Why Mentorship Matters to San Antonio Companies and the CAST Schools Network

Mentorship meeting at CAST Tech in September 2019

Mentorship meeting at CAST Tech in September 2019

Mentorships! What an amazing thing. H-E-B has been involved in mentoring students as long as I can remember. Some are official, and some are unofficial; some are with internal H-E-B Partners (employees), some are students from schools across Bexar county, and some are with schools beyond our county borders. No matter the location, mentorships are part of our amazing culture. That’s one of the reasons why when CAST Schools was developing its first campus, CAST Tech, H-E-B leaders chose to be at the decision making table.

During the development of CAST Tech, H-E-B Chief Information Officer Gavin Gallagher sat in early meetings about everything from building design, to school lunches, to computer languages. He pushed to ensure that CAST Tech students had real-world experiences, including job shadowing, internships and more. Gavin played a key role in supporting our H-E-B IT/Digital Partners, allowing them to volunteer on company time to connect with students.

Benefits of Mentorship

At H-E-B, we believe that any young person who seeks out a mentor should have one. Not only are they great for the mentee for career advice, life advice, and just plain friendship, they are a great resource for us to identify future talent early.

Currently we have over 20 H-E-B Partners mentoring students at CAST Tech, in departments and jobs ranging from Own Brand Packaging and Design to UX Design and beyond. This is exciting for both the students and mentors, and many of our high school summer interns come from these mentoring relationships.

A few years back, I became an “unofficial” mentor for a Partner, Jeremy, who was right out of high school, heading to his first year of college, and working part-time at H-E-B. While he liked his job, he was not taking any steps to further his career—or life, for that matter. His father, a current general manager at H-E-B, asked me to chat with him. After several meetings and sharing some really tough feedback with him, his attitude changed, and he began to really put in the work to grow his career and excel in college. Jeremy has grown into his role at H-E-B; he is now a store leader, which for us is the equivalent of a small business CEO. Today, Jeremy is mentoring Partners of his own. Sometimes hearing “straight talk” from someone other than your parents makes a difference.

Entrance to CAST Tech High School in San Antonio

Katie Chain Program Manager HEB mentorships CAST Schools

Katie Chain

Mentorship Develops Our Future Workforce

H-E-B will continue to support the CAST Schools network as we truly believe our future leaders are a part of these amazing schools. We love that so many of the pathways at CAST Schools—from coding, cyber security, user experience, advanced manufacturing, and engineering, to logistics, e-commerce, and retail leadership—represent growing needs at our company.

At H-E-B, I have the privilege to lead our work connecting students with job shadowing, mentors, and ultimately internships and leadership roles at our company. One of the many reasons I love my job is my personal motto: “Remember that today you can not only make a difference in your own life, but in the life of others.”

Charter Moms Chats

Watch Katie Chain, Program Manager at H-E-B, and Jason Salazar, senior at CAST Tech, talk with Inga Cotton about mentorship on February 25, 2021 at 4:00 PM Central live on Facebook and YouTube.

Katie Chain is an Education and Workforce Program Manager at H-E-B. Katie has worked at H-E-B for over 22 years. In her current role, she builds relationships with educational partners across San Antonio and beyond to offer experiential learning opportunities for students and educators.

Jason Salazar is a student in the CAST Tech class of 2021.

Read More About CAST Schools and Mentorship

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