Think You Need a Mentor Whose Life Looks Like Yours?

How I became the Olympics star Lopez Lomong’s mentor
Think You Need a Mentor Whose Life Looks Like Yours?

As a professional Christian woman who started 4word to minister specifically to professional Christian women, the most likely audience of my mentorship is well defined. Yet, over the past few years, I've had the unique experience of being a mentor to someone whose life looks almost nothing like mine. Still, I felt God's call to be a part of this young man's life, and the experience has enriched mine (and his too I hope) beyond belief.

I'm talking about Lopez Lomong. Lopez is my male, South-Sudanese, professional athlete mentee.

We first met in February of 2011 when we were both asked to speak at a mentoring group for young professional men called the Mentor's Forum. As Lopez shared his shocking and captivating life story (involving war, kidnapping, escape, and immigration), I felt God moving me to learn more about him, so I took a cautious first step and invited him and a friend to lunch the next week.

During lunch, Lopez shared his vision of bringing hope to Southern Sudan. Lopez felt strongly that this was God's calling for him, but he didn't know how God would make it happen. For me it was a light-bulb moment. One of my closest friends from business school is Kevin Jenkins, CEO of World Vision International, a Christian relief organization involved in exactly the kind of work Lopez wanted to do.

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Diane Paddison

Diane Paddison is a business professional and founder of, local groups of professional working women committed to faith, family, work, and each other.

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