Boston City Council Candidates Talk About Mentoring

With Election Day coming up quickly on Tuesday November 3, Mass Mentoring Partnership reached out to candidates for the Boston City Council to find out some of their thoughts on mentoring. Read below to learn about their personal mentors and why they think mentoring is critical- and of course- please get out to the polls and vote on Tuesday! Click here for more information! 

At-Large Councilor Michelle Wu

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Why do you believe mentoring is important?

Mentoring is important for giving encouragement and boosting confidence in a young person, as well as creating a safe space for conversation and exploration. Even more important, mentoring provides young people with tangible role models – and by doing so, it expands their idea of what’s possible in their own lives. Growing up, I never knew anyone who ran for public office, and I didn’t see any politicians who looked like me. In fact, Michelle Kwan was the prominent Asian American woman in the news at that time, so I got a lot of suggestions to become a figure skater! Now, I always make sure to encourage young people, especially young women and Asian Americans, to consider running for office.

Who are some of your mentors and what impact did those individuals have on your life?

I’ve been lucky to benefit from so many mentors and guides along the way, from teachers and neighbors to bosses and coworkers. These mentors have helped me think through big decisions and also keep perspective in difficult times. I am so grateful to all these mentors for sharing their time, energy, and experiences to give me guidance. You never know what life will bring, but having a group of trusted mentors can help get you through any situation. 


At-Large Councilor Stephen Murphy

Why do you believe mentoring is important?

Mentoring is very important because everyone needs positive role models to emulate in life.  People who serve as examples to our young; parents, teachers, community leaders and elected officials pass along lessons learned to the next generation.  Older kids can serve as positive role models to those who are younger in school and in our neighborhoods.  Having a role model or mentor benefits both parties, and teaches valuable skills to both as well. 

Who are some of your mentors and what impact did those individuals have on your life?

We all need mentors at every stage of life and we should never stop listening to the people that we admire.  Some of my mentors include:

Charles McCabe was a history teacher at Boston Latin School.   As a veteran of foreign war, he understood the very real stakes involved in character development.  He challenged his students to stand up for what was right, especially in the face of peer pressure.  I have on many occasions been faced with an easy choice and the right choice. I still ask myself "what would Charlie McCabe expect me to do?".  I try to live up to his standards when the going gets tough.

Robert E. White was my first private sector employer after college.  He had a great sense of civic responsibility and really understood that individuals can make a difference in their neighborhood, and in their neighbor’s lives.  He was generous, especially to those who needed help.  I largely credit him with giving me a push into politics because it is where I have and can help people the most.

Robert Crane, former Treasurer for the Commonwealth has become one of my later life mentors.  I knew him years ago when I was working at the State House and always admired his work as State Treasurer.  Longest serving State Treasurer, and always able to think outside of the box (he started the Mass State Lottery, a critical source of revenue for our State). He has become a friend, a great confidant and source of guidance for me.  I am honored that he is always willing to listen to ideas and offer his advice.  


At-Large Councilor Ayanna Pressley

Ayanna Pressley head shot.jpg

Why do you believe mentoring is important?

Dr. King famously once said, "Everyone can be great because everyone can serve." Mentoring is one way that everyone can, and should serve. It is the most cost effective, sustainable way to have an impact in someone's life, especially a young person's.

Mentoring is critical to informing aspiration, and to providing mentees with a road map to realize those aspirations. I champion mentoring as a violence prevention tool, as a human capital resource to get our young people on path to healthier life choices, academic and professional success. 

In 2010 I established A.B.C. Ayanna's BIG challenge, a recruitment drive in partnership with Big Sister Association of Greater Boston and Big Brothers Big Sisters of Massachusetts Bay to focus specifically on the recruitment of BIGS in underserved communities with long wait lists. 

We are failing those parents who signed their children up, recognizing they needed support and reinforcement, and we are failing those children hungry for supplemental attention, guidance and love.

Having been a Big Sister, and a literacy mentor through, "Everybody Wins!", and a professional mentor to many young women, I can tell you, it is also a gift for the mentor. I've personally gained and learned so much from my mentees throughout the years.

Who are some of your mentors and what impact did those individuals have on your life?

I've had the good fortune to be personally and professionally mentored and encouraged by many, but I must admit, some of the best mentoring I've received has been from those I've never had the privilege to meet, but found myself, inspired and mentored by their example. To name a few:

  • Marian Wright Edelman informed my work on behalf of our most vulnerable children
  • Congresswoman Shirley Chisholm strengthened my resolve to pursue a career in public service
  • Congresswoman Barbara Jordan informed my desire to be a well studied and effective orator
  • Robert Kennedy informed my anti-poverty work


Candidate for District 4 Andrea Campbell

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Why do you believe mentoring is important?

Mentorship is important because it provides individuals, especially young people, with access to opportunities, exposure to new ideas and careers, and companions who are invested in their success. It allows young people to imagine possibilities beyond their everyday lives and have a role model to provide meaningful guidance on personal and professional matters. 

Who are some of your mentors and what impact did those individuals have on your life?

One of my many mentors was an individual I met while a student at Boston Latin School.  He was my employer and exposed me to many things including Boston's financial sector.  He has been a friend ever since and when I embarked on this run for city council he not only donated to this campaign he encouraged others to do the same.  I met another mentor while at Princeton University.  A Princeton alum and attorney in Boston, this individual became a good friend who would later write me a recommendation to law school and the state bar association, and was always available to offer advice about employment opportunities.  Both of them are dear friends and these relationships started as mentor-mentee.