Why Mentoring Matters: Conversation and Community Service

By LuAnn Haydon

Promote, advocate, care . . . this is why mentoring matters to me

You never know who or what may be the charge that can help you through a difficult time, a difficult situation or a difficult conversation.  We’ve all been there, we continue walking the walk despite the difficulty because of the people who surround us.   Early on, I didn't have the clarity to see that those wonderful people and experiences in my life had a name that would mean so much to me throughout my personal and professional life.  Today, I am convinced that my mentors were defined in those difficult and profound experiences when their actions or their words supported me.

Maybe it was being the third of four children, the smallest in my class or a female rather than a male, but I can always remember that watching, listening and learning from others made a difference in my life.  I can’t exactly tell you when I knew that the impact of those actions helped shape my life, but looking back, I can identify who those people are and realize what they  taught me is all part of why I've become the person I am today. 

Possibly it was one of my managers who told me “You need to be a little less social” or the friend that told me “you’re bigger than that, rise above” or maybe it was that  leader that I so admired and mirrored many of my thoughts and actions around.  It wasn’t until the later part of my career that mentoring became a focus in the business world and I reached out quickly to become part of that movement.  I knew then that was the walk that I would continue to embrace throughout my professional life and into my retirement.

\When I first heard of Lead(H)er, I literally couldn't wait to hear more.  I jumped at the opportunity to attend the formal kick off of this wonderful new initiative and witnessed the fevered pitch soar from a single conversation to a movement in our community.  I knew then, I had to be be involved with this energy.

From the first coffee with Courtney, I knew she was a perfect match.  As I listened to her, I saw so much of myself in her and could feel that our future conversations would be so enlightening and inspiring.  We have met several times over that last few months for coffee and have enjoyed sharing experiences and talking about challenges and opportunities.  We have also included time together attending Family Resources 'Rising Up' luncheon and helping out CASI (Center for Active Seniors) prepare for their annual Holiday Hat Bash which we will attend together tonight!
It is the time spent with Courtney and the reflection of what really matters in life that has convinced me that being open to a new adventure with an unexpected relationship not only lifts the spirit but can make such a difference in someone's life -  the conversations we share, the relationship between us, this is why mentoring matters to me.

I leave you with this to reflect upon . . . 

"We all need someone who inspires us to do better than we know how" --- Anonynous