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Mentors are Medal Winners

Posted by Stephen Lemire on January 26, 2012 at 10:30 AM

Not only is January National Mentor Month, but today, January 26, is set aside as Thank Your Mentor Day. (See link at bottom of page.) For those of us who have been fortunate enough to have, or have had, a mentor this is a day to pay homage to the individuals that have guided us by sharing experiences, imparting wisdom, pointing out lessons, and coaching us through frustrations.
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Many organizations such as professional associations have formalized mentoring programs which have great value. My focus and particular appreciation on this day is for those mentors who are not in an organized program but, instead, on the individuals who are willing to give of themselves to invest in someone junior to them in responsibility, authority, and maturity. These mentors are confident professionals willing to selflessly offer knowledge, skills, and experiences.
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Mentors are vital in so many careers to perpetuate the profession and the importance of internships cannot be stressed enough. In addition, the part the mentee plays in this partnership is critical as they must seek out opportunities, find an appropriate mentor, ask questions, be open to suggestions and criticism, and absorb as much professional exposure as possible.
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What are some key traits of mentors?
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1) They evolve from a position of authority to a role of friendship.

2) The lessons they share are not forced on you.

3) The skills they teach you are timeless and you can pass them on to others.

4) They are open to your ideas and opinions.

5) They remain available to you over time and after your formal relationship has ended.

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I’m grateful and fortunate to have had more than one mentor. The “Mentor Olympics” has had an international flavor for me. I’m proud to present my medal winners:
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Gold - (USA) Frank T. Gallo, PhD, Chief Leadership Consultant for Aon Hewitt, Greater China; President, Calypso Consulting. There are so many skills that I employ which I learned from Frank that it is difficult to carve them out and list them. So much of Frank’s leadership and management style was absorbed and incorporated by me during my formative professional years. From leading an organization, to facilitating meetings, to day-to-day management, there are Gallo-esque influences. Thank you, Frank.
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Silver - (ROM) Bogdan M. Vernescu, PhD, Professor and Head, Mathematical Sciences Department, Worcester Polytechnic Institute; Board President, National Professional Science Masters Association. Bogdan demonstrates how his brilliance and leadership bring respect and direction because they are accompanied by humility, professionalism, and a tireless commitment to the mission. Our respective personalities may have made us seem like The Theatre Masks, but our teamwork, during my most significant association tenure, was complementary, effective, and successful. Multumesc, Bogdan.
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Bronze - (USA) the late Col. Richard P. Taffe, U.S. Army (ret.); Former editor, The Lowell Sun. Dick taught me the importance of volunteerism and community service. He stressed that it is not who you are, but, rather, what you do is what matters. These lessons learned while still in college steered me into a fulfilling lifelong career working in the nonprofit sector. Thanks, Dick.
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I salute these medal winners and so many others who have taken the time to share important lessons and experiences that I continue to carry with me to this day. If you’ve been as fortunate as I have been, I encourage you to pick up the phone or send a message of thanks to your mentor today.
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http://www.nationalmentoringmonth.org/take_action/thankyourmentorday/

Categories: Management, Education, Real Life Wisdom

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