By Diana Morose
There will come a time when you'll need help opening doors in your career or gaining access to opportunities, which can be solved by building connections and learning to network now.
One of the ways to do this is by finding a good mentor that will help to guide you down your chosen path. Having a mentor allows you to get in contact with people within your field of interest and helps you to build the connections that will help you further along your career of choice.
Jefferson Noël, a professor at Florida Memorial University and the founder of Barbershop Speaks, said he chose to provide this outlet because students have asked him how they can be better mentees and more easily navigate their professional fields.
“It is difficult to be a good mentor or mentee if you are not taught how,” said Noël.
He said his own mentors gave him a lot of good direction and provided him with different perspectives that helped to lead him down a good path.
Barbershop Speaks began in 2016 holding dialogues about things that matter to the community. They start conversations around relevant topics such as voter education, mental health awareness, financial literacy and the criminal justice system among other things.
In fact, the name of the organization comes from the fact that conversations are already taking place inside barbershops.
“It’s one of the most diverse places in the community. An eight-year-old is sitting next to an 88-year-old. A police officer can be seated in the same chair as a criminal,” Noël said.
Barbershop Speaks is doing more than just hosting conversations, they also give back to the community.
They spearheaded a “Books-for-Free" program where kids can read a book for free when at the barbershop or take the book home with them. They can even get a discount on their haircut.
They have also collected donations for relief funds after Haiti experienced an earthquake. They have expanded along the east coast, traveling to Orlando, Atlanta, New York and other cities.
“We look to expand beyond only talking and really take action to make a difference in the community,” said Noël.