This is the story of a young community college student and the amazing impact a mentor can have.
The student was far away from his family, in an unfamiliar land. He was on his own and adjusting to a new environment, new school and new responsibilities as a young adult. The father of a friend noticed the young man’s challenges with his transitions and took the time to impart practical wisdom. Over time, the man’s advice on such simple but critical things as interviewing for a job, repairing a car and balancing a checkbook helped the student grow and succeed.
January is National Mentoring Month, but it would take more than 31 days to list all the successful business people who have had someone take an interest in them at an impressionable age and “pay it forward” by being a mentor.
Just last week, our Professional Women’s Alliance event at the Phoenix Country Club featured Avnet’s MaryAnn Miller. She’s one of the country’s most powerful women in the technology field, thanks in part to those who helped guide her along her path from neophyte to Senior Vice President and Chief Human Resources Officer of a Fortune 500 company. MaryAnn – and Avnet, who have been Chamber members for more than 15 years – recognize the power of mentoring, and make it a core value that has helped make them an industry leader.
The benefits of mentoring go both ways. A young person learns the ropes from a seasoned professional, but the mentor gets the satisfaction of seeing their experience live on and inspire future successes. It’s quite a legacy to leave.
Years later, after that community college student earned his four-year degree, he went on to work in the Arizona House of Representatives as a policy analyst. Eventually, he became President and CEO of the state’s oldest and largest business organization.
I urge you to discover that power and use it to unlock the potential in one of your employees or co-workers…or even a young community college student. It can make a huge difference in someone’s career and life.
It did in mine.
Even today, years later, I still use some of the advice passed on to me, and I’m happy to hand it down. Do the same – this month, and in the months and years to follow. You’ll be glad you did.