Author, Syndicated Columnist, Editor In-Chief and Group Publisher at SGB Media Group, a social media marketing firm specializing in digital media content production, publishing, affiliate marketing, public relations and advertising. Over 25 years experience in retailing, advertising, website & online forum development, niche social networking, affiliate marketing, search optimization, branding and identity, site location, non-profit fund raising. Event planning, promotion, production and MC/Host at public events. Author, Editor & Publisher of 35 syndicated, digital publications utilizing multiple digital distribution channels in conjunction with launching and administrating national advertising campaigns for major Fortune 500 advertisers in partnership with Google, Ning, Facebook, Myspace, Yahoo, DoubleClick, LinkShare, PepperJam and other industry leading third party affiliate networks. Product development team member from conception to launch on many websites, tangible goods and organizational structure for start ups. Specialties: Public relations, retailing, advertising, website & online forum development, niche social networking, blogging, email campaigns, affiliate/performance marketing, search optimization, branding and identity, site location, event production & promotion, non-profit fund raising and tasteful, responsible adult content publishing. An internationally recognized and read social media columnist & pundit on The Examiner, Associate Content, Vator.tv, X-Biz.net and Technorati and his own affiliated sites.
Arizona’s entrepreneurial ecosystem continues to grow and prosper. New incubators and support programs continue to grow and evolve to support what the Kauffman Foundation has recently ranked as the fourth most active system for entrepreneurial activity in the nation.
The rise of this ecosystem has led to increased angel funding, growth in numerous business sectors and unleashed a new set of entrepreneurs with various skill sets. Some entrepreneurs in the system have had had multiple successful exits and raised tens of millions of dollars. Most, however, are not that fortunate and are seeking the right tools to build the dream team, raise capital and bring products to market.
“The delicate balance of mentoring someone is not creating them in your own image, but giving them the opportunity to create themselves.” — Steven Spielberg
Over the years I’ve mentored dozens of people in a mutitude of industries, real estate, musical retail, software development, gaming and more. There seems to exist a mindset in some circles that the mentee should emulte thier mentor as much as possible if they wish to achieve similar success as their mentor and I say that’s total bullshit. I got to where I am through a lot of hard learned series of trial and error, success and failure. What I desire more than anything as a mentor is to spare my mentee the pain and loss accociated with my many errors and failures in my life and career. If I can help them avoid the same mistakes as I made then hopefully they can achieve even greater success in a shorter period of time.
Winston Churchill once said, “We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.” For social entrepreneurs, this quote is understood at the core. If you’re dedicating your career to changing your community or society at large, you’re likely in your line of work for its benefit to others. But, as a leader with lofty goals, you must take a break from the give to make sure you have enough get.
January is National Mentoring Month, the perfect month to assess how you’re being filled up and rejuvenated as a leader. Though social entrepreneurs are externally motivated and focus their time and ambitions on others, it’s important not to forget to give back to yourself, for your sake and for those you are helping.
Asem Hasna has come a long way in the last few years.
In 2012, he was a university student in war-torn Syria. Now, he’s a a refugee in Berlin who’s helping teach other young refugee students the technical skills of computer coding and robotics.
Europe is dealing with the long-term consequences of the Syrian crisis. More than 1 million people migrated to the continent in 2015 alone. In the United States, President Donald Trump has framed refugees as potential threats, and he tried to temporarily ban Syrians from entering the country.
But Hasna’s story provides a different perspective — one of opportunity. As people question what can be done to help those fleeing war, his journey provides a potential model, melding personal resolve with assistance from nonprofits and corporations.
It started when Hasna lost part of his left leg in 2013. He says an artillery shell hit the ambulance he was driving in Syria.
Our recent annual Mentoring Matters Reader Survey revealed dozens of best practice topics. This blog is the first in our series of mentoring best practice posts soon to follow. Based on our survey results, here are the top ten:
- Start by getting to know your mentee
- Make sure you take time to get to know your mentee before you jump into the work of mentoring. Nothing of substance will happen until you establish a trusting relationship.
- Establish working agreements
- Agreements lay the foundation of a mentoring relationship. Build in basic structures about how you will work together moving forward. Make sure you and your mentee agree on ground rules.
- Focus on developing robust learning goals
- The purpose of mentoring is to learn. Learning is also the payoff. Make sure the mentee’s learning goals are worthy of your time and effort. Developing robust learning goals takes time and good conversation.
- Balance talking and listening
- It’s easy and natural to want to give advice, especially because you’ve “been there and done that.” But mentees want more than good advice. They want you to listen to their ideas as much as they want to hear what you have to say.
- Ask questions rather than give answers
- Take the time to draw out a mentee’s thinking and get them to reflect on their own experience. Ask probing questions that encourage them to come up with their own insights.
- Engage in meaningful and authentic conversation
- Strive to go deeper than surface conversation. Share your own successes and failures as well as what you are learning from your current mentoring relationship.
- Check out assumptions and hunches
- If you sense something is missing or not going well, you are probably right. Address issues as soon as possible. Simply stating, “I want to check out my assumption which is … ” will prevent you from assuming your mentee is on track.
- Support and challenge your mentee
- Work on creating a comfortable relationship first before you launch into the uncomfortable stretch needed for deep learning. Mentees need to feel supported (comfortable) and yet be challenged (a little uncomfortable) in order to grow and develop.
- Set the expectation of two-way feedback
- Candid feedback is a powerful trigger for growth and change. Set the expectation early on. Be prepared to offer candid feedback, balanced with compassion. Model how to ask for and receive good feedback by asking your mentee for specific feedback on your own mentoring contribution.
- Check in regularly to stay on track
- Keep connected and develop a pattern of regular engagement. Both partners need to be accountable for following through with agreements. By holding an open, honest conversation about how you’re doing and what you need to do to improve, you encourage mutual accountability and deepen the relationship.
This inspiring young man, Sven Winter, is a new contact of mine on LinkedIn. He had already been a champion in the sport of ski cross at an international level which is something I have spent my life attempting to do and he retired at a young age after connecting with a mentor. Now he’s mentoring young business minded people through an organization called World Changers International volunteering his time to the initiative. The irony for me personally is that he represents the mirror image of my life in that he retired from ski racing to become a mentor and I’m doing the opposite. I have decided to retire from my career as a professional advisor & mentor to persue my lifelong passion for competative ski racing and coaching at the age of 58 which I chronicle about in my publication “Unsafe At Any Age” Coincidence we met? I think not. Here’s a video of Sven telling his story.
If we raise a generation of leaders who are certain in who they are, what they are meant to do with their lives and know exactly how to get there we can impact the world with the truth that:
“You can do something great with your life and live a life of fulfillment” and we will equip you on how to do so, so that you can help others do the same.
Liz Wessel says she has always been the type of person who has no shame in reaching out to someone, whether or not she knows the person. Wessel is the CEO and cofounder of WayUp, a site used by hundreds of thousands of college students to find jobs at places like Microsoft, Uber, The New York Times, Disney, and Google — where Wessel previously worked. Part of the reason she started WayUp with cofounder JJ Fliegelman was to combat nepotism, she says, “so it should make sense that I don’t really care about whether I have connections to a person.” “In college, my best cold email was to Roelof Botha, one of the top venture capitalists in the world,” she recalls. “He was a role model of mine, and I emailed him asking what he thought that I should do after I graduate in order to best position myself to one day start my own company: take a job offer at Google, or take a job offer at a venture-capital fund.” “He told me the former, and the rest was history,” she says. “It’s because of that first cold email that I have since always encouraged friends and colleagues to cold email people.” Wessel says she and Fliegelman started their company when they were just 24 and 25 years old. “We had a combined four years of full-time work experience, so there were often times that employees would ask us questions that we couldn’t answer or would ask us for advice that we didn’t want to get wrong,” she says.
Did you know that 70% of business owners who use mentors will survive in business twice as long as those who don’t? Mentoring is a mutually beneficial relationship forged between a more experienced business person and someone who is less experienced to help them to achieve their goals and boost their morale. When undertaken effectively, it offers benefits to both parties, but it is first and foremost a supportive and encouraging relationship that focuses on the needs of the mentoree. With mentoring, the budding entrepreneur is guided and supported so they can reach their highest potential. For example, during his early days immersed in growing Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg consulted with mentor Sean Parker and was noted as saying: “Few people are as smart as he is.” The top benefits of having a mentor for your business include: Exposure to new ways of thinking A new perspective on challenges you’re facing Someone to ‘lend an ear’ when you need to vent or talk through your thought processes Advice on how to develop your strengths and overcome your weaknesses Strategies for growing your business An opportunity to gain knowledge and develop new skills The possibility of increased recognition and visibility within your industry through networking Increased confidence