6 Successful Entrepreneurs on the Mentors Who Inspired Them
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Today’s Question: Who was the best mentor you ever had? What made them such a great mentor?
The answers below are provided by members of FounderSociety, an invitation-only organization comprised of ambitious startup founders and business owners.
1. My College Professor
My college professor was probably my greatest mentor because he was extremely patient with me. My mentor only advised me and did not criticize any of my choices. Instead, he worked to support my decisions. This helped boost my confidence and allowed me to make mistakes when I needed to.
— Ajmal Saleem, Suprex Learning
2. A Former Coworker
The best mentor I ever had was a woman I met when I started working at Microsoft back in 2001 or 2002. We initially just clicked in many ways – we built our chemistry on fashionable shoes (being fashionable was a rare trait in a tech company, especially in those days) and just being a good ear for one another. It’s been almost 15 years, and she’s continued to be an ear, mentor, friend, advisor, and even an investor in my startup. What made her a great mentor was the confidence and trust that she always had my back no matter what and that she was looking out for my personal well-being.
— Arry Yu, GiftStarter.com
3. My Tennis Coach
This may sound crazy to some – especially to people who don’t play sports – but my tennis coach taught me more about life than anyone I can remember. He used to tell us “Can’t never did anything” and “Woulda, coulda, shoulda” when we would complain about something. It never dawned on me until much later — like, 15 years later — that he wasn’t only talking about tennis.
— Ben Walker, Transcription Outsourcing, LLC
4. My Peers
I view the business owners I’ve crossed paths with along the last five or so years as mentors. Whatever industry they operate in, they’re going or have gone through many of the same hurdles as I face. I’ve learned from many of them along the way. As Jim Rohn says, “We are the average of the five people we spend the most time with.” Choose wisely.
— Angela Delmedico, Elev8 Consulting Group
5. An Industry Influencer
I worked with Dr. Frank L.Douglas, Ph.D., M.D., who had been the global head of R&D at a large pharmaceutical company. He was also involved with entrepreneurship at MIT and The Kauffman Foundation. His insight into the systemic and individual determinants of entrepreneurship was unparalleled. He gave me the full scope to actualize my vision. That is how you empower people.
— Vivek Narayan, GorMonjee Inc.
6. My Colleague
Several years ago, I joined the board of a nonprofit that teaches kids life lessons and encourages difficult conversations. Its CEO and I quickly became friends. She taught me how to validate the emotions I felt in business relationships and use that intuition to my advantage. Instead of reacting to people and situations, I’ve learned how to respond with mindful intention.
— Tony Banta, Live Mercury, Inc.