“Great (people) are not born great, they grow great.” And they find great mentors, don’t they?


I realize that I have been absolutely blessed to have so many wonderful mentors in my professional life — various people who were slightly wiser and more experienced (and sometimes VERY much wiser and more experienced), not always older than me in years but certainly older than me in knowledge and skill. In every field I’ve worked — hospitality, academia, and non-profits — I was lucky to find great teachers in my friends, and great friends in my teachers. These relationships happened naturally. Effortlessly. Wondrously.

“Godfather. Will you look at my LinkedIn page for me?”

So it is interesting that I find myself in the fourth month of this new career journey and I am still relatively mentor-free. My boss is a wonderful teacher and I would never trade him for the world, but it seems I would have networked the heck out of this new field by now and found other additional great coaches. To actively and consciously seek out a new mentor or two … where do I even start?

Even though the necessary skill sets are almost identical, it is very clear to me that sales/marketing is a very different beast from nonprofit fundraising/communications. By necessity, we spend every moment we can focusing on our “funnels” and have little time left to network and get out to meet each other. I will not lie; it has been a bit isolating not having a community of fellow sales/marketing pros to talk with, get advice from, etc. I’m sure the opportunities exist somewhere (besides service clubs, health clubs, etc — I’m talking about opportunities to rub elbows with others who do similar work). Am I still just too new?

So what are your thoughts, especially if you are in sales/marketing? Do you find mentoring relationships valuable? How do you find these relationships? I would love to read your comments below.

Are mentoring relationships important even, or am I still dragging an academia/nonprofit idea around with me, like old Fredo baggage?


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