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The Power of a Mentor

By Deborah J. Sparks

A milestone happened recently. My mentor and close friend of almost 30 years, Ross Christie, retired after a long and distinguished career.

As I looked back over the years, I realized what an impact he had on my life, both personally and professionally.

There are many types of mentors - business, educational, personal - and the relationship may be a formal one, or one that simply develops naturally over time. The simplest definition I could find is from the Merriam-Webster dictionary - "a trusted counselor or guide".

No matter who you are in the business world, a mentor can have a huge impact on your success. Whether or not they make it known, most high-powered business people have benefited from a trusted advisor and recognize the value of having a mentor or coach.

Great mentors usually share certain characteristics - they are someone you can trust, talk to openly, have your success in mind, are not just willing but eager to share their experience and knowledge, and are successful business people themselves. They also bring objectivity and a different perspective to the table.

Ross certainly possesses all of these qualities. He was one of the most successful business people I know and was the ultimate example of leadership in action.

In terms of his own company, Ross went from being hired as president of Unique Personnel Inc. back in the early 80s, to partner by the mid 80s, to owner in 1990. He had the vision, dedication and smarts to grow Unique from a floundering business into the biggest and most respected transportation personnel supplier in Canada, with over 900 full-time employees from Vancouver to Halifax.

Ross was also a builder. He didn't just build his business - he also helped build the trucking industry that surrounded his company. He was instrumental in many areas, including helping to set standards that were key factors in the growth and success of the industry.

Ross has also been known for his generosity in sharing his knowledge and wisdom, something which I experienced first-hand many years ago when I shared my vision of building my own business. He believed in me and supported me every step of the way. I could bounce ideas off of him, turn to him for advice and could always count on him to give me sound, honest and objective counsel.

So, I would ask you. If you consider yourself an established business veteran, have you considered the rewards of mentoring, either on a personal or professional level?

Or, if you're at an earlier stage in your career, have you considered the benefits of seeking out a mentor?

Through my experience with Ross, I have come to understand the power of believing in and supporting others. In my case, I enjoy sharing what I have learned as being a small business owner with others in the same position, especially those who are just starting out.

On a corporate level, DJH Training & Application Solutions Inc.'s mission of providing high-quality and pertinent computer software training and professional application development and support services provides another piece of the puzzle in helping our clients achieve their goals, so if we can be of service to you in either of these areas, please don't hesitate to contact us.

Not only is it a pleasure, it's a small way of saying, "Thank you, Ross".

Happy retirement!



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© 2009 DJH Training & Application Solutions Inc.

WOULD YOU LIKE TO USE THIS ARTICLE IN YOUR NEWSLETTER, EZINE OR WEB SITE? You can, as long as you include this complete blurb with it: An entrepreneur at heart, Deborah J. Sparks established DJH Training & Application Solutions Inc. over 20 years ago, realizing her dream of creating a company known for providing high quality computer software training, application development and support and exercising her passion for teaching. To learn more and to register for DJH's free newsletter, Innovations, please visit www.djhsolutions.ca.