Mar 18 2010

The Lost Art of Mentorship

Published by at 10:21 am under Observations on Domestic Affairs

My 1st Mentor Ms. Doreen Corrente

All of us can remember back to a special teacher or coach that we admired. An adult who helped guide us as we grew in our professional development. I remember my first mentor was my high school marketing teacher Ms. Doreen Corrente. She was my DECA advisor for three years and served as my chaperone as I competed in academic conferences in San Francisco, Atlanta and New Orleans. Ms. Corrente was more than that to me. She encouraged me to try new things, to improve my self confidence and she was instrumental in helping me develop my leadership skills. I remember when we traveled she would encourage me to try new foods. To this day, every time I eat a Caesar salad I think of Ms. Corrente.
I have been lucky to have a few terrific mentors in my life but I see the art of mentoring not as common. There is an article in Hawaii Business Magazine; “Nurturing Tomorrow’s Leaders” citing the decline of mentorships to the detriment of the next generation of leaders. In fact a competitive mentoring program called Pacific Century Fellows was developed out of this shortage of in-house mentoring.

My Friend & Mentee Kelly Park

On Monday March 22nd at the Hawaii Convention Center I will again be a judge for the Hawaii State DECA Competition. I along with other volunteers will be working with public high school students from Molokai, Kauai, Maui, Oahu and the Big Island. This is the same club I was in many years ago as a student.
As a DECA Alumni I get a great sense of joy seeing the students. The experience reminds me of all the great mentors I have had in my life at different stages and how vital they have been. Now, it is my responsibility to pay it forward. The word “mentor” was inspired by the character of Mentor in Homer’s literary work the Odyssey. In many ways my mentoring odyssey has come full circle. Or maybe I am just getting old?

2009 HI State DECA Students Heading to Nationals

I encourage you to reach out and make a difference in your community. Mentor someone at your job, your church or neighborhood. Volunteer at a public school or with a youth group and become a positive role model to the next generation of leaders. It is truly amazing how the smallest act can make the biggest impact in the life of another.

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