Almost everyone recognizes how important mentoring is. I don’t know anyone who is successful who did not have at least one good mentor. I know I am grateful for mine.Similarly, I don’t know any good leaders who don’t mentor to some degree. It is more than a mark of a good leader; the mentoring makes the leader stronger by what he or she learns from the mentee.Of course, people define mentoring differently. It should be more simply than showing someone the ropes or sharing inside baseball.A good mentor should have a vested interest in helping his or her mentee succeed. Yes, I recognize that this definition begins to bleed into sponsorship as many define it.However, I believe the line between mentorship and sponsorship can be somewhat artificial. In my views, the best mentorships include a sponsorship component. The term I use is “servant mentorship.”One way that mentors can sponsor mentees is by opening doors for them. “I can’t do this but I think this would be a great opportunity for you.”In these cases, the mentor feels good about the opportunity that he or she has provided. While this may benefit the mentee too, the mentor is benefiting by having someone safe do what he or she cannot.Don’t get me wrong. That’s not a bad thing. But it’s not as wonderful as it may make the mentor feel.For me, the best test as to whether someone is a servant mentor is whether they lean back so their mentee can lean in. That means giving up an opportunity for the mentee so that he or she can grow.“I can do this, but I think you would be great. If you want it, it’s yours.”Mentees know the difference. And, I believe, they respond in kind.Opening a door for someone when you cannot walk in is not “servant mentorship.” Not walking in the door when you can but sending your mentee instead is.Next month I will be giving my monthly slot to a mentee. Thank you to SHRM for joining me in service mentorship.
Around the country, America’s Future Foundation hosts events to cultivate a nationwide network of young leaders to share free market ideas and impact society through the power of community. By partnering with drivers of change in different cities throughout the US, AFF brings the ideas of liberty to young leaders in different communities. To celebrate our chapters, we are featuring some of their work from the last year, by region, throughout the holiday season. To kick off December, check out just a few of the west coast and southwest chapter events!Past EventsLittle Pink House Film Screening – SacramentoThe Sacramento chapter teamed up with the Pacific Legal Foundation for an exclusive, one-night only screening of the award-winning film, Little Pink House. The movie follows homeowner Susette Kelo’s battle to keep her home when private land developers and politicians in Connecticut conspired to redevelop her residential neighborhood. Susette’s true story became the center of a political firestorm that culminated in an historic decision by the U.S. Supreme Court. The even was followed by conversation with Jim Burling, Pacific Legal Foundation’s vice president of litigation.The Cost of War – AustinIn October, the Austin, TX chapter, along with the Texas Millennial Institute, welcomed Angela Keaton, executive director of Antiwar.com, and Austin native Scott Horton, author and managing director of The Libertarian Institute for a discussion on American foreign policy. They discussed the human, emotional, and financial toll that war takes to better understand the various approaches to foreign policy objectives. Following the panel, the AFF community engaged in an informed discussion on war and foreign policy.Happy Hour – AlbuquerqueDuring the heat of the midterm election cycle, Albuquerque took a low-key approach and hosted a delightful happy hour at a local winery. Members enjoyed a glass of wine over various topics of discussion including politics, community, and local events.Giving Felons a Second Chance – DallasThe Dallas chapter partnered with 2S Industries to host a conversation with Todd Fields, the organization’s president and CEO. 2S Industries is a six-year-old social enterprise, which takes ex-felons and employs them in either construction or landscaping jobs. Not only does the organization employ these marginalized men, but it also provides them with mentorship and guidance to help them re-adjust to life outside of prison. Men who have a steady income and a sense of community are less likely to engage in behaviors that would lead to re-incarceration, and are willing and able to become productive members of their communities. This concept has been proven again and again by 2S Industries over the relatively brief time the organization has been in existence. The organization has taken a serious social problem, and has found an innovative private solution.Upcoming EventsEnd of the Year Holiday Party and Toy Drive – Austin, December 4Today, the Austin chapter hosts their final event of the year! As an AFF community, members will kick off the holiday season with ugly sweaters and celebrate an incredible year of camaraderie and policy discussions. The chapter partnered with a local charity so members may donate gifts to children who would not otherwise have something special during this season.Holiday Party – San Francisco, December 5Tomorrow, the San Francisco chapter has their final annual event to ring in the joyful holiday season! Members can enjoy drinks and hors d’oeuvres over conversation and fun games at a local arcade bar venue. In case you missed it, San Francisco chapter leader, Katie Modesitt, touched the AFF community’s heart with her blog post on ways to help California residents from the devastating wildfires. Please consider donating, as every little bit helps the relief effort.The holiday season is here, and if you, are someone you know, may be interested in attending these or other upcoming events, check out AFF’s Facebook page! Want to learn more about AFF or get involved as a member? Reach out to the team by contacting Leah Whetstone at Leah@americasfuture.org.