. The SJD Mentor Network is one way we make this possible. If you are a young person in need of a dedicated, Christian mentor, or a potential mentor who is willing to walk with their mentee through personal and professional growth, please contact Matt Marino – mmarino@sjd.org, or sign up for the program online at sjd.org/mentor-network.

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