Some Thoughts on Mentorship
Aretired friend was recently diagnosed with a severe form of cancer. He went from a deep cough to chemotherapy in just over a month. He and his family are understandably fearful, but so too are the many colleagues that he touched over his thirty-five year career as a corporate real estate professional. In less than seven days following a brief e-mail sent to three former co-workers, word of his disease and pending battle spread across the country, and former associates were reaching out with prayers and offers of assistance.
In the week since receiving that first e-mail from his wife, I have been thinking a lot about the impact this man and others have had on my professional and personal development, my career and my family. He is one of a handful of business associates who were not "just there," but actually took accountability and responsibility for my growth and my future. Fortunately, he and the others saw something in me that made them willing, if not eager, to guide me through the many travails of corporate life and the complex world of real estate. In the 15 years we worked together, he was my teacher, confidant and role model. As time went on, the relationship grew into friendship and, ultimately, extended family.
In our new world of text messaging, twittering and virtual meetings, we cannot afford to let these special relationships disappear into electronic oblivion. The social networking crazes of Facebook, LinkedIn and so many others are relationships of volume and, though valuable, cannot replace the individual, face-to-face education and guidance provided by a committed mentor.
All of us who have benefited from these special bonds owe it to our mentors to "pay it forward." I am a firm believer that the greatest value I can provide to my employer and to my community is to reach out to the next generation and poke, prod, push and pull at least a few of them into new roles and responsibilities, to make sure that they are afforded the same opportunities that I had.
One of the many beneficial attributes of IAMC is that we were founded upon and remain committed to a membership size that promotes and facilitates quality networking, allowing us to seek out or serve as mentors. A few people took me under their collective wings six years ago at the first IAMC gathering in Savannah and created an environment conducive to both professional growth and success for me within the organization. Please join me in providing that same opportunity for other, younger associates in our companies by bringing them into the organization and exposing them to the very best talent in the world of corporate real estate.
Finally, if you have not reached out to one of your mentors for lunch or a cup of coffee for awhile, don't hesitate to do so, and be certain to tell them how important they have been in your life.
My thoughts and prayers are with you every day, Dave. You were always there for me and I am there for you now. Peace and strength, Big Guy.
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