Mentoring Spotlight: Ana Carneiro & Kyle Vey

16 Sep

Mentor Pair Ana Carneiro & Kyle Vey

Ana and Kyle have been mentor pairs since 2011. We asked the pair to reflect on their mentoring relationship. Below are two Q&As: one, with Point Scholar Kyle Vey, a senior at North Carolina State University with a double major in biomedical and mechanical engineering, and  Ana Carneiro, Assistant Professor in the Pharmacology Department at Vanderbilt University and a straight ally.

Q&A with Kyle Vey: 

Now that you’ve gotten to know Ana, how has  the Mentoring Program enhanced the financial support you receive from Point?  

Having Ana as a mentor has been a really great experience.  I can talk to her about pretty much anything.  She checks in on me and ensures that I am doing well in school, and she asks about my personal life as well.  Ana has even helped me with finding a suitable summer research program to help me build my resume as graduation approaches.  She is really invested in my overall success.

Are there any particular activities that you found to be beneficial for developing and sustaining the mentoring relationship?

Unfortunately, Ana and I don’t get to see each other too often because we live in different states; however, Point has made it possible for  us to attend multiple conferences together throughout the year.  The time we spend together in person is invaluable.  These conferences often take place in different cities, so Ana and I get to do a bit of exploring in new settings while we catch up with one anotherTraveling is a huge passion for both of us; it’s another way for us to bond.

What feedback or assistance (to/from each other) has been most helpful?

Since my first year of college, Ana has always stressed the importance of quantifying my results.  She understands that as an engineer, quantification is the best method for me to absorb new information, even when dealing with LGBTQ social matters.  Her feedback for my community service projects has been immensely helpful.  Ana not only helps me develop ways to gauge the overall success of my projects through numbers, but she also challenges me to improve those statistics.  How can I serve more people?  How can I have a greater impact?  These are the kinds of questions Ana helps me to solve.

What new or improved skills, knowledge, or attitudes have you gained as a result of the mentorship?

Ana has helped me develop my professional communication skills.  During my first year of college, I needed to contact quite a few faculty members and request to speak to their students about North Carolina’s proposed anti-LGBTQ marriage amendment.  Ana helped me edit and re-edit my proposal so that the faculty would be more willing to respond.  She taught me how to keep my wording formal yet ardent.  Thanks to her help, my community service project that year was a huge success.

Overall, what is the most beneficial change that you have identified in yourself as a result of your mentorship?

Before college, I had a lot of different ideas about what I wanted to do for the rest of my life.  Part of me wanted to get my Ph.D.  Another part of me wanted to go into industry, and yet another part was set on business.  I still have not set my path in stone, but Ana has guided me in narrowing down my professional aspirations to what I really love.  The importance of this change has only recently dawned on me as I begin my senior year, and I am confident that Ana will continue to aid me in these decisions.

Q&A with Ana Carneiro :

What initially drew you to Point (and mentoring)?

Success in a competitive career depends, in a large part, on identifying and seizing opportunities. Some people may say it is luck, but I believe that identifying opportunities is a skill that one can develop. In my own career, I’ve had outstanding mentors who have pushed me to seek novel opportunities and seize them. I’ve also had the support from my own parents who are also in Academia. Therefore, once I got the minimum experience and credibility to become a mentor, I started working with students. Becoming Kyle’s Point mentorand following his growth has been an honor. In reality, I am deeply and genuinely interested in other people; I have learned a lot from Kyle, too.

Are there any particular activities that you found to be beneficial for developing and sustaining the mentoring relationship?

Our relationship is trickier than most because we live in different states. We see each other once a year, for a limited amount of time. Therefore, I have kept a formal journal of Kyle’s progress and have a calendar where I try to keep in touch with Kyle as much as I can. We have been texting and e-mailing often, which helps, but nothing replaces one-on-one meetings. As Kyle progresses in his career, and becomes more independent, we may have to work a bit harder to keep in touch, but I try to always be there for Kyle.

What feedback or assistance (to/from each other) has been most helpful?

Besides the distance, I am an Ally, and am still learning about some of the challenges that LGBTQ students face in and out of school. Kyle has been very open about some of the issues that I may not be sensitive or aware of. I think even more important than his sexuality, is the fact that we have a bit of an age gap and also a cultural one. While I’m trying to catch up, Kyle has been very patient and it’s been helpful because I can understand how he feels once I “get” the context of things. Seems like a cliche but he’s helped me a lot to help him.

What new or improved skills, knowledge, or attitudes have you gained as a result of the mentorship?

Keeping in touch with a protégé can be challenging. The biggest challenge for me has been to periodically check on Kyle. I’ve developed a system that does NOT include a formal calendar check; I often think of Kyle and have been contacting him every time he pops in my mind. Somehow doing things spontaneously has strengthened our relationship.

Overall, what is the most beneficial change that you have identified in yourself as a result of your mentorship?

I have never met anyone as bright, dedicated and hard-working as Kyle. It is fun to watch him sign up for unbelievably hard courses with demanding lab work, create challenging community service projects and  ace them all. I have to listen to him very carefully to tease out what are the issues I can assist on or give a helping hand. I had to completely change my mentoring spiel to match Kyle’s needs, and therefore, I think I’ve become a more dynamic mentor.

Point Foundation Welcomes Two New Members in Atlanta to our Board of Directors

17 Jul

Louis-Gary_webLouis A. Gary is a Financial Advisor at Ameriprise Financial. With a career initially founded in property & casualty accounting operations, Louis has worked for Allstate and Safeco Insurance Companies. In 1996, he and a group of entrepreneurial investors and business developers created one of the first financial services internet portals, bringing discounted auto/home insurance and other voluntary benefits to employees of large corporations; where most first had access to internet technology at their work.

Louis was recognized by the Atlanta Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce in 2009 as its member of the year for his support in coordinating and hosting a network of LGBTQ Business Builder Luncheons around the Atlanta Metro.

Louis has always dreamed of funding an LGBTQ scholarship program at his alma mater, Mississippi State University. Having discovered the Point Foundation, his mission is to increase Cornerstone memberships and Point Scholars from the Southeast. Learn more about Louis.


Ken Thaxton was born and raised in Roberta, GA. Ken studied Business and Information Technology at Macon State College. Ken and his father started an aircraft charter company, Southern Jet, Inc., under Part 135 of the Federal Aviation Regulations. Ken served as President of Southern Jet from 2006 until 2010, when he and his father sold the company. Ken is a Commercially Licensed Instrument, Multi-Engine Pilot.
While serving as President of Southern Jet, Ken started Law School at the University Of Georgia School Of Law in 2009. He focused primarily on business and civil law, including Workers’ Compensation and graduated Cum Laude and in the top 25% of his class in 2012. Ken is licensed to practice law and a neutral (mediator) in the State of Georgia. Ken represents small businesses in transactional matters and business conflicts, and he also represents injured workers and Plaintiffs injured in cases of negligence.

During his spare time, Ken enjoys swimming, cycling, sporting clays, and fishing. Learn more about Ken.

Internship Connects the Generations in the LGBTQ Community

3 Jul

14_JUL_Sy_Sage_webNew York Point Honors Point Scholar Saidzhan Abdul (“Sy”) is 22 years old, but he has chosen to spend his summer helping people who are more than twice his age. A student at the University of Pennsylvania, Sy is interning at the New York headquarters of Services & Advocacy for GLBT Elders (SAGE), thanks to the internship opportunities made available to him through his Point Foundations Scholarship and support of The Palette Fund.

A key focus of the Point scholarship is fostering intergenerational communication and cooperation, developed through mentoring, community service projects, and internships. Five years ago The Palette Fund partnered with Point to launch an internship program, which has made it possible for Point Scholars to spend the summer experiencing substantial,professional work that directly benefits LGBTQ community nonprofits. Because The Palette Fund underwrites a stipend for the scholar, a participating nonprofit does not have to incur any costs for having a gifted student work for them during the summer.

“As The Palette Fund continually strives to engage youth in philanthropy and help build the next generation of LGBT leaders, we are thrilled to partner with Point Foundation for this summer program once again,” said Terrence Meck, Co-Founder & President of The Palette Fund. “Point is a beacon in our community for understanding the importance of education. By working together, we are able to offer summer internships that add value to the student’s curriculum. Plus, young people also earn much needed income and experience while helping an LGBT nonprofit organization.”

We are sincerely grateful to The Palette Fund for enabling us to provide such meaningful opportunities to our scholars. Through the internship program, scholars are able to connect their academic preparation to their career aspirations, develop their leadership skills, and give back to the LGBTQ community,” explains Darrin Wilstead, Mentoring & Alumni Program Director at Point Foundation.

“To be able to utilize my skills and acquire a new set of tools in nonprofit development, advocacy, and strategic planning while interning at SAGE is a real gift for me,” says Sy. “I hope I can provide the people at SAGE with the same kind of passion and commitment Point Foundation and The Palette Fund have shown me.”

The Palette Fund’s commitment to Point’s internship program has helped encourage other philanthropic donors to support an additional internship. According to a recent Gallup-Purdue University study of college graduates, having had a meaningful internship during college, “where they were able to apply what they were learning in the classroom,” resulted in graduates who were much more engaged in their post-collegiate jobs and had an improved sense of well-being.


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