Paul Nazareth, Philanthropic Advisor
Scotia Private Client Group
Me personally, I make it point to observe the careers of business people I admire.I study people who have achieved what I value in life – and I then I ask them for advice on how they did it. Often the more brilliant ones have confessed to me that although their career looks like a straight line it was more like a squiggle and when it came to mentors they didn’t have just one, but many. What does a multi-mentoring universe look like?
Just above the atmosphere are your digital teachers. With today’s interconnected world of Twitter and LinkedIn, like satellites they are transmitting educational articles daily. World leaders, great CEOs, authors, journalists and great fundraisers from the around the globe are now serving as social mentors more often.
Mentors are all around you, it doesn’t need to be a formal mentoring relationship. Like that person at work whose advice and guidance you value, good mentors are people who add value. In this orbit too are the formal mentoring programs like through AFP, other professional associations, your alumni programs and local community organizations.
Further out are the big planets. The leaders you have access to but see less frequently, you need a couple of these experienced people. Deep thinkers with lots of experience. Maybe you only see them twice a year but they will help guide your way in critical decisions of career and ethics. Here’s a great read on how to find mentors like these.
Remember too that you need to be in the orbits of others – let me confess it’s not about ‘giving back’. Younger professionals, or mentoring people outside your professional network bring big value. New ideas, new skills (like coaching on things like technology and social media), new contacts. You have a lot to give but what you get back is of serious career value too. Don’t just be nice, consider the give and take to make it an equal partnership of learning.
Key traits of these successful people I observe though, is that they reach out to mentors outside their field of work and manage these relationships carefully. A great phrase I once heard was, we need to create a personal board of directors. Want to get recruit more board members of your own? Consider using the new web platform Ten Thousand Coffees or ask for referrals from your current mentors.
It need not be a lot of effort. An excel spreadsheet, using LinkedIn’s new contact management software or just your calendar – but be sure to schedule it and prepare for the meeting. Here are some more mentoring resources and articles to help you as you build your mentoring relationships and network.
Remember there is NEVER a good time or enough time to find and spend time with mentors. Come out to events held by AFP Greater Toronto Chapter to meet and spend time with yours!
Paul Nazareth is a former charity fundraiser turned philanthropic advisor with Scotia Private Client Group. Networking as an AFP member has had a big impact on his career and he is obsessed about helping peers do better and live better through connecting with each other. Find him on the web or follow him on Twitter at @UinvitedU. Connect with Paul and other mentors at AFP Greater Toronto Chapter’s April 29th Mentor Meet ‘n Greet Event.