A Mentorship Program Celebrates its New Batch of Graduates

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The Graduating Class of 2015 with their two mentors and teachers, Qusai Mahesri (second row from top, right) and Biki Mohindra to his left. To his left is the sponsor for the evening, Vivek Mehta, Sr. VP with Texas Capital Bank.

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By Jawahar Malhotra

HOUSTON:  In this busy graduation season, the 17 men and women huddled in the corner of the banquet room awaiting their turn to be recognized were were not the usual bunch of graduates, eager to get on with their lives. They already had career paths they are on, achievements in their hats and families to lean on. Yet they were all giggling like young college graduates, delighted at this second awakening of their instincts.

“This nine-month course helps you accomplish your goals and cope with real world stuff,” said Kunal Dora, an attorney working in the oil and gas industry with Neeco Industries. He had graduated from the course last year and was one of the two who introduced this year’s graduating line at the River Oaks Country Club event held last Thursday, May 14.

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The 2015 Graduating Class pays tribute to SOS co-founder Biki Mohindra (extreme left)
Photos: Angel Argueta, Rgueta Photography

Dora was referring to the six-year-old “Share Our Secrets” program that was the brainchild of long-time Houstonian Biki Mohindra; and co-founders Farida Hasan Ali and Kevin Kalra. And as another previous graduate said, “the moniker SOS really should add ‘of Success’, because that’s what its all about!” SOS (www.shareoursecrets.org) is geared to mentor and enlighten youthful minds through exposure to the ideas and concepts that other successful people and groups have encountered and grappled with before.

After a successful career with Riviana Foods that took him all over the world and gave him a chance to rub shoulders with other luminaries in business, Mohindra (known in his friends circle as an idea-generator), wanted to share some of the things that helped him along the way. He naturally gravitates to younger people and always seeks to open up new vistas. SOS was a vehicle of him to bridge the gap between generations.

The class year is divided into SOS-1 and SOS-2 courses work, spread over meetings two Saturdays a month from August to April and taking the students to upper crust experiences at the Houstonian and the River Oaks Country Club, among others, to meet with mainstream figures from the community, or to learn about comparative world history, relationship encounters and other facets of life. SOS has over 50 paid members and each student pays $250 per course.

At the graduation, Chief Guest Dr. Kathryn Peek, a biomedical educator and administrator with 25 years of experience at the Texas Medical Center and as VP of Health Affairs at the University of Houston, spoke about her work that showed her how adults learn differently from youngsters. A tall, lanky woman from Nederland (south of Beaumont) who is proud of her Southeast Texas heritage, Peek said she had met SOS in April and immediately saw in it “a powerful tool for learning through a process of high quality continuing education.”

After the graduates were called out to receive their distinction in front of an invited list of community leaders, friends and alumni, they stood at the podium to hear a few words of appreciation from Mohindra for the supporters and for Texas Capital Bank for sponsoring the event, which included drinks, appetizers and a pasta line. A sort video clip introduced the graduates by name, with a one-line quote from each on the program they had taken.