Mentor inspires and changes lives

From left to right, Sameer Romani, Kris Taylor, and Captain Steve Taylor enjoy a dazzling night getting to know one another at the Pathfinder Gala.

Through his efforts in making professional connections, sophomore Sameer Romani has found desirable qualities and wisdom in his mentor, Captain Steve Taylor, who has plenty to teach him.

“When I first met Captain Taylor, I knew I wanted to be a pilot,” said Romani. “After meeting him, I knew the kind of person I wanted to be. With every interaction that followed, I learned not only how to prepare myself for the aviation industry, but how to be a decent human being.”

Taylor has a great amount of respect for Romani because of his personality, maturity, and his hunger for the the future.

“I would describe Sameer as a very fine young man; creative, polite, focused, and highly motivated,” said Taylor. “He is very polished, well beyond what would [be] reasonable to expect for a young man his age.”

Romani looks up to and admires Taylor and, because of his knowledge and experience, always takes his advice to heart.

“I’d describe my mentor as a selfless, humble individual who is exquisitely wise,” said Romani. “His knowledge of the aviation industry and experience in leadership has been an invaluable combination which has made for priceless advice. In short – if someone were to represent humility in the form of a human being, it’d be a mirror image of my mentor.”

Taylor makes a great role model for Romani, helping to guide him to his future career and the person Romani aspires to be.

“Captain Taylor is one of the most effective leaders I’ve had the pleasure of meeting within this industry and merely being in his presence is an honor,” said Romani. “He offers me something which not many can–the ability to see myself as the person I’d like to be.”

This mentor/mentee relationship is not one-sided, seeing as Romani has plenty to offer Taylor in return for his wisdom and experience.

“I can help Sameer with the wisdom that only comes from experience,” said Taylor. “Sameer constantly reminds me of the joy of youth since his enthusiasm is unbridled by the baggage that comes along with experience.”

Instead of being matched through RAHS’ mentor network, Romani went out of his way to make connections, resulting in meeting his mentor.

“Captain Taylor and I met on LinkedIn, a social media site, after I sent him a connection request,” said Romani. “I intended to expand my network in the aviation industry and was unsure of how this method would work out. Within hours, he had accepted my request.”

While Romani was surprised, Taylor knew of RAHS and the high level of professionalism that the students present.

“I have always been impressed with Raisbeck [Aviation] High [School] students, so it was natural for me to accept the connection,” said Taylor. “All the credit goes to Sameer.”

Taylor agreed to be Romani’s mentor after only one meeting because of the similarities that he recognized between them.

“Sameer’s confidence in his plans for the future reminded me of my similar confidence at that age,” said Taylor. “My career didn’t turn out to look like what I expected it to and I think I can use that experience to help Sameer find the path that’s right for him.”

Though their relationship is mostly a professional partnership, Romani and Taylor have a more personal connection than most mentor/mentee pairs. The personal aspect of their mentorship has grown through special events, allowing them to be there for each other when times get rough.

“On the day of Halloween, my mentor invited me to attend his father’s memorial service,” said Romani. “Knowing it was a sensitive moment, what could I say? Before I knew it, I found myself in a church, being the only Indian guy wearing an all black suit. And no, it was not my costume. It was an honor to attend the event, despite the somber occasion. I knew my mentor would do the same for me had I been in this predicament.”

Romani went out of his way to make connections and he is very grateful that he did, seeing as it resulted in meeting Taylor outside the RAHS mentor program.
“My experience with the mentor program has been a mostly positive experience,” said Romani. “While I feel the breakfasts have too many presentations, it’s been a valuable way to converse with my mentor and meet others.”

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