Have you ever had a mentor? What was the greatest lesson you learned from him or her?
My mentor was my first boss in Washington D.C. at the National Association of Broadcasters. I was hired as his administrative assistant, quite honestly because I was friends with his wife. She liked me and felt I’d get along well with her husband.
It worked. Before I had children (finally), I had five happy, productive years at the NAB, constantly being challenged and challenging myself. Charley Jones, my boss, was indeed a mentor, pushing me further and further, and pulling abilities out me that I didn’t know I possessed.
The job began as advertised, as an administrative assistant. Soon I was taking on other responsibilities, answering correspondence on my own, writing articles and speeches, creating new publications, planning convention events and lining up speakers. On one particular occasion, he said I was going to introduce a couple of speakers at our annual convention. I had never signed up to be in the spotlight — but he told me I could do it, and so I did. I never wanted to disappoint him, nor put him in a position of having to answer for my shortcomings. I’d never been a radio broadcaster as he had, so there were gaps in my knowledge which I had to overcome. He always “had my back” and by telling me I could do “it”, I believed him and he always gave me the support I needed to carry out his directions.
My daughter currently has a boss who is just the opposite. She has grown so much professionally in her current job and I’m so proud of her. I (and other supporters) can see how well she’s done and how much she’s learned. She covers up for his shortcomings and makes him look good, and yet she rarely gets credit or even thanks from him for what she does. Nor does he promote her verbally or financially within the organization.
I’m so grateful for the experience I had. I grew, I was advised and taught, and I was rewarded. I’ll always be thankful to my mentor, Charley Jones, and the the NAB which had the openness to let people show what they could do.