And the Mentor goes to . . .

On Sunday night, much of the United States will watch some, if not all, of the Oscars, and we will talk about the stars.  We’ll talk about how they dress, who they’re with, what party they go to, etc. etc.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m a huge movie fan !!  I love to see almost any movie and there are some great choices this year. But, have you noticed something?  The key awards where the stars win are given the best spots, the most time to gush during an acceptance speech and we expect them to be memorable.  However, the people who are behind the scenes like the screenwriters, make-up, score and others are clipped short even though they have reached the same pinnacle.  We just don’t WANT to see them.  It’s sad.  To make a movie you need hundreds of people and yet few ever get credit.

It’s a lot like mentors.  Great mentors are people who are there for you throughout your career either to move you ahead, stop you from falling into a career-ending ravine, or just to listen.  Mentors are something that is essential for every person in today’s business climate of constant change.  You need an anchor !!

Let me tell you about my mentor.  His name is Fred Eck and he is the current HR Manager for Atlas Roofing.  He’ll probably kill me for making this much about him, but you have to hear about how a great mentor does this naturally.

Fred has held almost every SHRM leadership position there is at the chapter, State and Regional level.  In fact, he’s the Program Chair for me this year for the 2011 Ohio HR Conference, and I couldn’t think of a better person to be in this critical role to our conference’s success !!

I talk to Fred two to three times a week just to check in, talk about life and get a piece of wisdom – which he always has.  We are inseperable at Conferences or SHRM meetings.

Now, if you look for Fred online, you’ll find him on Linked In and I even convinced him to join Twitter, but you won’t see a lot of Tweets from him (yet). You see Fred is like that great screewriter or the the cameraman who captures the perfect scene.  He’s not the visible person up front who gets all the accolades, but you couldn’t do the movie without him. He’s taught me several things, but one pearl of wisdom has set the stage for me.

“You can’t be a mentor – without having a mentor.”

I am a mentor now too to a few people.  I won’t tell you who they are because that is not necessary.  I want them to grow to be future businesspeople who will make anything I ever get to do seem minor.

So often lately, I get the feeling that we keep focusing on the HR voices who are edgy, visible, contrary and larger-than-life. I think they are doing great work, but I don’t want us to forget the thousands who are behind the scenes making this happen.

So the Mentor goes to . . . Fred Eck !!  I’m going to sit back now and listen to his acceptance speech no matter how long it goes !!

Image courtesy of There from Here Blog

5 thoughts on “And the Mentor goes to . . .”

  1. Great message Steve…and I love your phrase “You can’t be a mentor – without having a mentor.” Terrific challenge for us all.

  2. Hi Steve,

    I am grateful for the mentors I have had through the years, some from the most unusual places! However, it has taught me the joy of mentoring others. I have a few I have mentored over the years and I hope I was some help to them and had some wisdom to share. I beleive we are never too old to have a mentor. Thank you for sharing this perspective…… and you are right, Fred is a great guy!


  3. Well, what can I say. I would like to thank the academy and the fans! Seriously though I have enjoyed the friendship and business/HR relationship Steve and I have shared for many years. The greatest thing about it is that in a “mentoring” relationship it is a two way street…each person brings benefit to the relationship. In my case, young Steve is helping me to be more receptive and knowledgeable regarding social media and networking and I am able to share with him musical tidbits from the 50’s and 60’s, which he wasn’t around to hear! In all seriousness, I truly appreciate his acknowledgement of my being his mentor and look forward to many more years to come. For those of you functioning in that role, a tip of the hat and for those of you who aren’t….find an up and comer who you can share your experience with and help grow!

    See you at the Ohio HR conference in September

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