One in three young people in the USA grows up without a mentor – something known as the mentoring gap. And Brenda Jimenez, CEO at MENTOR New York is working diligently to change this reality across the state of New York. The organization bridges the gap between caring adults who are ready to make a diﬀerence and the mentoring opportunities available to them. Whether you are the teacher, the coach, the program coordinator, the supervisor, the police oﬃcer, the librarian, the bus driver, or the lunch mom, any person who interacts with young people can be more intentional about how they engage with and build relationships for the betterment of themselves and young people in their lives.
“Disrupting the status quo is the only way to move moments forward, and that is true for businesses, the non-profit sector and the Mentoring Movement alike.”
MENTOR New York’s mission is to fuel the quality and quantity of mentoring relationships for young people and close the mentoring gap in New York State. Its vision is to create mentoring cultures and foster mentoring relationships wherever young people live, learn, work, and play. The company does this by helping the community, private, public, and non-proﬁt organizations build mentoring programs or infuse mentoring practices into their current work with young people. Through its customized training and consultation, the organization helps adults think diﬀerently about their interactions with and impact on young people’s lives.
A Mentoring Maven Leads through the Pandemic
Brenda Jimenez is CEO of MENTOR New York, a local Aﬃliate of MENTOR National. She was appointed to the position in December 2019 and has been leading the organization through this time of a global pandemic and racial unrest. She has successfully pivoted and expanded services to be responsive to its longtime partners while reaching new partners and expanding their service portfolio by 55% over 28 weeks and a 3% revenue growth.
When Lived Experience and Preparation Converge
Brenda Jiménez was born in Santurce, Puerto Rico, and raised in a military family stationed in Germany, Texas, and various other states. Her family settled in the Bronx in her adolescence, where she attended the prestigious Cardinal Spellman High School. She received a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Seton Hall University and later pursued a Master’s in Public Administration with a Non-Proﬁt Management concentration from the Robert F. Wagner School for Public Service at New York University. She is currently pursuing her Doctorate in Executive Leadership from The Center of Leadership at The University of Charleston.
Since her days in college, Brenda’s commitment to women’s and children’s issues has driven her service in the community and been the catalyst to her professional choices. Her life’s work has always focused on helping young people have a fair chance at succeeding regardless of their racial/ethnic background, their social-economic circumstances, and the adversities they face. Brenda eﬀectively leads the change she knows this organization can make to support young people across the state to tap into their greatest potential.
A Legacy of Successful Leadership
For ﬁve years preceding the appointment to CEO, Brenda was Director of Operations and Growth Strategies for MENTOR New York, where she developed a clear tactical growth strategy that has resulted in the organization successfully deepening its services within the New York City and Long Island communities while expanding services to Upstate New York. Her eﬀorts helped the organization become independent, open an oﬃce in Buﬀalo, NY, expand staﬀ, and raise an additional $2.3 million over the past ﬁve years. She has expanded staﬀ capacity and eﬃciencies and developed quality controls and processes that support the organization’s sustainability. Her eﬀorts established an organization poised for long-term ﬁnancial and programmatic growth. Her work ensured that an additional 35,000 children across the state are engaged in mentoring relationships during that time.
Unstoppable Even During Uncertain Times
During these diﬃcult times, MENTOR New York has provided more services and had a greater impact than ever before. This has been a direct result of Brenda trusting her team’s talent and expertise and allowing them to take initiative, implement ideas, and leverage their expertise on the local and national level as they navigate this new reality. Her focus for the past 9 months has also included projects that range from creating a network of experts who advise youth development practitioners to designing a racial justice framework for the New York Mentoring Movement that has resonated across the country, providing relevant and responsive services that matter. Under her leadership, she has increased partner engagement and developed resources, tools, and services that have aided over 1,300 mentoring and youth development programs throughout New York in continuing and enhancing their services during these challenging and unprecedented times.
Leveraging the Power of Leadership
As a professional in the non-proﬁt sector, Brenda’s expertise in executive leadership, fund development, board development, and organizational management has supported non-proﬁt Executives and Board of Directors to transform their organizations by increasing their reach and impact for the past 15 years.
During her time at MENTOR New York, she has personally mentored the young, talented up-and-coming leaders in her staﬀ that have gone on to leave their mark in the world, which she considers one of the most rewarding parts of her work.
Brenda volunteers for organizations whose mission she is passionate about. From 2011-2016 she was Board President for AllCare Provider Services, Inc. and is the former Board Treasurer for Latinas United for Political Empowerment Political Action Committee (LUPE PAC). In 2011, she was Vice-Chair to thComité Noviembre 25 Annual Gala. Brenda has received numerous recognitions including Comité Noviembre, “Lo Mejor de Nuestra Comunidad”: “The Best in Our Community” Award 2010, and El Diario/LA PRENSA Latinas Destacadas 2004 Award.
Recently, both Brenda and MENTOR New York were awarded several 2020 Stevie Awards for Women in Business. MENTOR New York received the Silver Stevie Award for Organization of the Year – Government or NonProﬁt– 10 or Less Employees. Brenda also received four awards in the silver and bronze in the following categories:
- Silver Stevie Award for Female Innovator of the Year – Government or Non-Proﬁt –10 or Less Employees
- Silver Stevie Award for Woman of the Year – Government or Non-Proﬁt
- Bronze Stevie Award for Female Executive of the Year – Government or Non-Proﬁt –10 or Less Employees
- Bronze Stevie Award for Most Innovative Woman of the Year – Government or Non-Proﬁt.