Thank Your Mentor Spotlight: Rosamaria Cristello

Someone who has been a mentor to me...

I have been blessed with several mentors at different times and stages of my life. One was Dr. Victor Garcia during my college years and Barb Murock when I first arrived in Pittsburgh.

These people have had such a big impact on my life because...

Much of how I approach the work I do comes from what Dr. Garcia and Barb taught me in formative years of my life. Both taught me the importance of advocacy and how to use your voice and personal story to help others understand a different perspective. They helped me to see myself as someone whose life experiences and challenges only made me stronger, not weaker.  As a member of the Latino community himself, Dr. Garcia took the time to help me see that it was not I who was inadequate, but that the systems around me and my family were not set up to support people like us.

Both showed me the importance of using my voice to not only shed light on these injustices, but to address them in a professional manner. It is not about how loud your voice is as an advocate, but about how strong your argument is. They taught me how to use empathy to find common ground, how to listen to those around you and how to make real change happen through collaborations and hard work. I use these approaches to this day.

Why is mentoring important for everyone?

There will be moments in your life when you simply need someone who you trust and who knows you well enough to help you think through things. A person who will listen, challenge you and provide honest feedback that may be hard to hear at times, but that no one else will give you. That is a mentor. It is important and critical if you want to keep moving forward and continue to grow.

A message for my mentor...

Thank you for believing in me and taking the time to mentor me when I needed it most. For pushing me, challenging me and for simply taking the time to see me. Because of you, I am able to now do the same for others.

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