Mentorship in Michigan: Jason Sissing

February 10, 2014

in Talent Enhancement

Across the state of Michigan, there are an abundance of talented workers in a variety of industries, and many of the most successful business men and women in the state had a mentor who helped guide their career. Not only do mentors serve as a support system through critical periods of a person’s development, but they also provide wisdom and different perspective.

Below, Jason Sissing, a marketing student at Grand Valley University, shares the importance of mentorship in his life, and how he has received support through the Grand Rapids Community.  

men·tor  [men-tawr, -ter]


  1. a wise and trusted counselor or teacher.

Do you have someone that you can call your Dr. Mays, Dababhai Naoroji, Mary Duncan, Tom Martinez, or Dr. Ed Roberts?  You are probably scratching your head trying to piece together the significance of this list of names.  These people mentored Dr. King, Jr., Mahatma Gandhi, Oprah Winfrey, Tom Brady, and Bill Gates – these influential and successful individuals were all constructively taught by wise and trusted counselors.

The need to have a mentor may seem obvious, but it never struck me as a necessary stepping stone to reach my full potential as a marketing student at Grand Valley State University.  Throughout my college career, I assumed that seeking a mentor was not for me.  Why should I humble myself and ask an expert for guidance?

Getting over that mental block was one of the best decisions I’ve made in my college career.

Today, I have the privilege of meeting and growing with people who I look up to in the Grand Rapids community.  My mentors have been selfless enough to help me in my career, and it’s clear that they enjoy investing in the future generation.

Through GVSU and local businesses, I’ve met people with similar interests and passions.  They have given me a better understanding of what crafts I should focus on, what careers look like in the real world, the dedication it takes to be successful and how to build a solid professional network.  Through them, I have someone who I can bounce my thoughts off of and receive open and honest feedback and support.  I am continually reminded to look at the bigger picture in life.

The positive transformation in Grand Rapids, and West Michigan has inspired me to consider all of the opportunities that exist right here in my back yard.  There has been an ongoing change in the West Michigan culture that can be accredited to local entrepreneurs who desire to see their community succeed.  This new culture has enabled an ecosystem that allows individuals to bring new business ideas to market and experience trial and error firsthand without having the weight of failure to keep them down.

As a young business student and entrepreneur, there is nothing more exciting than a thriving, open-minded environment that encourages and supports growth.  With the Michigan economy making its way full circle, it is a great place to start my future. Couple that with an incredible four season climate, and it’s both a great place to work and live.

In the end, it’s all about building relationships and finding mentors that you can count on, to help and support you throughout your journey. I’m thankful that it’s something I’ve already found and will get to continue to build upon here in Michigan.

Jason Sissing will be graduating from Grand Valley State University this spring with a degree in marketing.  During his time in Grand Rapids, Jason has become heavily involved within the entrepreneurial community and has grained a new appreciation for mentorship.  

Looking for a career opportunity in Grand Rapids? Visit to start your search.

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