Yep. I would give you a bit of perspective on that. I think I’d mentioned as an industrial engineer and I graduated from Georgia tech, the guy who was the head of the industrial engineering school, when I went to Georgia tech, his name was Nelson Rogers. I got a handwritten note in a box in those days and it said, come see Nelson Rogers. And I was like, what have I done? You know, now I just got here. He actually said, I’m going to ask you to come see me for a few minutes at each term. And I want to make sure you’re set up for success. And, at a big school, it was shocking to me that somebody would be willing to do that. And he kept his word and helped make sure I had a straight path and he helped clear the path for me. So, my whole mentality around mentors is, A, I have significantly benefited from mentors over my career. It’s a no brainer investment. It’s one of the reasons why I’m passionate about mentoring others.
It’s always a pay it forward. There is a role for mentors throughout your career, whether you’re in school, whether you’re early in career or late in career, I use my mentors as of today. So, they’ve been invaluable for me. My mentor in industry at Frito-Lay, a guy named Hill Lathan. He provided perspective. I’d come out of school as a hard charger and my first boss really put me in my place. Probably well-deserved, but did not have good perspective. And he was a relatively senior person. I’ll never forget it. One day walking out of the office, hanging like a dog. And he just looked at me and patted me on the back. And he said, this too, shall pass. He said, just take a deep breath and don’t worry about it. And that meant so much to me at the time. So, I would say there’s value in both formal and informal mentors. My advice. Be thoughtful on what you need from a mentor, different from your manager. There’s a role for your direct manager and helping you with your performance and development, but a mentor can play a different role and may be providing a different perspective so that you can either own something that your manager is telling you that you may say my manager doesn’t get me, but if you hear it from an objective mentor, you may realize, Hey, I really need to work on that.
I think you should do the leg work on the right fit. Someone who has the right time, who cares, who’s willing to invest, but has a perspective that will both support and challenge you. And I think the last thing is, as a mentee, you need to understand that you need to carry the ball in that relationship. You need to do the scheduling. You need to offer up where you need guidance. You need to manage the follow-up. And then my last point is you need to be ready to give back. You will be quickly eligible to mentor someone else. As soon as you get into industry, or if you’re a senior in college, you could mentor a freshmen or sophomore. So, I think it should be a virtuous circle. So that’s my thinking on mentorship.