The first half-century of my life has been richly blessed through my experience with mentoring. I believe that it is an essential component to success. Done well, an effective mentoring experience can help to establish the values that carry us through life.

I am the beneficiary of the kind and thoughtful mentoring of several incredible people who were generous with their time and demonstrated incredible patience, integrity, and wisdom. They seemed to surface just in time and shared with me an eclectic mix of philosophies and backgrounds. Mentoring allowed me to explore my aspirations, quietly fail, and pick myself up to move on to the next adventure. In 1999, that path led me to the executive suite. Mentoring allowed me to experience the aspects of both success and failure, perhaps the most important principle in mentoring.

My first mentors were my grandparents. They held strong values and relied on their faith and the belief that success was always within reach. They emphasized the view that a willingness to work hard and maintain a focus on achievement was critical to a successful future. More importantly, they valued education and made the sacrifices necessary to insure my ability to pursue my dreams. Because of that unconditional support, I have been able to take advantage of a wide range of opportunities in both public service and private enterprise.

In turn, I have made myself available as a mentor to those who seek my help. These interactions have ranged from strategic planning to simply providing a sounding board and a strong shoulder. I have been gratified by the exchange of perspectives and the invaluable lessons that i have learned through my exposure to those just beginning their careers. Sharing leads to mutual understanding, which allows us to agree to disagree, hold firm views and positions, but appreciate the value of compromise and collaboration. Mentoring is a vehicle to pursue these important life lessons. To move forward requires only a willingness to say yes.