Meet Our Mentors: Q&A with Lisa Schmitz

Tell us a little about yourself!

I’m from Arkadelphia, Arkansas, home of the Battle of the Ravine, as it is a two-college town – one state school and one Southern Baptist university, Ouachita Baptist University – which is where I went. My hobbies are interior and floral design, crafting, repurposing furniture and loving on my wiener dog, Scarlet! 

My husband and I are sharing our love for art through the Mars Hill Arts Center, to provide arts opportunities for the kids, young adults and families in the Mars Hill neighborhood of Indianapolis. It will eventually have a pottery studio, woodworking shop, and other community opportunities for this low-income neighborhood.

What’s your favorite part about Indianapolis?

My favorite part of Indy is that it is a big city with a small-town feel. You can find a ton of cool things to do here – there are plenty of unique music events and venues, and the arts community has so much to offer. I also love that no one here is a stranger – the world in Indy is so small. I always meet someone new and find that we have a mutual connection somehow.

What’s the best thing about being an EDGE mentor?

My group is so giving and loving. They know how to love each other well, and that includes the way they love me. I feel that I get more out of it than they do. But at the end of the day, we are there for each other. We've had a lot of milestone events in our EDGE group, and each time – good or bad life event – they have all been there for each other. And they have been there for me. We really do life together. 

A couple of memories stand out to me. The first is when my husband was in a cycling accident and was hospitalized for a week, and one of my mentees and her husband were the first ones at the hospital (I lived on the banana bread they brought for six days as breakfast!). They also prayed over him and were just there for us. The second memory is from last October, when one of my mentees got married and our entire EDGE group, our husbands and our plus-ones took up an entire row at the wedding! We really are family.

Who is YOUR mentor and how have they impacted you?

I've had a few mentors in my life who were never really "formal" mentors – I never asked them in a formal way for that type of relationship – but they were there for me during my formidable career years. They helped me form good habits, they coached me and they took the time to "be there" for me to help me grow and develop as a manager, a person and a leader

I also count my dad as one of those mentors who impacted me greatly. He mentored young men as I was growing up, and I was privileged to witness that from a young age. This set the example for me. Mentoring was part of my life from a young age – I saw the benefits of it from both sides and I was inspired from then on to do the same.

What advice would you give to your 20-year-old self?

Be open to possibilities that you aren’t prepared for, and don’t be afraid to do something that you’ve never thought of or that you don't think you're "educated" for.

Sometimes our lives take a trajectory that we don’t expect, and that can open up opportunities that we don't even think are possible. God is in all things, and that includes the mistakes we make along the way. Those mistakes can often bring inspiration, motivation and growth. They can add to our story and our breadth of knowledge that we can pass down to the next generation. That's where mentoring starts.