About ten years ago the business and Board of the MSUM Paseka School of Business decided to introduce a mentorship program. Rick Kasper, who was on the board at the time, has been influencing the program and its participants ever since, as a mentor.
“I was in on the ground floor many years ago and now the program seems quite strong,” says Rick.
He is currently the executive vice president and CFO of Minn-Dak Farmers Cooperative. Rick graduated from MSUM with a Bachelor of Science in accounting in 1980. Today he continues to participate in the executive mentorship program as a mentor.
He spent this past spring mentoring Erin Dollerschell, a 2021 MSUM accounting graduate.
The pair spent the semester meeting with each other both in person and over zoom. During their meetings Rick helped Erin prepare for her career post-graduation.
“The first time we met in person we did a mock interview,” says Erin. “It helped me sharpen my skills and learn what to do and what not to do.”
Erin said doing the mock interview was one of the things she enjoyed the most during her time in the program.
“I gained a lot of confidence in myself. It was nice to hear all of the kind feedback from Rick,” says Erin. “Hearing that I’m doing things right and that I’m well prepared was really helpful for me.”
Rick talks about how he is proud of helping Erin grow self-assurance in her skills. He emphasized the importance of setting personal and professional goals, which he assisted her with.
“We discussed short, medium and long-term goals. It’s good to have all of those,” says Rick. “It’s important to remember that not all goals will be realized because life has a way of steering us in different directions that we weren’t anticipating.”
“Doing this really helped me plan out what I want to do with my life and how I can achieve my goals,” says Erin.
Erin really appreciated having a mentor as it was someone new to give her advice and show her a unique perspective.
“A lot of my successes and overall life experiences have been because of close family friends and other people I am familiar with so having this person that I didn’t know at all there to guide me was really eye-opening,” says Erin.
Rick enjoys being a mentor because he gets to spend time with students, “our future leaders”.
“As a mentor, we end up learning more from our interactions with great students than vice versa,” says Rick.
Erin, in turn, appreciates his advice and life experience.
“Rick helped me realize all of the different opportunities I have and places I can take my career,” says Erin.
Rick agrees that having a mentor is very beneficial for students. He enjoys giving them counsel that helps them make important decisions.
“It’s nice to be able to have someone like a mentor to give you another perspective when it comes to making informed choices,” says Rick.
Relationships between mentors and their mentees often continue after the semester concludes.
“We’re there during the rest of college and beyond in case questions or needs come up,” says Rick.
Rick Kasper's nine years on the board of the MSUM Foundation – currently as Past-President – will end on June 30, 2022. Yet his impact on students and the mentorship program will continue long after his term.
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