From Mentee to Mentor

Crystal is a United Way of Salt Lake donor and a member of the Women’s Leadership Council. She became involved with the WLC because of the work members are doing to help young women and girls have the opportunities to find future success through education. Crystal overcame many barriers throughout her life and credits strong female role models and mentors to her success. WLC members give not only their dollars, but spend time in schools and mentoring students one-on-one.

Crystal grew up in South Salt Lake and attended Granite Park Jr. High, one of United Way of Salt Lake’s Community Schools.

Neither of her parents or other family members graduated from college and Crystal’s family struggled financially her entire life. When Crystal was in 5th grade, her house was foreclosed on for the second time. A year later, her parents were divorced and her father relocated to another state. Her mother, left to care for three children, worked a minimum wage job and went to school at night to earn a secretary certificate. Crystal and her siblings were left to fend for themselves. “We didn’t get along very well and we did a lot of fighting, both physically and verbally. There wasn’t a lot of food. What we did have was generally inexpensive, easy to make meals, and our house was always a mess.”

Crystal knew that her parents loved her, but she was also aware that they were in their own crisis and in survival mode most of her childhood. They did not have emotional strength, financial means, or the knowledge to do much more than survive.

But Crystal was able to overcome these barriers. Many people throughout her life were willing to share their time with her. These people not only helped Crystal cope, but also prepared her mentally to break out of a cycle poverty and lack of education. Three women specifically, influenced her outcome – each who were in different stages in their lives and attained different levels of success – but each provided Crystal with examples, experiences, and encouragement that changed the trajectory of her life.

So where is Crystal now?

“I have domestic tranquility, and a healthy family, and I am a wife to an amazing man, and a mother to two children. I am a successful working professional at Zion’s Bank where I am the Senior Vice President of Operational Risk Management. I am a life-long learner, continuing to pursue higher education. I have a bachelor’s degree in business administration, I earned an MBA from the University of Utah, and I am currently attending the Pacific Coast Graduate School of Banking.”

Because these women took the time to mentor Crystal, she is in a different place than her family before her. These women helped to change the odds for Crystal and her family – allowing her to find success from cradle to career. And while the women who mentored Crystal may never know of her success, she can now be an example, providing encouragement and experiences to other young women, like the young girls who currently attend Granite Park Jr. High, to help change the odds for them and their families.

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