The Importance of Mentors

The importance of mentors keeps coming up.

At the Ohio Diversity Council’s 8th annual Women’s Conference, I heard inspiring stories from women and men leaders about who contributed to their success.  At the Columbus Landmark Foundation’s annual meeting, held in an historic “old deaf school” re-purposed as an academic high school, the new school’s curriculum includes placement with a local business throughout the school year.  This high school believes this experience provides “invaluable mentorship and motivation” for its students.

My mentors have been that for me – invaluable encouragement, instruction, and role-modeling.  I think of the many Who that contributed to my growth and opportunities.

  • My parents who instilled in all of their children a desire of life-long learning.
  • Herb and Jeanne, my employers when I was a teenager, who allowed me to learn new skills in customer service and small business administration.
  • Rosalyn, a woman who successfully ran her family business but was not always given credit due to her gender.
  • Linda, the Director in a planning commission, who saw promise in me early in my career – she gave me opportunities for advancement and taught me along the way how to supervise, manage program, and operate in a political environment.
  • Tony, who actually reported to me, but who knew far better than I the needs of the people coming to our homeless shelter. Tony taught me to not be so busy raising money and managing the large enterprise that I neglected my personal interaction with the clients and staff who needed that from their Executive leader.

Donna Brazil was the keynote speaker at the Ohio Diversity Council’s Women’s Conference.  She called us all to remember the importance of mentors and to be mentors ourselves.  “If you get a seat at the table,” Ms. Brazil said, “Remember to bring some folding chairs for others. “

Who brought a folding chair for you?



Sally Liken is the consummate professional. She was able to facilitate the collaboration of a variety of stakeholders that made the initiative that much more successful.

- Diane Cilento, United Housing Connections
Luken Solutions