17-year-old Mario attributes his high self-esteem and leadership skills to his Big Brother of two years, Vishal Khemka. Mario, a Samueli Academy student, was matched with Vishal as part of Big Brothers Big Sisters’ Workplace Mentoring program with PIMCO, an investment management company in Newport Beach. Throughout their relationship, Mario has learned how to work diligently and navigate the college process. Vishal continually supports Mario’s passions and hopes to help him in reaching his career goals.
Vishal’s mentorship gave Mario confidence in professional environments. With guidance from his Big, Mario confronted his fear of talking with adults and landed an internship over the summer. Vishal encouraged Mario to rehearse in front of a mirror to improve his public speaking and interview skills. Mario says Vishal even helped him with his fashion sense, teaching him how to mix and match patterns and colors to always look sharp in a suit.
According to Mario, Vishal has a natural ability to mentor. Vishal’s relatability makes him easy to connect with. Plus, his accomplished career as a PIMCO Product Associate is a source of Mario’s inspiration. Mario most admires Vishal’s ability to break down complex topics and ideas.
Mario will be graduating in May and plans to attend Orange Coast Community College. He hopes to transfer to a top four-year university and earn an engineering degree.
Workplace Mentoring matches meet once a month at corporate headquarters, following a curriculum that helps students create long-term goals, prepare for higher education and future careers, and develop their self-confidence.