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UCLA Magazine Summer 2004
Of God and Blue-Footed Boobies
The Providential Scholar
Of the Community, By the Community, For the Community
Good Fellows
The Perfect Storm
The Next Step
Visual Road Trip
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Summer 2004
Good Fellows
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Senior Fellow Steve Soboroff Speaks to Students
Senior fellow Steve Soboroff urges students
to lead a "balanced life" by working hard
but not letting success alone rule their lives.

Soboroff is what Powe calls a "repeat fellow" — one who is "so good" that he's been asked to participate in the program for a second year running. Soboroff's first stint as a senior fellow was in 2002-'03, when he worked with three students, including one who recently won a Fulbright scholarship. This year he was paired with Eriko Wada '99, who graduated in June with a master's in policy studies, and Sarah White and Robert De Forest '99, both first-year students of urban planning.

As an entrepreneur who was Harvard Business School's Business Statesman of the Year in 1995, Soboroff — a former head of the Los Angeles Recreation and Parks Commission and now the president of Playa Vista, a multi-use land project on Los Angeles' Westside — knows a thing or two about mentoring. He has worked with fatherless children in Los Angeles for the past 36 years and has lately been helping college students maximize their career options. His method revolves around loosely structured breakfast meetings of up to two hours most Mondays from fall through spring. He talks to his young charges about issues ranging from business and politics to urban development and his family life. A superb storyteller, he has a sharp sense of humor and a knack for encouraging students to approach their careers confidently.

In his talks, Soboroff often mentions that people have different professional skills, mannerisms and characteristics — but "the skills to be successful, whether you're selling or doing something, are the same." As he puts it: "Some of us are good salespeople, others are not. But either way, you can win if you know your own strengths and weaknesses and are comfortable with them.

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