Moore Forward Seeking to Build Mentoring Network
Pat Corso had a mentor when he started in the restaurant and resort business almost four decades ago.
"He took me under his wing and I had no business being there," said Corso, 62, former CEO of Pinehurst Resort, who is now executive director of Moore County Partners in Progress. "If it wasn't for him, I never would have had the chance to do what I have done in my career."
Corso said his mentor "never let me have a continuous pity party."
"He was the kind of guy that would kick you in the butt, get you back on track and get you focused," Corso said. "It wasn't always pleasant. He was a tough coach. But he saw something in me, and inspired me to do more than I thought I could do.
"I think mentors are only too happy to impart their knowledge, encouragement and tough love."
Moore Forward, an initiative launched earlier this year by Partners in Progress, is seeking individuals to serve on its Mentors Council and is hosting a recruiting event Tuesday at 5 p.m. at Railhouse Brewery in Aberdeen.
"We're looking for people who want to share their experience to create more successful people like themselves," Corso said. "We encourage anyone who feels a sense of wanting to give back to consider becoming a mentor."
Corso said there are many successful business people and entrepreneurs in Moore County.
"We do a very good job of asking them for their money," he said. "I don't recall when we've asked them for their intellectual capital."
Jeremy Reynolds, a partner at Tangram Media in Seven Lakes who is an interim co-executive director of Moore Forward, said the goal is to create a pool of volunteers willing to help entrepreneurs with a specific concern, issue or problem.
"Ideally, we would identify a mentor who would be a good fit for the entrepreneur, and then the two of them would work out the details of their relationship," Reynolds said. "We would also draw on our mentors for speaking events, panel discussions, and possible feedback sessions for entrepreneurial ideas or pitches."
Reynolds and Corso said a handful of volunteers have stepped forward since the initiative was launched last month, but more mentors are needed to reach critical mass.
"The Mentors Council is a big push for us right now," Reynolds said. "We really want to see this work."
Reynolds said the brewery was selected for the event because co-owners Mike Ratkowski and Brian Evitts have "bootstrapped" their operation from Day One.
"These guys are true entrepreneurs," Reynolds said. "They're very innovative. They're part of Moore Forward. It just made sense to have it there.
"There will be no selling, no speeches and no name tags - just entrepreneurs, donors and mentors getting together and sharing a beer."
Moore Forward is designed to attract entrepreneurs in the technology, wellness and military industries.
"We have such a dynamic environment in Moore County that we're going to pull this off," Reynolds said. "It's not going to happen overnight. It's going to take a while. But we've got a lot of energy right now and a massive amount of interest.
"It's going to be a case study for rural counties all across the country once we get it done."
Contact Ted M. Natt Jr. at (910) 693-2474 or tnatt@the pilot.com.
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