Tuesday, March 15, 2011
Teach Your Children Well: Business Mentoring
Two weeks ago my Marketing and Social Media Mini-Me, Christina, came to me before my first cup of coffee on a Monday morning and informed me she was leaving the company. Her reasons were solid. She is involved in the art world and we were a restaurant group. Her passion job came up and she needed to strike while the irons were hot. I was both thrilled and greatly saddened at the same time.
Let me take a second to just tell you about this 19 year old Supergirl. She is NOT from this time. It’s as if she stepped through a temporal distortion. Her music tastes were early Elton John, Beatles, Leon Russell and Neil Young. She is a vegan with a great knowledge for food of all sorts and a vocabulary and writing style that would make most writers stop and wonder what they were doing wrong. She could also talk at a mile a minute with the enthusiasm of a school girl that would be the only hint to her true age.
While working with me I trusted her with all the Social Media, blogging, Tweeting and brand building for our entire concept for Fresh & Co. here in NYC. What she did with it was short of sensational for someone her age as she created her own voice for the brand. I called her Kent, as in Clark Kent for her newsletter reporting and heroic results.
On her final day as we stood at the elevator to say our “see you later”
(I never say good-bye) she buried her head into my chest cried and said, “you have been like a father to me”. At that moment I felt terribly old and proud all at the same time. I had always looked at her as a daughter figure as is we got along on so many levels and I mentored her the best way I knew how.
Two minutes after the elevator door had closed and she had spread her wings to leave this nest I texted her three simple words. “You Are Awesome!” What I got back was this:
“You’re one of the most beautiful and inspiring people I have ever met. I’ve learned so much from you and you are one of the people I can truly call a friend. From boyfriend issues and more you’ve been with me at one of the pivotal points in my life. I’m growing up and becoming an adult and because of you I will continue to become an even better person. You showed me the way- and you’ve provided the next chapter of my life with a phenomenal soundtrack”
WOW! I felt like the teacher who watched his students graduate or the parent who witnessed their child leave for school for the very first time. I felt like a father. I felt like a teacher and mentor.
Here’s the point: If you have the chance to mentor someone, do it. Take them under your wing and show them everything you know and fill them with as much as information that their heads can accumulate. We are all teachers. It’s what we do with the knowledge on a personal and educational level that makes the true difference. We can dazzle clients and big business all we like. We can walk the walk and go on all the golf meetings and Martini lunches we like and make a difference. But the real payback for your knowledge is what you pass on to the next generation.
Christina was with me for 9 months. The same time it takes to bring any child into this world and prepare them for what awaits and prepare them to take flight.
Here are some resources you can connect with to find your own Clark Kent
Or reach out to your local universities to find that young person to guide!