New Board Chair of the Starfish Initiative for 2022

Happy New Year to every one of you! With a new year comes new roles, opportunities, and energy. The mission of the Starfish Intitative is to inspire, encourage, and prepare motivated high school students from the most vulnerable populations for college, career, and life success through one-on-one mentoring. Leading us at the Board level is our new Board Chair Dan Nierste who has served on the Board for two years. We sat down with Dan and asked him a few questions to help us get to know him.


Why do you serve on the Starfish board? I think I speak for all Starfish Board members in saying that serving on the Board at Starfish is an opportunity to share the gifts we have all received and “pay them forward”. All of us receive many gifts over our lifetime but none is more valued by others than the simple gift of time and genuine concern. Starfish facilitates relationships that provide those blessings to young scholars who are courageously making an effort to stretch their horizon and enhance their life circumstances.
Why is mentoring so important? Mentoring at Starfish is a way to share life experiences and broaden the perspective of a young scholar to alternative possibilities. Everyone benefits when even one person is given a “leg up”. However, the learning value to the Mentor can be just as great. It broadens your horizons and the shared reward of a scholar’s success is a priceless gift.

How has mentoring personally impacted your life? Mentoring is a gift that costs nothing and lasts for life. At a crucial phase in my life, I had a boss who mentored me to my great benefit. We have remained friends for nearly forty years. All the people I have in turn mentored have become lifelong friends. How can anything be more enriching, rewarding, or meaningful than a lifelong friend?

Thank you, Dan, for accepting the role and responsibility as the Board Chair for the Starfish Initiative

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