What We Do


During the development of ESTEEM over a decade ago, college students voiced the need for Catholic mentors in their fields of study. How can an economics major lend their expertise to Church leadership? How can a neuroscience major bring their faith into their workplace?

A key aspect of training leaders is providing them with mentors. Many secular and temporal fields have identified and maximized the potential of mentorship. Additionally, Pope Francis is clear in Christus Vivit (his apostolic exhortation following the XV General Synod on Young People, the Faith, and Vocational Discernment) of the value of mentorship in accompanying young people on the journey of faith.
The community has an important role in the accompaniment of young people; it should feel collectively responsible for accepting, motivating, encouraging and challenging them. All should regard young people with understanding, appreciation and affection, and avoid constantly judging them or demanding of them a perfection beyond their years. (Christus Vivit 243)
In that spirit, each ESTEEM site pairs students with mentors based on their career goals and interests. These mentors commit to working with their students for one academic year. Together, they tackle topics such as:
Although the mentors are chosen to help students and young adults develop their leadership skills, mentors often find that their experience refreshes their own faith!
ESTEEM holds as central the challenges issued in Christus Vivit for mentors of young people:
The same young people described to us the qualities they hope to find in a mentor, and they expressed this with much clarity.

The qualities of such a mentor include: being a faithful Christian who engages with the Church and the world; someone who constantly seeks holiness; someone who is a confidant without judging. Similarly, someone who actively listens to the needs of young people and responds in kind; someone deeply loving and self-aware; someone who recognizes his or her limits and knows the joys and sorrows of the spiritual journey.

An especially important quality in mentors is the acknowledgement of their own humanity – the fact that they are human beings who make mistakes: not perfect people but forgiven sinners. Sometimes mentors are put on a pedestal, and when they fall, it may have a devastating impact on young people’s ability to continue to engage with the Church.

Mentors should not lead young people as passive followers, but walk alongside them, allowing them to be active participants in the journey. They should respect the freedom that comes with a young person’s process of discernment and equip them with tools to do so well.

A mentor should believe wholeheartedly in a young person’s ability to participate in the life of the Church. A mentor should therefore nurture the seeds of faith in young people, without expecting to immediately see the fruits of the work of the Holy Spirit. This role is not and cannot be limited to priests and consecrated life, but the laity should also be empowered to take on such a role. All such mentors should benefit from being well-formed, and engage in ongoing formation. (Christus Vivit 246)

ESTEEM Photo Gallery

Comments Box SVG iconsUsed for the like, share, comment, and reaction icons
Thank you to all of our students, site leaders, and mentors who joined us for our annual #ESTEEMCapstone21! Your patience with the transition to the virtual realm and tenacity this year are so appreciated! Thank you, also, to our young alumni and ministry leaders who joined our panel and small groups. A Sunday afternoon well spent! 💜
Join Nicole Perone Grosso, our National Coordinator, in exploring forming faithful adults through the lens of the new #DirectoryForCatechesis with our partners at Catholic Apostolate Center! Register at: http://cathapostle.org/DCAdult #Formation #Catechesis

ESTEEM Leadership Staff


Nicole M. Perone

National Coordinator
Nicole M. Perone joined ESTEEM in 2020. As the National Coordinator, she is responsible for leading the strategic planning and vision of the ESTEEM program, along with serving as liaison for each of the site leaders, maintaining and updating the ESTEEM curriculum, and planning and executing the annual Capstone Conference.
Go to staff page >

Mary Pickens Corsones

Program Coordinator
Mary joined ESTEEM in 2018. As the Program Coordinator, she is the operational point of contact for site leaders and collaborates with the National Coordinator to manage the implementation of ESTEEM.
Go to staff page >