Scott Mesh ’92Ph.D.
The Child Advocate
“I've always liked bringing people together for a greater purpose,” said Scott Mesh ’92Ph.D., cofounder and executive director of Los Niños Services, a multilingual agency he cofounded in 1998 to provide home care services for children with special needs.
“As a psychologist,” Dr. Mesh noted, “I’ve had a lot of training in understanding people—and that’s been extremely beneficial to my success as an entrepreneur.”
He was only 12 when he got his first taste of creating new enterprises. He and a neighbor organized a community fair in their hometown, Rye Brook, NY. “We had about a dozen games, and neighborhood kids played them for about 25 cents each,” Dr. Mesh recalled. “We raised $127, and my mom made us donate the money to the local volunteer ambulance company.”
Throughout his youth, Dr. Mesh found himself attracted to other leadership roles—as a Boy Scout, a camp counselor, even a babysitter. He went on to earn a bachelor’s degree in psychology at the University of Michigan and his Ph.D. in clinical psychology at St. John’s.
While pursuing his degree at St. John's, Dr. Mesh applied his leadership skills to cofound the American Psychological Association of Graduate Students (APAGS), an idea he had pitched to the late Virginia Staudt Sexton, Ph.D., a Distinguished Professor of psychology at St. John’s. “We were at a conference,” he said, “and Dr. Sexton literally pushed me toward the President of the American Psychological Association.” Today, APAGS has approximately 33,000 members.
After working in the field for several years, Dr. Mesh saw a need for a multilingual agency to consistently provide excellent treatment and services for underserved children with special needs. That’s when he established Los Niños with his wife, Edita Diaz. “I was convinced this was something our society desperately needed in social services,” he said. “So we made it happen.”
Los Niños has grown in size and resources since then. “The down economy hit social services quite hard,” Dr. Mesh observed. “Rather than going out of business, we acquired three others.” Today, the company has a team of more than 400 employees and consultants.
According to Dr. Mesh, entrepreneurs share one unique quality—a high tolerance for risk. “We're not smarter than other people, we're not more creative,” he said. “We’re just willing to take chances.”
At St. John’s, Dr. Mesh discovered the value of harnessing his talents for the good of others—and to constantly advance in his efforts. “I learned that you have to put one foot in front of the other,” he said, “and to keep your eyes on the prize.”