EDGE mentees are young adults who are passionate about pursuing whole person development through intentional relationships. Our mentees come from a wide variety of backgrounds, career industries, and walks of life, but they all share a passion for growing in community. Meet EDGE mentee Tiera Hollanquest!
Tell us a little bit about yourself.
I moved to Indianapolis after I graduated from Notre Dame in May 2018. I am actually from a south suburb of Chicago, but now live and work in downtown Indy!
I work at the Mayor’s Office of Education Innovation (OEI) as a financial performance analyst. Our office authorizes 36 Mayor-Sponsored Charter Schools in terms of academics, finance, and governance. I wear many hats in the role, but my main duty as a finance analyst is to meet with schools quarterly to discuss their financial statements and budgets. I also handle the operational pieces of the office, like updating our revenue model, sending and collecting invoices, managing OEI’s grants, and maintaining OEI’s software system.
A typical day when I’m not working consists of reading, journaling, working out, going to dance classes, playing the piano, or checking out a new restaurant or bar with friends in downtown Indy.
What brought you to EDGE and why did you choose to get involved?
I wanted to make sure I had people surrounding me that could ground me in my faith like I did at the University of Notre Dame. In college, I became used to being around people that had a faith and discussed their faith often. Today, I appreciate and enjoy my friend groups that consist of diverse and differing views.
How has your EDGE group helped you grow personally, professionally or spiritually?
Being in an EDGE group has helped me look at all aspects of my life through a lens of faith. We often discuss relationships, our careers, and our identities with God at the center. When I meet with my EDGE group, it is a strong reminder that although being a follower of Christ is often lonely, I am not alone! There are men and women like me who are also investigating similar questions and trying to follow Jesus in the best way for them.
What’s the best lesson you’ve learned from your mentor so far?
I have learned so much for my mentor, Halle. Where should I even begin?! I think the most stunning thing about Halle is how much she understands herself. The most significant lesson I’ve learned from her so far is how great of a gift you can be to others when you know yourself. If you aren’t aware of yourself, that’s when you are susceptible to unintentionally wreaking havoc and causing trouble. Most people that know me know that I am someone who always keeps moving and hardly has a gap in my schedule. Halle helped me understand the importance of creating intentional moments in your life for self-reflection, journaling, and solitude. I’ve learned that in that solitude you can hear Christ the clearest, and it is also an important way to get to know yourself.
How has your faith guided your work?
My faith led me to choose a job focused on education. Most of the opportunities I’ve experienced in my life have been connected to my education. My grandmother also influenced my path–she made it her life’s goal to drive the value and importance of education into my being.
My grandmother is also the most spiritual person I know and always gave all of herself to her kids, grandkids, and every person she encountered. I know that her giving mentality is centered in Christ, and I strive to take that mentality to my work. I try to give my all to my coworkers, the schools that I serve, and the children that attend those schools by supporting in any way that I can.
What causes or organizations are you passionate about or involved with that you’d like to share with the EDGE community?
I am on a finance and fundraising committee for an organization called Dress for Success. I am also an administrative volunteer and career coach there. As a daughter of a single mom who often struggled to secure a job, I understand how important it is to make sure that all women succeed and find gainful employment. Knowing how to look and act the part of a professional are important soft skills, but aren’t readily exposed to Indianapolis communities that need them the most. It is important to empower single mothers, since their empowerment transfers down through their children who depend on them. It creates a cycle of strength while disrupting the cycle of poverty that can plague generations.