Following the advice of mentors throughout his young life has served Josh Bridges well. The
CFES Brilliant Pathways Scholar from Willsboro Central has enjoyed a successful career in
business and is now in a position to pay it forward as a member of the CFES Alumni Network.
Topping the list of advice Bridges considers most important to his success came from his most
important mentor. “My mother taught me so many things, but one of the most important is work
ethic,” says Bridges. “No matter what you decide to do, always give it your all, even if it may not
seem worth it at the time.”

“No one in the world gets to where they are without help”

That work ethic took Bridges from Willsboro to Hamilton College, where he graduated in 2015
and met another mentor who showed him the importance of approaching each day with a
renewed sense of wonder. “When we are young children we are curious about everything, but as
we grow older we take so much for granted,” says Bridges, recalling the words of his favorite
professor. “If you look at the world with fresh eyes every day, you are bound to find something
new and exciting.”

Bridges brought that enthusiasm back to Willsboro to start a business helping community
members with technology, and also working with students as a substitute teacher at his alma
mater. His advice to young people: step out of your comfort zone and try new things. “Whether it
be a class that you know nothing about, going to a campus event you’ve never been to before,
working in a position that has nothing to do with your major or volunteering in your community,
you should try new things.”

Bridges followed his own advice when he took a job at MyWebGrocer – a digital software
company connecting retail grocers, consumer packaged goods brands and shoppers – across the
lake in Winooski, Vt. He worked on the customer support team for a year before advancing to
supervisor, and then manager of the team.

For the past two years, Bridges has worked at Vermont Federal Credit Union in Burlington, Vt.,
as a mortgage loan closer and then as a lending systems administrator, responsible for managing
all lending software. “No one in the world gets to where they are without help,” says Bridges,
adding that young people “shouldn’t feel ashamed to ask questions; it isn’t a failure if someone
helps you on your journey.”

As a member of the Alumni Network, Bridges is eager to impart some of the wisdom he acquired
from his mentors and a little of his own from his college and career experiences.
“The most valuable lesson a mentor has taught me is to be a lifelong learner,” says Bridges, who
had an acting role in the independent film Fish Ladder. “You can always learn something new,
and in doing so, you never know what opportunities you might find. The only way to figure out
what makes you feel fulfilled is to try new things. You never know when those experiences will
lead to a new opportunity or a new passion.”