Giving Back Pays It Forward

Posted: Monday, April 6th 2015 at 7:56 AM

Thom Gyder (’84 BSBA) learned early to Give Back. His parents raised him to think that way, to give back to their community and to others. His father mentored many, including Thom, from various walks of life. Gyder has been engaged in the community while raising his children through scouting and coaching sports, advising business clubs in high school, then moving into college student guidance opportunities.

Gyder wondered how he could give back to NAU and The W. A. Franke College of Business (FCB) community. He was approached about mentoring Business Leadership Program (BLP) students in their junior year. Alisson Figueroa, an accounting major and BLP student, was matched with Gyder as his mentee.

Gyder and Figueroa first met over breakfast in Flagstaff. His goal was to meet with her once every month or two, but also to provide access to his network of business professionals. And that he has done.

“As a first generation student, I don’t have the immediate ability to make many connections with people in the field. Mr. Gyder has provided opportunities for gaining knowledge and has guided me in my professional development, for example with professional attire and behavior,” said Figueroa.

Figueroa shadowed Gyder at his family-owned business, Wilhelm Automotive []. She met Wilhelm’s CFO and observed high-level company meetings. “This time was essential to my personal growth because it gave me perspective into industry accounting as opposed to the public accounting route,” she said. 

Gyder is working to open the door for an additional internship opportunity as well as another executive job shadow. 

“[These opportunities] would allow me to further expand my experience with accounting practices, enhancing my education through exposure,” Figueroa said.

One of many positive outcomes of developing the mentor/mentee relationship is the obvious of interaction with youth. “It keeps you young!” Gyder exclaimed. It also has the ripple effect of outcomes yet seen. Gyder’s parents knew that. He knows it, too. Giving back does pay it forward, and giving back to his alma mater is just one of the many ways Gyder does so.

“I’m privileged to have an NAU alumnus like Thom Gyder to guide me on these professional endeavors. This mentor-mentee relationship has been one of the most beneficial enrichments to my growth into the accounting field,” concluded Figueroa.

Categories: giving back pays it forward thom gyder alisson figueroa fbn nbn flagstaff business news nau business news fbn april issue 2015 spring 2015 2015 alumni business leadership program blp