Phoenix reception honors the first class of mentee graduates

Inspired by the Developing Leaders Award category at the annual PRISM conference, LightBox created a mentor program in January 2019, in collaboration with Truist Sr. Environmental VP, John Rybak, to provide education and mentor/mentee connections to spread the insights of business leaders, and give newer professionals the tools and resources they need to meet their professional development goals.

Rybak’s motivation in teaming with LightBox’s Dianne Crocker to bring the mentor program to life is rooted in providing strong guidance to the next group of leaders: “We are the first generation of environmental professionals, in an industry that has no defined pathway of mentoring the youth entering the market. This program is designed to excite, encourage and engage talent to also invest their lives in this industry. If we are serious about our profession, it’s our duty to pass on the knowledge and experiences that we have gained. This is not only our opportunity to help guide younger professionals, but also our responsibility to pay it forward to prevent strong talent from leaving our industry.”

Last week at a ceremony held in Phoenix prior to the start of the Environmental Bankers Association’s winter conference, LightBox bestowed diplomas on a number of graduating mentees. In his welcoming comments, Eric Frank, LightBox CEO noted, “The Developing Leaders program reflects LightBox’s continuing commitment to the future of the industry, and an example of our dedication to empowering the leaders of tomorrow. We’re grateful for the involvement of our long-term clients generously stepping up as mentors to the young mentees, and look forward to continuing the program this year.”

Eric Frank LightBox CEO

Also speaking at the ceremony was Holly Neber, CEO of AEI Consultants and past 2019 President of CREW (Commercial Real Estate Women). In sharing her thoughts with the graduates, Neber said, “My personal story is full of people who, somewhere along the line, decided to take the time to mentor me, invest in my success, and encourage me to stretch and take on new challenges. Mentorship is all about seeing the potential within another person and investing your time in helping them grow. Kudos to all the mentors and mentees who went through this program and to LightBox, Dianne Crocker and John Rybak for this program which was life-changing for all involved.”

Holly Neber CEO of AEI Consultants

Last January, mentees from across the U.S. submitted applications to participate in the program, seeking a number of goals, including: advice on networking, access to a female mentor, business development expertise, client retention tips and access to outside guidance. Mentors came forward motivated by a desire to pay it forward, to keep growing in their own careers, to be part of the industry’s future and to share lessons they learned on their paths. By December 2019, thirteen pairs of mentors-mentees completed the program requirements, culminating in the final project: delivering an Elevator Pitch in a way that would encourage interaction with a potential client.

LightBox Mentoring Program for environmental professionals Graduating Class of 2020


We are so proud of the inaugural Class of 2019 mentees who stepped forward to open themselves up to receiving the wisdom of experience from a field of mentors who were eager to share their advice with the next generation of industry leaders.


Amie Jacobs, Apex Companies
Chelsea Halley, ATC
Danielle Clark, Hart & Hickman
Jackie MacMaster, Maul Foster & Alongi
Jordan Lee, SLR
Joy Munsch, Trileaf
Kim Bunting, ACC Environmental
Krista Wahnefried, McGinley & Assoc.
Larene Cameron, C.T. Male & Assoc.
Lindsey Woolridge, WithersRavenel
Patrick Farfour, Truist
Siera Jann, Wood Environmental
Trey Noland, PM Environmental


Becka Davidson, PSI
Chuck Mulligan, Partner Engineering
Dennis Firestone, CBRE
Don Kellar, Fulcrum Resources, Inc.
Drew Bailey, ECA Risk Management
Elizabeth Krol, Partner Engineering
Greg Doyle, Wells Fargo
John Rybak, Truist
Lizz Barringer Lagomarsino, Lagomarsino P&M
Matthew Chastain, BIO-WEST
Michael Bell, Bell Oldow
Peter Dollander, Truist
Stephanie Gillaspy, Provost & Pritchard
Stephen McNeil, GRS Group
Steven Luzkow, CBRE


Applications for the class of 2020 will open in March.
If you’re interested in being a mentee or a mentor, send an email to Dianne Crocker to find out how to get involved:

“People may question why their firm should invest time with a mentee from a competitor’s firm? The answer is simply because it is the right thing to do, for our industry. Don’t worry about what you get, focus on giving. It is then that your firm will be seen as a beacon of light to this industry, and you will attract and retain talent because of your culture.” John Rybak, Senior Environmental VP, Truist Bank

“As a mentee, one of the biggest takeaways for me was gaining new tips and techniques on how to effectively market and sell not only myself but my companies’ services. I now feel like I’m in a better place to walk into these new opportunities and feel more confident trying to develop new business and create new relationships. Having these skills is especially important for a young professional in this field,” mentee Jordan Lee, SLR.