Mentoring has become something so important in my life. As I reflect on periods of hardship or significant transition, a few important people stand out. These people helped me navigate some of life’s toughest journeys in a way that honored my faith and brought glory to God. They encouraged me, challenged me to be confident in who I am, and helped me see different perspectives. I strongly believe that mentorship is essential to living a meaningful and integrated life; I know that it has made all the difference for me.
I would like to introduce you to Sandy Tush. Sandy is the Senior Facilitator and Program Manager at The Soderquist Center for Leadership & Ethics, a great friend, and an important mentor in my life. She has influenced me in many significant ways and I am confident that our short conversation below will add value to you as well.
SB: Why is mentorship important?
ST: Going it alone is rarely the best approach in life. No matter where each of us is in our journey, there is someone who has traveled a similar path ahead of us. It would be foolish not to seek guidance and assistance along the way.
SB: What is necessary for a good, healthy mentoring relationship?
ST: First and foremost: trust. A healthy mentoring relationship is a safe place for both parties – confidentiality, genuine good will, and no hidden agendas. It helps to sincerely enjoy each other’s company also! I look forward to my breakfast meetings with you, Stephanie, so much. While you have honored me by bestowing the title of mentor on me, we are also friends. And that friendship is very important to me.
SB: What advice would you give someone who is looking for a mentor? How should they approach a potential mentor?
ST: In almost all of my personal experiences, mentoring relationships have simply developed as a natural progression from some other starting point. In fact, the word “mentor” has only come up as a label after the fact, once the recognition is made for some reason that one or both parties in the relationship has come to view the other as a teacher, sounding board, or trusted advisor. While I know that arranged mentoring relationships are common and many times effective, only one of mine started that way.
SB: Why is it important to not only be mentored by someone, but to also mentor someone else?
ST: Both sides of a mentoring relationship are extremely valuable. Benefits for the mentee are obvious. The mentor role, however, also offers incredible value. There is a deep satisfaction and feeling of fulfillment in knowing you have played a role in the success and well-being of another person. Also, the kinds of conversations that take place in a healthy mentoring relationship frequently provide learning and encouragement for the mentor as well as the mentee. I actually have the name of a mentee written in my Bible beside Romans 2:12 – “I’m eager to encourage you in your faith, but I also want to be encouraged by yours. In this way, each of us will be a blessing to the other.”
SB: How can the mentee add value to the relationship?
ST: Especially if you have sought out the mentor, be appreciative of the investment they are making in you. And look for opportunities to feed into their life as well. You undoubtedly have knowledge or expertise in some area where they don’t. And you can always be an encourager.
Sandy Tush | Senior Facilitator and Program Manager, The Soderquist Center for Leadership & Ethics
Sandy Tush serves as Senior Facilitator and Program Manager for The Soderquist Center for Leadership & Ethics. She is involved with the creation and facilitation of both customized and open enrollment programs. This work includes the use of a variety of assessment instruments to help leaders identify their strengths and development needs. Sandy brings over 30 years of experience in adult education and leadership development. She served as the Executive Development Center Program Manager at Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., before joining The Soderquist Center. Prior to that, she held the position of Content Developer / Facilitator for Home Office People Development. She also taught computer science courses at various community colleges. Sandy is a member of the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) and also has multiple certifications, including Professional in Human Resources (PHR), EQ-i, The Birkman Method, and many more. She can be found on the local running trails and also enjoys time at home with her husband, Mike.