Celebrate National Mentoring Month
“A mentor is someone who sees more talent and ability within you, than you see in yourself, and helps bring it out of you.”
— Bob Proctor
National Mentoring Month, started in 2002 by the Harvard School of Public Health and MENTOR: The National Mentoring Partnership, compels individuals, businesses, and organizations to work together to increase the number of mentors, especially for young people.
Mentors are an important resource at any stage in life, providing the necessary tools and insight that can help guide a person on major decisions, both personally and professionally. “It’s like having a wonderful, trusted ally to go to whenever you’re feeling unsure or in need of support,” says life coach Chrissy Scivicque. “The benefits are truly endless.”
Picking the right mentor and defining your expectations are key. Scivicque offers a few tips:
- Look for someone you respect and whose career you’d like to emulate.
- Find someone who’s successful and embodies characteristics you’d like to possess.
- This person should be trustworthy and honest and should have time to dedicate to you.
- From the beginning, outline the “ideal” relationship, and try to build a tentative schedule for your chats.
- Have fun with it! It shouldn’t be stressful—this is a chance for you to become a more well-rounded individual.
As part of National Mentoring Month, we asked our MBA@Syracuse Speaker Series guests, all Syracuse University alumni, to tell us about a particular person who’s had a profound impact on their lives. Here are a few of their responses:
Managing Director/Head of Marketing, Clarion Capital Partners
Other than my parents, my most influential mentor in my life was a gentleman named Brad Warner, whom I met through my father when I was 17 years old. Brad was a very accomplished businessman who was in his late 60s when I met him and was working with a wealthy family company called The Gilbert Paper Company.
His job at that time was to give away their considerable fortune after a long career in banking. He taught me how to network, and he taught me the value of focusing on getting to know as many people as I could. He used to say that you would be successful if you could get to anyone in the world within three phone calls.
He used to play a game with me by having me pick anyone I would like to meet. He would then walk down a long hallway with file cabinets on both sides filled with company and nonprofit annual reports and information on thousands of people. He would jump from board to board and person to person to map out how he would get a direct introduction to anyone I would choose. He was absolutely amazing and did all of this before the advent of PCs, iPhones, and iPads!
He pushed me hard to learn about everything, meet as many people as possible, and think very long term. He asked me one day whether I wanted to impact one person’s life, a group of people, my country, or the world. He said before I answered the question that I needed to go home and think about it, and that there was no right answer because it is as noble to impact one person’s life as it is to impact the world. He told me that he believed that I would be successful, and with success comes responsibility.
After I graduated from Syracuse University with a degree in entrepreneurship that I convinced the University to allow me to create, I started my own company and asked Brad to join my board. He remained a mentor until the day he died and always asked, “What can I do for you?” After he died, I created the Brad Warner Award for the person within the company who went above and beyond the call of duty.
I would not be the person I have become without the influence of people such as Brad Warner who believed in me, pushed me to learn and grow, and were always there when I needed the truth.
I was fortunate enough to grow up in an entrepreneur family where I was required to start my own company by 26, so my father has always been my mentor. We’ve been working together since I graduated, and it has given new meaning to the phrase “tough love,” as family can say and do things that almost no one else can. My father leads by example and, like me, started his business career while attending Syracuse, which jumpstarted the entrepreneurial drive in both of us.
Marketing Director, North America Fragrances, Elizabeth Arden
When I first met Miriam Franklin, she scared the daylights out of me. I had just started a new job at an ad agency, and we were working together on a video-editing project, which was totally new to me.
Even though she intimidated me, she kept me on my toes and inspired me to be as confident as she was. She led by example, and our work relationship eventually grew to a friendship outside the office. To this day, I admire her professionally and am thankful for having the experience to work with her.
Shavonne L. Dargan
Vice President, Global Account Management, Live Nation Media & Sponsorship
I have had the pleasure of working with some of the most well-respected and influential people in the industry. When I was just starting my career in sports/entertainment marketing, I had the fortune to work with a gentleman named Peter Farnsworth, who had a strong impact on shaping my future successes.
Peter showed by example that hard work, professionalism, and perseverance are keys to success. I started as an administrative assistant, and he saw something in me that I hadn’t yet realized for myself—he pushed me to go beyond my fears and my self-imposed restrictions, based on my current role, and to reach for my “next.”
He encouraged me to learn more about our business than I needed to know, and he stayed after hours with me many nights so I could work on projects with him. He taught me about the importance of maintaining my integrity in a business setting, and that even the small things—like changing my voicemail daily and returning calls and e-mails within 24 hours—matter.