Shokouh Shafiei, CEO Of DSA Signage, Sees Mentorship As A Key To Success

By February 23, 2024 No Comments

Shokouh “Sho” Shafiei understands from personal experience the critical importance of mentorship. Her path started when she emigrated to the U.S. from Iran when she was 18. She worked in construction for more than two years while learning to speak English. She then started at a community college, ultimately transferring to a university and then finding her professional career path. And all along the way, she relied heavily on formal and informal mentors to guide her.

“I wouldn’t be where I am today if I didn’t have mentors that saw something in me and took a chance. I’ve always felt that I should pay it forward and take a chance on teens that don’t have the best advisors in their immediate families.”

That’s why Youth Business Alliance’s mission and programs truly resonated with her, and she decided to get involved as both a guest speaker and a corporate partner.

Sho’s only request to YBA was that DSA Signage’s involvement stay in their local community of Compton. “We know our community can really use help. And we wanted our employees to take part in bettering the community in which they live.”

Sho’s first YBA guest speaking event was at Animo Compton High School, where she presented to more than 20 seniors who were considering college. “To try and connect, I asked the students if they’ve been in these sessions before – many said yes. Then I asked if they were bored and distracted. Not surprisingly, another yes. And when I asked why, they said, ‘we don’t relate to the speakers.’ When I leveraged my background – an immigrant, working in construction, and not having many advisors guiding me as to how best to move forward – I become much more relatable.”

DSA Signage then hosted Animo Compton students for an on-site field trip and plant tour. One of the key parts of the event was an interactive panel discussion with members of the DSA team, representing engineering, marketing, facilities, and supply chain management.

One of the highlights of the field trip was an exercise run by the supply chain team. “We had students divide into three groups to create an art project representing who they are and what they thought of their school. Then we offered to take their art and actually produce it and install it at their school. It’s currently in the works!”

Sho wants to continue DSA Signage’s partnership with YBA as she sees the value of providing mentorship for local students as well as a great feeling of community volunteerism for her staff. “When our team is engaged and feeling like they’re making a difference, that’s what’s most important. We all want to wake up wanting to do something good every day. That’s why we need more organizations like Youth Business Alliance that focus on areas where we can truly make a difference.”