If you haven’t figured it out yet, it’s mentoring month! Today, Kathy Lang says “thank you” to her career mentors. Connect with Kathy on LinkedIn
THANK YOU! In this blog post I just want to say thanks to the many people who have influenced my career. I feel like they are my secret society of superheroes – The Mentors! They freely give advice when asked (and sometimes when I don’t ask but clearly need it). They connect me with other people and groups that both motivate me grow my network and knowledge.
They serve as role models and inspire me to reach higher than I thought I should. They help me figure out how to overcome obstacles. They help me clarify my career goals. There isn’t enough space to thank everyone who has touched my life but I want to highlight two of my recent mentors.
A few years ago I participated in a program where I was assigned a mentor. My great fortune was to be assigned to Frank Benest. He is well-respected in local government, knows everyone and all kinds of diverse groups. He is great at connecting you with others. In our first meeting he had suggested at least two groups I could join and by the next week had already made an email introduction on my behalf.
He helped me work through ideas for a research project I needed to complete. He helped me identify areas that I needed to work on if I wanted to move from being an operational manager to a strategic manager. He was the first mentor who really helped me step up my career to a new level.
The other mentor I wanted to mention by name is Pam Antil. Now, I’m sure a huge group of people just nodded and said, “Of course, Pam.” She is a one-of-a-kind administrator who leaves a lasting impression on you even with the smallest amount of exposure. Set aside that she is unique, genuine and true to herself. Get over that she has practical advice and freely shares her experiences with you when you need inspiration.
Let’s just say it. She is fun!
I remember the moment that I started thinking of her as my mentor. I was standing a cocktail table eating a muffin in the middle of the ICMA pavilion in Charlotte. A woman walked up and asked to share the table. We introduced ourselves and she said, “Oh, you’re the Kathy that Pam was just talking about.” If you want to make someone’s head explode with a million thoughts all at once – say something like that!
Mentors, coaches and sponsors are so important to help you advance in your career. I have been fortunate to have really great ones and so many other role models, too. I’m always a work in progress but with the help of my secret society of superheroes, I’m getting better every day!