Support and Mentoring: Essential Skills for Meeting Profs

Three things converged to “make me” want to write this blog post on mentoring and support.

1. My friend, and longtime mentor, Bill DeLoache (currently GM at the DoubleTree Gateway in Charlotte, N.C.) sent me a book—“The Boys in the Boat”—that moved me in surprising ways.

Bill, who rows and has crewed, had a great interest in the book about the 1936 U.S. Olympic rowing team (You might remember that 1936 Olympics was held in Berlin and it was at that Olympics where Adolph Hitler presided and where Jesse Owens among other Americans won). Bill knew that I’d find the interwoven story of Hitler’s Germany and the Holocaust of interest. I think he'll be surprised at my great love of the story and the individuals about whom it's written.

2. My high school reunion is this weekend. Another school, in the suburbs of where I grew up (in Dayton, Ohio) is having theirs this same weekend. Many of the students who attended there grew up in the same grade school neighborhoods and then moved to the suburbs for high school.

In a post about getting together, they said that my class was not as organized as theirs! That many years later, rivalry still exists!

3. Last week I spoke in New York City for the PCMA Chapter about risk management and contingency planning. Two days before the program, a woman I’d met at PCMA in Boston a few years ago sent me a note saying she’d love to attend, but it was sold out. I said “Come—be my guest—tell them I won’t eat lunch.” I knew she was new to New York and was job hunting. What better help could I give her than giving her access to a room of nearly 100 meeting professionals?

Here’s what you can do and learn from the above anecdotes:

1. Read the book. I hate competition and cringe when I watch a sport and know that when the media show the “losing” team, I’ll feel upset that someone had to not win. Sure competition with themselves and against other teams and bodies of water, an even-then corrupt Olympic body, and a system that pulled against them, is part of the story of this rowing team and how they came together.

What I took away was how they supported each other and how their state—Washington, which, in the '30s was considered the hinterlands!—worked to support them. Choose to read this in a way that inspires you to support others who may never reach out for support and who you know need it.

2. Enough of the rivalry already! Our industry suffers because we don’t pull [word intended] together to explain who we are and what we do and why it’s critical.

(See last week’s Friday with Joan and upcoming posts about industry advocacy).

3. Go out of your way to help a colleague and do it because it’s the right thing to do. I’m not suggesting giving away your knowledge or doing other’s work. That’s not mentoring.

Here are some valuable links on mentoring millennials from Harvard Business Review.

There are many different ways of mentoring and offering support, and it’s not as difficult as it sounds. Once started, you’ll find it to be a valuable part of your career, and you might learn something from the experience too, or at least get a fresh perspective!

Like all my blogs and additional content, the views expressed are my own and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Meetings Today or its parent company.

Posted by Joan L. Eisenstodt

Follow Joan on Twitter: @joaneisenstodt

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