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Jandernoa Entrepreneurial Mentoring Program Looking for Next Class

As you may or may not have known, Wayne is a part of the first class graduating from the Jandernoa Entrepreneurial Mentoring (JEM) Program.  It offers small business leaders / entrepreneurs in West Michigan the opportunity to be mentored by other successful business and community leaders to enhance their businesses.  In a recent article on MLive.com, Wayne was interviewed about the process and his experience as a mentee, as the program is opening for the next class of mentors / mentees.

The image gallery of the article also gives a sneak peak at JEM's office, which just happened to be designed by Visbeen Architects.
{ Stay tuned for more final photos of this beautiful downtown space - coming soon! }


Mike Jandernoa’s business mentoring program looking for next class of entrepreneurs

Shandra Martinez | smartinez@mlive.comBy Shandra Martinez | smartinez@mlive.com 
on April 16, 2013 at 11:30 AM, updated April 16, 2013 at 1:32 PM
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Jandernoa Entrepreneurial Mentoring in Grand Rapids
EnlargeMike Jandernoa, former CEO of Perrigo Company, and Wayne Visbeen talk inside the Jandernoa Entrepreneurial Mentoring office in downtown Grand Rapids Monday, March 25, 2013. Jandernoa mentors Visbeen through through the program. (Cory Morse | MLive.com)Jandernoa Entrepreneurial Mentoring in Grand Rapids gallery (4 photos)

GRAND RAPIDS, MI -- When Wayne Visbeen asked about joining Jandernoa Entrepreneurial Mentoring, founder Mike Jandernoa asked him if he was interested in a mentor role.

But the successful architect felt there was a lot he could still learn from the former Perrigo CEO and other business executives.

“I thought I could get into a program with Mike leading it, and get advice from business people of his caliber for virtually no cost,” said Visbeen, who designed the high-end retailer A.K. Rikk’s store and has a national reputation for his residential designs.

“When you think of what kind of business savvy they are offering to a firm like mine. Not only Mike but nine other mentors at the same time. People from banking, manufacturing, corporations. To have all that brainpower, brain trust offering us advice.”

Visbeen is part of the first class that will graduate from the program at the end of the summer. Now, JEM is looking for a new set of mentors and mentees for the next class.
Launched in 2009 by Jandernoa, JEM pairs former or current CEOs with younger leaders of smaller companies to provide a listening ear and business counsel.

“There’s an opportunity to deliver a lot without a big expense because the mentors are working and committing their time for free,” said Jandernoa, who came up with the idea five years ago. “That’s the value-added.”

He said 10 mentors who are finishing up their three-year commitment enjoyed the experience so much, they now want to mentor someone else.

Jandernoa ultimately sees the program as a way to build a stronger West Michigan economy by helping businesses grow and create more jobs.

Visbeen said he felt especially lucky when he was paired with Jandernoa, his former neighbor, as his mentor.

He needed advice in succession planning for his architecture firm, and Jandernoa recommended selling the business. Under his deal with Holland-based GMB Architecture, Visbeen stays on for 10 years focusing on the design aspect of the 10-person firm instead of the business side.

Jandernoa says Visbeen’s listening skills made him a good mentee.

“A key aspect of the mentee-mentor relationship is having good communication on both sides,” said Jandernoa, adding that a mentee has to be willing to be open about their business, communicate what is going well and what is not.

Visbeen gave Jandernoa and the group access to his financials and other operational details.


“It’s like having a board of directors of A players,” said Visbeen, adding "The time they have given has been really amazing gift to my company.”
Visbeen and other participants pay $3,500 a year, which covers the expenses of the program.

Like Visbeen, other mentees are looking at accelerating their growth patterns. Expertise provided through JEM helps them do that with a little less risk, says Jandernoa, adding that increases the businesses’ odds of doing well.

“That’s one of the areas the mentors can be very clear about helping the mentees think through,” Jandernoa said.

Greg Tusch credits JEM with strengthening his 6-year-old business, Compass Point Labor Management, which helps military veterans transition into civil careers.
His mentor, Kim Horn, is helping him develop new markets.

“She has been very helpful functioning as a sound board as I plan,” said Tusch of the health care executive who helmed Priority Health as the CEO, and now serves as president of the Mid-Atlantic region for Kaiser Permanente.

Horn has also connected him with experts, from finance to marketing. That's the kind of guidance he needs to grow his 14-person staff, which currently has sales of more than $1 million annually,  he said.

“It’s really quite unique, “ said Tusch. “I haven’t seen anything like it anywhere. It gives companies like us an opportunity to tap some some high-level local executives who have a wealth of experience.”

The three-year commitment requires mentors to connect with the mentee in person or by phone a few times a month.

“Most of the people work in a small business but they don’t have the resources we had,” said Horn. “It’s a great program. I’m really excited to be involved.”

JEM has proven to be just as valuable for mentors like herself who are looking for ways to give back to the community.

“This is something you do throughout your career,” said Horn. “It’s part of the obligation of being a leader – that you develop a new generation.”

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