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What's Better Than One Good Business Mentor? Two!

Carol Sherwin and Andrew Schwartz

How SCORE helped.

By Elizabeth Wangensteen

Carol Sherwin and Andrew Schwartz are something of a dream team at SCORE Westchester. The two mentors have worked together for several years and both firmly believe that they are more effective together than apart.

“Our skill sets are pretty different, the combination is our secret sauce,” says Sherwin, whose background is in consulting. She is, as Schwartz says, “laser-focused” on helping people do work “better, cheaper, faster, smarter.”

Good Cop, Bad Cop. That focus at times makes her the “bad” cop of the duo, the one who is all about strategy and details. Schwartz, a small business owner, is the empathetic good cop, the sympathetic coach, and the armchair psychiatrist who has a unique ability to hear between the lines. Together, they have found a flexible formula for helping SCORE clients realize their dreams. “Our goal is to strengthen our clients’ businesses until we work ourselves out of the job,” says Schwartz.

Interestingly, two of the pair’s recent success stories are entrepreneurs who are themselves building consulting businesses. Rachel Gatling, a professional development coach who still has one foot in the corporate sector, has grown her business to the point where she recently had to hire an assistant.

Coping with Covid. “Carol and Andrew are my sounding board and safe space” to hash out challenges large and small, says Gatling. Schwartz helped her revamp her bookkeeping, moving from a single Excel sheet to weekly updated Quickbooks. Sherwin stepped in during the pandemic to help her figure out a COVID pricing plan.

“I have a soft spirit, but Carol says you need to honor your skills, you can’t give it away.” Gatling’s firm, Change Your Story, now has over ten individual clients and recently partnered with Westchester County to help provide mentoring for small entrepreneurs impacted by Covid.

The pandemic pushed another of Sherwin and Schwartz’s clients into making her side business a full-time job. Natalee Facey, a doula who founded Coaching for Birth Warriors after the devastating loss of her own newborn, was overwhelmed at first on her own. Sherwin and Schwartz have been invaluable support systems throughout the growth of her platform, which is designed to help people who have had a loss heal and move forward with lowered risk.

“The analogy I would use is that as a sole entrepreneur you are alone in the ocean, wondering how long you can float,” says Facey. “Working with Carol and Andrew makes it more of a pool. I can swim to the edge and ask for help!” Schwartz is the one who intuits when she is focusing on the wrong things and helps redirect her. Meanwhile, Sherwin has encouraged her to diversify her business to include a podcast and work on a directory for fellow practitioners.

The Secret Sauce. Sherwin and Schwartz’s bond -- their secret sauce -- has only deepened during the pandemic. They find the virtual model beneficial to their clients, although both see a role for more traditional mentoring moving forward.

“We don’t always agree, and we can’t help everyone,” says Carol, reminiscing about one client whose dream was to pen an anthem for the next World Cup Soccer tournament. “But we do value and appreciate what the other brings to the table because at the end of the day, two heads are better than one,” adds Andrew.

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Funded, in part, through a Cooperative Agreement with the U.S. Small Business Administration. All opinions, and/or recommendations expressed herein are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the SBA.

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