Mentorship vs. A Personal Board of Directors

Image Courtesty of Flickr Creative Commons

“Like avocado appliances and Friendster, mentoring is well and truly over,” wrote one of my favorite young bloggers, “Entry-level Rebel” Jessica Stillman.  If so, where would young professionals find the all-important connections and guidance traditionally cultivated in the mentor relationship?

Instead of identifying with one mentor, which can be counterproductive, she writes, young people should embrace a personal board of directors, “a group of people you consult regularly to get advice and feedback.”

Call it mentor promiscuity, but I have embraced a slew of mentors myself, realizing upon reading Jessica’s post that I had created my own personal board of directors. There are the Academics from college–the Composer and the Ethnomusicologist–and, more recently, the Nonprofit Executive-Thought Leader, the Artist-Entrepreneur, and the Leadership Guru who happened to offer professional coaching services to those of us listening to Rosetta Thurman‘s radio show.

Indeed, these folks have provided insight and opened doors for me during my unfolding Gap Year. Each is generous and each offers at different times a particular expertise and set of resources. Though I feel I receive much more than I give, I appreciate and understand how these relationships help me to see my path and to move forward. I diligently cultivate and maintain these relationships through emails, hand-written notes and initiating meetings over coffee.

Cheers to the generosity of mentors everywhere and to the members of my so-called personal board of directors!

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