Most people can look back over the years and identify individuals who have either formally or informally served as mentors in their personal and professional lives. We aim to make those connections more readily available through our Upstart Mentor Program at Arvest.

Last year, 216 associates from across our footprint were paired for a one-on-one mentoring experience to strengthen skills, gain perspective, and form new relationships. During National Mentoring Month, we want to highlight a few of their stories and showcase the value of investing in each other as teammates and peers. 


Angel Aponte Pizarro, IAS Business Support Desk Advisor

Q: What impact did participating in the Upstart Mentor Program have on you?

A: The mentor program was the missing step in my career with Arvest to move forward and step out of my comfort zone. But I did not realize it until I started to recognize all the benefits.

Q: What would you say to your mentor today about the experience?

A: I will forever be grateful for the attention, patience, and dedication she showed during our sessions. Thanks to her input, I applied to a different position, and after more than 10 years in one department, I am now doing something completely different, out of my comfort zone, and best of all, I love it.

Q: What is one quality or skill you developed as a result of your mentorship?

A: Self-confidence in my own strengths. That was something I had lost. Focusing only on what I should improve made me set aside the skills I was good at. My mentor reinforced my strengths and how I could use them to help others.

Q: Why is mentoring important?

A: It’s as important as training is for a new hire. We can’t help others if we don’t help ourselves as mentees, or others as mentors, first.


Pang Ketchum, Relationship Banker 3

Q: Who were you able to connect with as a result of the Upstart Mentor Program?

A: Participating in this program helped me expand my network by connecting me with people in the career path I am interested in. I definitely believe if I had not had the opportunity to be part of this program, I would not have been able to network as effectively as I did.

Q: What is one area in which you grew as a result of your mentorship?

A: One strength I developed through the mentor program is how to become a better, more efficient, and effective mentor. This was definitely not something I set out to achieve, but I’m so glad to be able to walk away with his knowledge and a lasting relationship with my mentor.

Q: Why is mentoring important?

A: Mentoring is so important for personal and professional growth. This includes so many things like how you react to situations in the workplace or at home and much more.


Shawn Moore, IAS Manager

Q: How did the mentor program impact you directly?

A: Through regular interactions with my mentor, I gained a deeper understanding of my strengths, weaknesses, and areas of improvement. The program provided a safe and supportive space to explore my goals, aspirations, and challenges. It helped me gain clarity, confidence, and a renewed sense of purpose in my career.

Q: What is one quality or skill you developed as a result of your mentorship?

A: One skill I was able to build on was my ability to navigate and manage conflict effectively. My mentor provided valuable insights and strategies as to how to approach and resolve conflicts in a constructive manner. Through my mentor’s guidance, I learned the importance of active listening, empathy, and seeking common ground when dealing with conflicts.

The mentor program exceeded my expectations by providing me with guidance, support, and opportunities for personal and professional growth. It helped me better understand myself and build important skills, such as effective communication.


Brittany Tye, Sales Coordinator

Q: What did you hope to gain out of the Upstart Mentor Program?

A: My expectation as a mentor was to be paired with a mentee I felt I could help impact in whatever way they needed. As a mentee, I want to get to know my mentor on a deeper level and be able to draw from their experiences and learn.

Q: How did the mentor program impact you directly? 

A: I connected with an associate who understood marketing and design on a much deeper level than myself. She was able to educate me in ways that would help me broaden my skill set in my current role.

Q: What is one quality or skill you developed as a result of your mentorship?

A: I need to design certain things in my role and for committees that I serve on that will be scalable and functional for anyone to use. My mentor helped me learn new techniques I can apply when doing these tasks.