CPE Mentor Spotlight with Aaron Slaughter

Aaron Slaughter became a CPE mentor in January of 2016. He has supported and guided his mentee for nearly 5 years throughout high school, and now as he is in college. Aaron is passionate about mentoring because he benefited from it throughout the course of his life. He is a Senior Manager at a CPA firm in the Washington, DC area. Learn more about CPE mentor, Aaron, below.

Why did you become a mentor?

I became a mentor because I realized the impact having mentors played in my successes, both professionally and personally. Whether it has been a boss spending extra time to make sure I was supported, a coach taking me to and from practice, or a friend’s father encouraging me to chase my dreams…mentorship has allowed me to be the man I am today.

How have you been able to sustain the relationship with your mentee during COVID-19?

COVID hasn’t really changed how we interact, honestly. With Fred being in Atlanta for college, our communications were always frequent calls and texts. It has however impacted our holiday tradition. Since my immediate family lives in Atlanta, Fred would come spend Christmas with my family. It’s not looking very promising that I’ll even be able to fly down this year with the pandemic, and I’m bummed I won’t get to have some time to just relax and share in the laughs and good food with him.

In what ways are you helping him get through this pandemic?

The pandemic has been tough for all of us. My heart hurts for these students trying to navigate this remote life. They’re unable to see their friends, grow socially, have in-person interactions with their professors, play sports, etc.

Fred has had to deal with the unemployment effects, being far away from his family, the loss of multiple family members, the headaches that come from dealing with the bursar and registrar’s offices, FAFSA appeals, tuition costs, rent…I mean the list goes on-and-on.

I have been trying to be a sounding board for him to just vent most times. I try to remind him that the Good Lord would not bring us all the way here to leave us, and that we can’t give up on this diploma. I’ve tried to provide him with advice on staying focused and the value of being mentally tough. We have spoken of how we must push through the very challenging obstacles with his college’s bursar/registrar. Sometimes, it’s about knowing someone is there for you. I feel he truly knows that I am here for him to the very best of my ability to do so.

What is one of your mentee’s dreams?

Young Fred would love to have his own clothing line one day. He’s very interested in using his artistic side with whatever he pursues going forward, and wants to create. Although he hasn’t quite expressed it, I think Fred would love to become an actor one day or be close to the entertainment industry. He LOVES Los Angeles, CA, and the camera.

How are you helping him achieve it?

I am a little out of my element in helping him with the clothing line. I encourage him to continue honing his skills with respect to sewing and creating. We also talk about what life AFTER graduation will look like and the importance of connections.

Before the pandemic, I actually had a trip set up for him to accompany me to Los Angeles, and meet some of the entertainment contacts I’ve made. The trip was going to be in March 2020…and as we all know the Pandemic put a stop to that, unfortunately.

How has CPE helped you in your mentoring relationship?

CPE has helped me with some of the administrative pieces that I’m not too familiar with, like the FAFSA appeal. Farnel and Malisha have been able to help answer questions and help Young Fred. I’m very appreciative of their efforts, calls, and thoughts.

What advice would you give anyone considering mentoring?

a. DO IT. You already had the thought…why would you not? What’s stopping you? What would your grandmother say?
b. If we had more people who could think beyond themselves and actually cared about giving back without wanting anything in return, the world would be a better place.
c. Again, I bring it back to what made me become a mentor…if I didn’t become a mentor, then I’d be letting everyone down who helped me get to where I am today.