Honoring the lessons from my mentor, Tony Moises
Having expertise to share doesn’t automatically make you a great mentor. Being a great mentor requires three things: committing to the mentor-mentee relationship with consistency, giving your full attention, and allowing the mentor-mentee relationship to evolve. By doing these three things, you can guide your mentee and create a lasting impact on them.
I headed down to Monterey earlier this week to celebrate the life of a dear mentor, Tony Moises. Tony was a mentor during my college years who coached me on how to interview and present myself with poise, which has paid dividends throughout my career as I’ve looked for jobs and spoken at conferences. He’s had a tremendous impact on my life - and not just by teaching me public speaking skills - but also by demonstrating to me a blueprint for how to be a great mentor.
Here’s how Tony showed me these three lessons:
Commit to the mentor-mentee relationship with consistency
Tony showed up on time and prepared, every week without fail. He brought out his stopwatch to run drills with me. He printed binders of material for me to review, so that I would be prepared to speak to any topic that was thrown my way. He drove hundreds of miles from his home in Monterey to meet with me at Stanford and his other mentees around the Bay Area. The sheer amount of effort that Tony put in made him all the more amazing because he coached me as a volunteer whereas, now as a parent, I have to stifle my internal grumbling when I drive my son to a basketball tournament that is more than an hour away. Tony didn’t treat his volunteer commitment any differently than if it was a paid gig. Every week, Tony was committed and consistent.
Give your full attention to your mentee
Tony was always happy to meet with me. Never once did he show up grumpy, distracted, or cross. He listened to my stories attentively with joy, even though I was in college so I probably had some pretty dumb stories. In today’s day and age, it’s hard to put your screens away. It takes a lot of effort to maintain full attention for more than a few minutes, but give it a try. Twenty years later, I still remember how the power of Tony’s full attention made me feel like I could do anything.
Allow the mentor-mentee relationship to evolve
As I transitioned from a college student to a working professional, my relationship with Tony began to mature into one of peers. And that’s the final important lesson - just because someone starts out as your mentee, that doesn’t mean that you have to be frozen as mentor and mentee forever. If the relationship wants to become a relationship of peers, equals, or even drifts apart, allow the relationship to go where it should naturally go.
I’m thankful that I had the opportunity to learn about public speaking and mentorship from Tony. He made an impact on me that has helped shape who I am today. I’ll miss you, Tony, but I hope that you’re up there enjoying cigars and a cocktail, while cheering on the San Francisco Giants!
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