The Value of Mentors Who Inspire Us
My Story- We Would Love to Hear Yours!
As I look back on my career I am happy to say that I have had the benefit of many great mentors.
Below are some highlights of just a few.
It really started with my father, my very first mentor. A master networker and sales executive, he knew everyone in the garment industry and this was long before social media and the phrase “networking” was coined in the business world. In the rag trade all deals were done through relationships, they were built face to face over many years. My father talk me self-discipline, how to work really hard and to be direct and ask for what I want.
Early on my first professional mentor was an attorney I worked with at a NYC law firm. John offered me the chance to take on stretch assignments and learn about the commercial real estate industry often doing Sr. Associate level work as his Paralegal. It helped me gain self-confidence as a young professional; this has continued to serve me throughout my entire career.
Mentors are not always your immediate supervisor. They are individuals who take a genuine interest in your professional development. They can be colleagues, leaders, advisors, friends and even direct reports all who have the potential to teach and influence us to become better human beings.
My second Mentor was a co-worker in my first recruiting firm. Karen came to our firm from Texas and had many years of recruiting experience. I was a typical newbie, a deer in headlights. She provided me with insight on how to recruit and engage in conversations with both employers and candidates. To this day I do not believe I would’ve been successful at Adams & Associates had I not had the benefit of sitting next to her during my first year with the firm. She took the time to assist me in honing my craft as a recruiter even though her role did not encompass training me or anyone else on the team. She gave her time willingly and never asked for anything in return except our friendship. Today she continues to be a fabulous recruiter and works for MRI here in Portland.
My last two mentors came from DBM (Drake Beam Morin) a global outplacement and coaching firm. Pat our managing consultant was responsible for teaching me the art of building a network and paying it forward. Although I did not report to him directly as the manager of the Portland office he took an interest in my development, helping me to become visible to senior leadership and understanding how to navigate in a global organization. Without Pat I would not have survived the rigorous demands of the role I held and the enormous quotas that were imposed on me with this organization. He celebrated every success with me no matter how small. His passion for the business and his genuine concern for our clients is something we shared and I will always credit him with helping me to be successful in my own business today.
My last mentor (also at DBM) was my boss, and one of the best bosses I have ever had the pleasure of working with. Cary helped me mature and truly understand my weaknesses so I could work at overcoming them. She taught me to how to seek out alternative and healthier ways to manage stress. Cary encouraged me to try new things and to step outside my comfort zone. As a result I was promoted. She managed effortlessly, truly a sign of a good leader. I often ask myself “what would Cary do” when I am facing a challenging situation. Cary’s sense of humor and calming influence helped us get through two company acquisitions and four different CEO’s over the course of 5 years. When I decided to return to the recruiting world she supported me and helped me update my resume-yes, even those of us who work in the career transition consulting business need an objective eye to help them craft or update their own resume.
Make sure to surround yourself with good mentors throughout your life, these are the people that really care about your well-being and ask for nothing in return, they just give of themselves freely.