I’ve been honored to work with some incredible mentors over my career. They taught me more about public relations than any text book, demonstrated class and control in crisis situations, and encouraged me to create my dream job. Since starting Resolute, that network has expanded to business leaders who have walked through the fire of economic changes, turnover and the evolution of their service offerings. They not only made it through stronger than they started, but they also did it with strong ethics and an attitude of always “doing the right thing.”
We all have something we can offer to the employees, colleagues and students around us. This article from Forbes offers just a few ideas for how you can pay it forward.
3 Ways Entrepreneurs Can Be Better Mentors
by Ryan Westwood
Nobody reaches the pinnacle of success alone. As entrepreneurs, we are constantly learning more about business. Many successful CEOs attribute their success in large part to mentors–men and women who have guided, encouraged, and pushed them to fulfill their entrepreneurial visions. Recently, I sat down with Carine Strom Clark, former president and CEO of MaritzCX. Carine spends a large portion of her personal time mentoring young people, and we talked about the value of mentoring the future workforce.
Carine’s mentoring is influenced by a firm belief in today’s young people and an unwavering commitment to influencing future entrepreneurs. In a very real way, we too can affect the lives and careers of young businesspeople. Here are three things we can do to successfully mentor the next generation of business leaders.
Look beyond the current job.
Most of today’s trending business leaders started their careers in non-glamorous jobs. Ashley Fieglein Johnson, CFO of Wealthfront, was a water skier in a local water show. Neil Vogel, CEO of About.com, sold tuxedos in the mall. Everybody has to start somewhere. If people lack the ability to see beyond their current situation, it’s up to us as mentors to introduce them to that potential.
As a mentor for a player on the Utah Valley University women’s basketball, Carine looks for sharp kids to mentor everywhere she goes. For example, she knows the server at her favorite pizza place is studying biochemistry, and she takes every opportunity to encourage her as she pursues a degree. “It’s critical that somebody believes in you outside of your parents,” she said.
Help them “visit their future.”
Gone are the days when you could spend ten years in college taking underwater basket weaving. With the cost of a college education exceeding thirty thousand dollars, young people have to maximize their time and opportunities. Being able to shadow a professional in their profession of choice early on in school can be a game changer at a pivotal time.
Carine calls this shadowing “visiting your future.” She frequently takes aspiring dentists and doctors to observe the work environment for a day. One student considering medical school needed only an afternoon of shadowing to convince him that the letters “M.D.” would never be part of his title. By helping people “visit their futures” and experience variety of work environments, young people can discover who they really are and want to become.
Treat them like the successful people they will become.
When I was young, I worked as a yard boy for a man named Wilford Clyde, who ended up building a very successful company. He set an example for me that taught me timeless business principles that I still practice today. I learned to work hard, to respect others, and to be on time. My father, a historian who taught at Brigham Young University, showed me the importance of giving back to the community. Both men saw potential in me that impacted the way I viewed myself and encouraged me to fulfill my goals.
A true mentor always sees more in a person than what meets the eye. Carine, for example, never treats the aspiring data scientist, who works as a waitress, as someone merely refilling coffee cups. Instead, she treats her as the data scientist she hopes to one day become.
“If everyone had an adult, not our parent, who took an interest in them, who simply took it upon themselves to share knowledge and encouragement, we could change the fabric of our community,” says Carine.
As entrepreneurs, we have the opportunity to share our knowledge and experience with others. Mentors like Carine — Utah’s EY Entrepreneur of the Year 2016 for her commitment to business and community — illustrate the positive impact we can have on the future workforce. By seeing the talent that lies beyond a present job, inviting them to visualize a career choice, and treating them as the future successes they are destined to be, you have the power to inspire and mold a strong generation of future business leaders.
Ryan Westwood is a contributor for Forbes where a version of this article originally appeared.