The Many Reasons to Mentor

SCORE mentors are deeply experienced businessmen and women -- some still working, others retired -- looking to share their knowledge and support the start up and growth of local small businesses. Read and hear why they volunteer and what they get out of it.

Mentors come from a wide-range of backgrounds and industries and bring their own business acumen and skillset to the table. They volunteer because they want to help entrepreneurs avoid the mistakes that they made, share their hard-earned knowledge, help to create economic mobility in disadvantaged communities and more. Read and listen to why these mentors volunteer their time.


Ann Lim has been a SCORE mentor for two years. She saw volunteering for SCORE as a “good use” for her product management, marketing, and sales experience in the telecom industry and as an entrepreneur herself. While Ann continues to work full-time, she carves out time during the week to work with her clients. “It makes me feel very useful.”  #IMentorBecause


Ed Shanahan retired from business in 2011. In 2012 he joined SCORE to help entrepreneurs work through the challenges of starting and growing profitable businesses.  8 years and “lots” of clients later, Ed continues to get great satisfaction out of mentoring. “When you know that you can help someone and you’ve made a difference, it definitely makes you feel good.” Plus, Ed has discovered a new passion for developing curriculum and teaching business webinars for SCORE Washington, DC, to rave reviews. #IMentorBecause


Ellen Brotman came to SCORE 5 years ago wanting to mentor other business start-ups after retiring from her 42-year interior design business. Since then, Ellen has mentored hundreds of small businesses of all kinds. And, as the only volunteer with interior design experience in SCORE's vast national mentor network, she has consulted many a grateful designer across the country: “[Ellen] is the best cheerleader. She keeps me in check, and because she was in the same industry, she gives me great guidance.” Even more so, Ellen cherishes the collaboration with her fellow mentors. #IMentorBecause


Having sold his IT business and retired early in life, Kalpesh Patel was interested in giving back to the community: “I thought I can help entrepreneurs avoid making the mistakes I made [when building his business].” In his almost 4 years as a mentor, Kalpesh has worked with a variety of small businesses -- video publishers, pet grooming services, IT products, app development, retail, life coaches – and, at the same time, has expanded his own knowledge of these industries. “Small businesses are the engine of our country and to help a small business owner get through that first 2 or 3 years is critical.” #IMentorBecause


Like other SCORE mentors, Kristin Sharpe wanted to give back in a meaningful way after the sale of her IT company and some time off. She had heard about SCORE and gave it a try. Two years later, Kristin is deeply involved with the DC chapter as its Marketing Chair, mentoring a full slate of clients and coaching several participants in this year’s Black Entrepreneur Pitch event, one of whom was named a winner. “Every entrepreneur is on a journey. And it’s these little steps – like making a P&L projection for the first time – that is big. It seems small, but it’s big and having been there, I know it’s a big step.” #IMentorBecause


Marla Schulman is a doer. She is the owner of a foreign language translation and interpretation company, and she volunteers with several organizations, including SCORE. She was drawn to SCORE because, as a small business owner and entrepreneur herself, the “idea of being able to help others through the growing pains” that she had experienced was very appealing and meaningful. “The sense of fulfillment and pride when your client achieves some kind of success – whether small or large – is terrific. And the opportunity to network and work with other SCORE volunteers – many of whom have had high-powered careers in the DC area -- is rewarding.” Since becoming a SCORE...


In his extensive career as a furniture store owner and commercial landlord, Richard Rose had been involved in every aspect of retail business. “I had a lot of first-hand experience and wisdom to pass on to others.” And for the last 13 years, Richard has shared this knowledge with countless, grateful SCORE clients: “Richard provides thoughtful, no-nonsense guidance. While always kind, he does not sugar coat his feedback, making it immediately useful without us having to read between the lines.” #IMentorBecause


Sandra Marley has run a successful business since 2009 and over the years colleagues would refer start-ups to her saying “Oh, Sandra, can help you with this,” thus beginning her “unofficial” mentorship of small businesses. Then, last year, after learning about SCORE from Prince George’s Economic Development Council, Sandra made the shift to become an official small business mentor and became a certified SCORE Mentor at the start of 2021. It has only been 6 months, but Sandra has already made a big impact. “As small businesses, we are the engine of the economy. In terms of job creation, wealth creation, legacy creation for our families, and, as a woman of color, it...


Wen Xiao, the founder and owner of a 10-year-old architectural engineering company, went to her first meeting with a SCORE mentor and left it having been convinced to become one. Juggling both the business and mentoring responsibilities is a challenge, but Wen’s good time management skills have made it work. Wen is still fairly new to SCORE, having just finished her onboarding at the end of last year, but she has found the resources and community of mentors invaluable. It is “like a free business school education.” #IMentorBecause