Behind the Scenes of Successful Mentorship Stories

Mentoring Programs
Published on
October 23, 2020

Contrary to popular belief, mentorships are not just for prodigal individuals set out to make history; it is for all, regardless of career goals or industries. These programs are more than only a one-way knowledge transfer. Mentorship programs are, more often than not - relationships where the mentor and mentee exchange, not just career advice but also indulge in their personal growth.

A mentorship program must ensure the right balance of personal and professional exchange. An ideal mentorship program is only successful when the mentee grows as an individual with high regard for human values and knowledge in their respective spheres. A mentor is exposed to different perspectives, which would help them polish their mentoring skills.

Let us look at some mentor-mentee relationship stories.

  1.  The On Switch 

The On Switch is a digital marketing agency set up back in 2013. The firm indulges in bright and timeless marketing strategies bound to blow the caps off everyone who comes across it.  

The mentor-mentee success story is centered around Nancy A. Shenker, the CEO and Co-Founder of The On Switch, a well-established personality in the world of digital marketing. She is known to break the conventional rules of marketing to leave a mark on her consumers. Contrary to mentors who are generally older individuals, Nancy's mentor, Jim D'Arcangelo, was six years younger and helped her with content strategy and marketing tech.   

Shenkar recounts her stint as a mentee and says D'Arcangelo was tough but fair. While Shenkar was writing her book 'Embrace the Machine: 111 Ways AI Will Change Your Marketing Job', she was adamant that the book was ready for publication despite reservations on her mentor D'Arcangelo who thought that it required more work. Despite her stubbornness, she worked on it, and she even mentions that the book did turn out better since she was pushed to tweak it here and there.

Nancy Shenkar stands by the golden rule, "You're never too old to be mentored," and even today seeks out help and advice from mentors regardless of their age.

  1. The Queen of All Media

Recently dubbed the 'Queen of all Media,' and rightly so, Oprah Winfrey is ever thankful to her mentor – Maya Angelou. Their relationship began in the 1970s when Winfrey was a reporter and interviewed the celebrated poet and author. They later reconnected a decade later and continued to remain in touch.

Oprah describes Angelou as a 'mentor-mother-sister-friend.' While speaking to Angelou on her book 'Why Caged Birds Sing,' Oprah had finally felt that she could relate with someone and had experienced what it felt for her experiences to be validated. Angelou gave her advice that changed her approach to her life and career. Oprah once asked Angelou what she would say to a younger version of herself, and Angelou said, "I would encourage her to forgive. It's one of the greatest gifts you can give yourself, to forgive. Forgive everybody."   

Oprah once said, "She was there for me always, guiding me through some of the most important years of my life. Mentors are important, and I don't think anybody makes it in the world without some form of mentorship."

As mentioned before, a dedicated mentorship is when a person evolves as a person and develops a close personal relationship with their mentors.

There are many other stories other than the ones mentioned above. Mark Zuckerberg, the founder of Facebook, was mentored by the late great Steve Jobs, the creator of Apple. They often met and discussed management styles, employee interactions, and best growth strategies on both personal on professional scales. When Jobs passed away, Zuckerberg posted, "Steve, thank you for being a mentor and a friend. Thanks for showing that what you build can change the world. I will miss you."

Bill Gates, one of the most influential and revered men of all times, was mentored by American business magnate Warren Buffet. The world-famous abstract expression artist Jason Pollock's mentor was a muralist - Thomas Hart Benton. Both of them had startlingly different approaches to art, yet Pollock heavily influenced and inspired Benton. 

As they commonly say, behind every success story is a beautiful mentor-mentee relationship. Across the board, all the mentors and mentees have different and diverse career paths. These examples are enough to point out that mentoring is more of advice and guidance supporting a person's visions and goals rather than minting out career advice. A mentee-mentor relationship is nothing less symbiotic. Every individual could benefit from mentoring.


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