By Ashley South
Chuck, as he told us he wants to be called, met us right on time and immediately began to describe the ground rules, how mentorship would work and then outlined expectations for both mentee and mentor. Our first meeting together was focused. He gets to the point, asks a lot of questions and metabolizes quickly. You want Charles Turack in your life when starting a business and if you are a person like Chuck, please join SCORE and help us newbies get our wild ideas off the ground!
SCORE is our featured non-profit for the month of October. Main & Luxe believes in directly supporting and giving back to the community. Each month a different organization within the borders of Naperville or immediate surrounding cities will be featured and a direct cash donation given. During the month of October, the SCORE website link will be posted to our M&L website so you too can support this valuable organization or learn more about how you too can become a mentor.
The Service Core of Retired Executives as it was originally known (now shortened to simply SCORE) was started in 1964 as a nonprofit resource partner of the U.S. Small Business Administration. The volunteer network spans all of the United States and has 11,000 active volunteer mentors. It is the nation’s largest network focused on helping small businesses. According to their website “SCORE’s mission is to foster vibrant small business communities through mentoring and education. We aim to give every person the support they need to thrive as a small business owner. At SCORE, we hold that: Clients matter. Our clients’ success is our success. The quality of their experience at SCORE is the truest measure of our success as an organization.”
To become a mentor, each volunteer must complete a training course to ensure a consistent experience for each mentee, have had proven success in executive level leadership with an organization, and have the passion/resilience to work with startups. The Fox Valley/Naper Chapter serves people from Joliet all the way up to DeKalb.
Our man Chuck is a retired steel sales executive. He worked his way up from salesperson to running a $130M business unit in a $4B company. This is exactly what M&L needs. The man’s core competencies are in Sales, Relationship Management, Product Management and Niche Product Development. Apparently, steel is not too different than a magazine when you get to the basics – who knew?
Being a “solo-preneur” means getting zero feedback. In most cases, you might have an idea but need guidance to even know where to begin. This is exactly why SCORE exists. This non-profit is there to help you to cultivate those ideas and turn them into viable companies through discussion, focused roundtables and programming.
There is no cost to request a mentor. You fill out an application and can select from the available mentors. SCORE is closely aligned with NaperLaunch (more in the Library section), where many of the mentees find mentors but you may request one independently.
..and back to our experience with Chuck… He becomes immersed and transported during our conversations putting back on his executive hat for 30 minutes. It’s motivating to interact with him and ask questions. His goals with his mentoring are pure and simple: to keep his mentee focused and help with decisions on what to do next. Chuck started mentoring to give back to the community and help enrich it. After retirement, he remained curious about the pulse of the business community and still wants to keep a finger on it. Over the last seven years, Chuck has mentored over 300 people. He is meeting with M&L monthly to give us a sanity check and continue to fuel our passion.
If you have an idea, connect with SCORE and apply for a mentor like Chuck. Build your brand and get the help needed to succeed!