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Ben Lord
October 26, 2020

Graduating with a Job, Supported by Mentors from Day One

Ben Lord, a communication major and Honors student with a public relations concentration, will graduate in December ready to start his new position as a communication and public affairs specialist for NCR Corporation, a leading enterprise technology provider in Atlanta. Looking back on his college career, Ben says mentors made all the difference in shaping his future: “If you’re a Berry student, you don’t have to come in with knowledge about the intricacies of mentorship … Berry people genuinely care, and they won’t let you navigate college alone.”

Ben has always welcomed challenges set by mentors. “I firmly believe that the best mentors don’t coddle you,” he says. “At the same time, they boost your confidence and persuade you that you are capable of more than you think.” He is grateful for the constructive feedback offered by his academic advisor, Associate Professor of Communication Sam Nazione. “She makes it clear that she believes in me and is helping me identify and remove obstacles from my path so I can reach my full potential.”

The role of Berry mentors goes beyond teaching and professional guidance. When Ben experienced temporary setbacks because of family-related situations and financial pressure, Nazione stepped in with practical advice, drawing off her own experiences so he could regain a positive mindset and get on track.

While progressing through on-campus positions such as digital media specialist for the Office of Admission and student director of Berry Student Enterprises, Ben networked with individuals beyond campus. He discovered the roadmap for his career on meeting Berry alum Leanne Cook, the vice president of consumer engagement for the Wellstar Health System in Atlanta. She shared marketing insights with him over meals, helped him secure a freelance gig and served as his “go-to career launch consultant.”

With freelancing added to his busy schedule, Ben turned to Alicia Gauker, admission counselor and director of communication planning, for help finding balance during his senior year. She challenged Ben to diagram a whiteboard with all of his goals and responsibilities. “Alicia helped me prioritize everything and taught me to optimize my schedule to be more efficient,” Ben says. “The lessons she shared were very timely with a demanding job lined up after graduation.”

Ben notes that a total of 12 mentors (6 staff, 3 faculty, 1 alum, 1 student and 1 community member) have impacted his life for the better. “They invested in the whole me — head, heart and hands — to make me a better student, employee, friend and just overall person,” he reflects. “I’m eager to pay their investment forward by encouraging and guiding underclassmen.”

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