To the Men Who Have Mentored Me: Thank You.

I have been privileged as a professional woman to have been both mentored and sponsored by a number of men with a wide variety of talents and backgrounds.  Some of them have earned by blood relation my best wishes on this Father’s Day; the others are members of my extended professional and entrepreneurial tribe who by the happenstance of our work together, used their discretionary power to formally and informally recognize and subsequently nurture my talents and mentor and/or sponsor me on how to best leverage them: my best wishes to them as well.  My list of luminaries is by no means inclusive, and I’m pleased to report, rather long in reality.

Some of them are on my Board of Directors, and some of them were the guru in the path at the exact moment this student was ready to learn her next lesson.  In no particular order:

  • My dad, who brought me to his office when I was 4 years old, years before Take Our Children to Work Day, inspiring me to want to get a job on the spot, and who later in my life taught me how to cold-call, find great jobs and who as a life-long commission-only salesman, refused to ever let me give up;
  • My granddaddy of blessed memory, who taught me how to change the flat tire which blew out in front of his house instead of changing it himself, and who explained how important investing for the future was while inspiring me with his incredible drive and work ethic.  Years later, paying it forward, I taught my dad, the city boy, how to change a flat tire;
  • My high-school teacher Dave of blessed memory, who invited me to debate daily in Social Studies to keep the class lively for all of us, and sadly, who died before I graduated college;
  • To my high-school friend Tooch, who encouraged my writing and musical creativity by writing down the music of the only song I have ever written (As a “learning-disabled” alto, I cannot read or write music), and then featured it as part of an Under Pressure Band performance during our senior year in high school;
  • My home Assemblyman Bob of blessed memory, who during my senior-semester internship taught me to leverage data and research to navigate political twists and turns; to spot hawks on the NYS Thruway; that utility trucks (long before the advent of GPS) were the best source of directions when you were lost; who gave me my first career job, post-internship / post-graduation; and who abhorred wearing ties and related professional artifice;
  • My entrepreneur “big-brother” John, who three years ago took me out to breakfast and asked me why I wasn’t working for myself;
  • My friend Allen, welcoming me as the newcomer who asked to join the church Personnel Committee and then sponsoring me for several tenures in lay leadership;
  • My brothers Rob and James, who put up with years of dopey end-user support and hardware questions from me, until I had both absorbed enough of their teachings and, (which I’m sure was a great relief to them) finally learned enough to start utilizing my girlfriend Google instead of calling them first;
  • Bob, my former boss who “saw” me and what I had to offer his organization, creating both a job and wonderful career experience for me as a result of a courtesy networking meeting;
  • My former boss Bill, who tirelessly coached me on a daily basis because he believed in me and my talent;
  • My friend John, who’s insight as a therapist and healer as well as his treasured friendship during the last 25 years has been an invaluable touchstone;
  • My friend and colleague Dale, who taught me everything he knew about loss prevention, retail and corporate life;
  • My friend and colleague Barry, who taught me distribution operations and to shake off setbacks;
  • My friend and colleague “Coach” Don, who took the time to teach me change management and share his career best-practices, codifying my recent and past experiences thereof;
  • My friend and colleague Peter, who continues to teach me that mediation is the answer, and who’s vocational commitment and leadership is second to none;
  • My friends and colleagues George and Andy, who continue to inspire me with the success of how they so skillfully execute the strategic plan of their burgeoning business;
  • My colleague and new friend Al, who with gusto has invited me to jump into the entrepreneurial waters with him, stretch my arms and enjoy the swim;
  • My friend, mentee and colleague Ryan, who returns the gifts I have given ten-fold;
  • My friend and colleague / partner Ron, who has journeyed with me through the ebbs and flows of the economy in support of our mutual success;
  • My husband and my son, who continue to sustain me with the unwavering faith and belief in my talents and capabilities as we journey this path together.

My tribal brothers, thank you:  you truly put the men in mentor.  A wonderful Father’s Day to you and yours.

Cohoes Falls, Cohoes, NY: Sacred Site for the Mohawk Nation.

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