Did you have a mentor?

Mentor was the theme of the last week.  I believe I was asked more than a handful of times last week if I had a mentor…and who was my role model.  Mentor and role model are words that have become part of every person’s dialogue these days.

The few people who were quasi-mentors early in my career, were in my life for short periods of time before they got promoted into new jobs.  I looked up to them but as soon as they moved on, that “mentorship” was over.  Some of them were also role models and then some of them were not mentors but just role models of how not to be.

It might have been nice to have someone along the road that could have been a mentor to me but I’d say Fred and in many ways, our kids have been the people I turn to when in need of some advice and direction.  They are my mentors.  I have added Alex, my trusted assistant to that list.  They are my daily mentors.

Role models are a tough one.  I am not sure I have one here either but I certainly give respect and nod to many people for different reasons.

I consider myself a mentor to many.  All organic relationships that have developed over the years.  I am sure some of those people will move on from me as the years go by.  More than likely, in a heartbeat, I would be able to pick up on the conversation of years past whenever a little tune-up was needed.

I am pretty sure I am a role model to others as well.  That feels good.  Perhaps the desire for many of us to feel more connected to others in this fast-paced world is one of the many reasons that mentors have become so amplified in the last decade.

I might be someone on the giving end, but the reality is my giving end is also a receiving end, and that is a very good thing.  Mentorship is a two-way street.


Comments (Archived):

  1. awaldstein

    So important and I take my role as such to heart.Need to say though that coming up my bosses where amongst the most inspired and difficult people in the industry.They gave me personally huge opportunities, taught me much but I’ve gone through the healthy process of keeping some things, rejecting others as not who I am.

    1. Gotham Gal

      i take it to heart too.

  2. Anne Libby

    There’s so much soft-focused online glad-handing about finding and being a mentor. I see some young people looking too hard for “the person” In a sort of guru sense.So many of my mentoring relationships have’t looked like a grizzled elder counseling me over time. Some were single conversations that were powerful in my perception, and that I imagine that the mentor(s) may not have even registered. Consequently, I try to take care with my own words, because I don’t know how they’ll land, and I may never find out.In my view, it’s important for people to have good questions framed up. Instead of looking for a mentor, to look and know the questions you think a mentor can help you to answer. This way, you may have a shot at asking them at seemingly improbable times. Like when you’re waiting in the buffet line at a conference lunch.

    1. Gotham Gal

      Curiosity is key.

  3. Pointsandfigures

    I had a few when I was a trader. Some, not a lot but some, traders naturally mentored others. They were secure in their own self, and even in the hyper competitive arena of trading they helped people out and talked to them about how they did what they did. Orv Wilkin(ORV), Jimmy Mulka (WEST), Roger Carlsson(EMA), John Bailey(JBS), Bobby Henner(HNR), Lonny Siegel (LSY), Bruce Johnson(BBJ) and Bill Sheperd(BILL) all mentored me in different ways at different times. Grateful to them all.

  4. JLM

    .In the military, when a General officer takes an interest in you and your career, he is anointed as your “Rabbi.”I had the great fortune of having a Rabbi I served under three times and who headed a promotion board I went before. I got promoted.It is not a new thing. Business tries a little too hard to embrace this concept. I see it all the time.One important thing in working with anyone is to ensure they are in the position of being able to provide useful advice without impacting the relationship in a negative way.Pro tip: Never develop a close relationship with a Rabbi who can fire you. Do not entrust your innermost thoughts to an investor, a VC, a boardmember. They can fire you. Instead, seek out someone who does not have a direct interest in the game.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

  5. Pranay Srinivasan

    You are definitely my mentor and guide in times I need to get my head straight. Sincerely grateful for that.

    1. Gotham Gal


  6. Twain Twain

    Role models:* my mother — for relentless love, curiosity and pragmatism;* my former manager at UBS — for leading by example, personal integrity and being gender-agnostic;* Elon Musk — not for neural lace which I disagree with, but because he tries to invent by first principles;* Steve Jobs — for integration of design, technology and marketing;* Melinda Gates — for “walking talk and putting money where mouth is” and making a difference to women in AI so it’s not all “white guys in a hoodie”https://backchannel.com/mel…* Gotham Gal — for being fierce, compassionate and open to cultures of all kinds;* Jeff Besoz — for being totally brilliant at going straight for the bottomline; and* Leonardo da Vinci — for genius that stands the tests of time.Mentors:I learn something from everyone I meet. Last Saturday, a pretty 8 year-old Indian girl in a floaty pink dress sidled up to me whilst I was in a coding workshop for real-time analysts, using a tool Twitter had built in-house and has now open-sourced. She was the daughter of the guy leading the workshop.She wanted to show me how Siri can tell her answers like “What’s 3 divided by 20?”So I opened up my Alexa development environment and showed her that SHE TOO CAN CODE whatever she wants the machines to do. You should have seen how her eyes popped open and the light sparked!!! LOL.Then she said, “Alexa isn’t as good as Siri, though. Siri can show me the answer too!”Guess what Amazon is likely to announce within the next few days? Echo Show ($230):https://arstechnica.com/gadhttps://uploads.disquscdn.c…I hope to always be mentored by everyone I randomly meet, including 8 year-old girls in pretty pink dresses because that was me once and it’s part of who I am inside.——Amazon Alexa team certified my Alexa Skill over the weekend, 12,500+ Skills have been approved and mine is the first-ever “Da Vinci Quotes”!!! There are almost 600 sports ones and 28 style ones.https://www.amazon.com/UR-D…No info on what the breakdown of male:female developers for Alexa is, but I will say that at the AWS Summit workshop I counted male:female to be 120:3.My second Skill is “Best selling singles” (this has already been submitted for certification) and my Third will be “Chocolate recommendations” so … the photos of gorgeous chocolate will look good on the Echo Show.Now I just have to, somehow, sweet talk my friends at AWS to give me one for free!Ah, and all of them (Amazon, Apple, Google, MS) know they NEED female engineers to get hands-on with making voice+vision apps.

    1. Gotham Gal