Noblesville High School Senior Ava Wettrick was only 16 years old when she had a flash of insight. She was traveling in the car with her father, Don, and they were listening to a bit of celebrity gossip coming over the airwaves from a popular radio station. Suddenly she had the realization that what she was hearing would not better her or anyone else her age but might even impede progress and development towards good.
“I had an aha moment when I realized kids seem to be blindly entertained by the media,” Wettrick says. “They aren’t focused on any specific goals. It leads to self-isolation and depression. I wanted to give kids a chance to learn from people who are interested in making others the best they can be. So, I started a podcast.”
Wettrick began broadcasting MentorZ, her successful podcast, in January 2018. Aimed at reaching Generation Z listeners, those born in the mid-1990s to the early 2000s, the podcast has touched thousands. It features guests who are well-known entrepreneurs and writers such as Corey Poirier, award-winning speaker, Tim Shurr, a behaviorist who shares his expertise in many books and over major network television appearances and Bruce Van Horn, author of “Worry No More: Four Steps to Stop Worrying and Start Living.” The professionalism and high-quality content of MentorZ caught the attention of the Ariel Foundation International (AFI), an organization that supports youth by promoting entrepreneurship education. The AFI was instrumental in facilitating Wettrick’s trip to the United Nations in Switzerland.
“It was through the support of AFI, that I received an invitation to speak at last year’s United Nations World Investment and Youth Forum in Geneva, Switzerland on youth and female entrepreneurship,” she says. “AFI paid for some of my expenses and it was an amazing experience. I spoke on developing a mindset in kids that engages them to solve problems, build solutions, give back to the community, have a healthy work ethic and joy for life.”
In an effort to reach out to even more young people with her positive message, Wettrick has two additional avenues. She is developing a course called ChangeZ and currently testing it through the Boys and Girls Club in Noblesville. Aimed at females, it is a seven-week program that seeks to teach the skill sets needed to develop an entrepreneur mindset. MentorZ Media is Wettrick’s small media company that teaches youth through storytelling, articles and videos.
“My dad, Don Wettrick, is 100% my mentor,” she says. “He teaches the Innovations class at the high school, which I have taken, and is the founder of Start Ed Up, a program that brings entrepreneur education to schools.
“Young people don’t typically have a meaning or purpose set up for them in life, but deep down they want to be part of something greater than themselves,” Wettrick adds. “Entrepreneurship helps young people find a problem to solve and the courage and tools to solve it. It creates a more fulfilling life to help people or the world in some way.”