We Asked, You Answered: Mentors You Admire

We all have bosses, but over the course of a career only a few people stand out as taking a special investment in teaching, growing, and advancing the professional lives of others. Hear from association pros who were lucky enough to have mentors that did just that.

Great mentors share an array of characteristics, such as a willingness to empower employees and mentees to develop their own strengths and leadership attributes.

We asked our audience about mentors they admire. Read on to find out what makes a great mentor in the association industry.

Racquel Codling

Director, Meetings & Sales, American Moving & Storage Association

The leader that I admire is Mike Keaton, the current director of communications at the National League of Nursing. He was my former boss—the senior director at the American Moving & Storage Association. What I admired about Mike is that he was fair in his decision-making. He never engaged in favoritism within our department and in the association. He was an honest, transparent, and caring boss who was well-trusted by all. He was the go-to person to get an unbiased opinion about any issue within the organization. He was also able to recognize when he was wrong. All of the above characteristics are rare in today’s leaders.

Annie Storey, CAE

Senior Manager, Chapter and District Relations, American Academy of Pediatrics

In college, I came across a sign for a work-study program through the American Red Cross (ARC). It was my first introduction to a national organization with local impact. Tammy Lee was instrumental in my career path, but more importantly, at age 18, she taught me about humility, taking risks, and serving the community. No job is too small for anyone, from dressing up as Scrubby Bear for kindergarten classes, to meeting summer camps in the park and teaching them first aid. If we were needed, we went with no complaints.

I’ve had to use my life-saving skills with choking victims twice now, and I credit her for all of the training she gave me, as well as believing that I could train others. Working for ARC set me on my path in association management and ingrained in me the importance of teaching to prevent issues as well as being prepared to run toward the crisis to help. Tammy is still with ARC, as the executive director of the Greater Northwest Iowa Area.

Christina Martin

Director, Membership Forums, American Society of Health-System Pharmacists

I admire my mentor and friend, Beverly Black, CAE. She coached me through the transition from pharmacy practice to association management, so that within the first 30 days, I was not only an ASAE member but also connected with the young professionals community. Beverly is professional, poised, and positive in her interactions with peers and volunteers––characteristics that I admire. She navigates challenging situations gracefully and has been willing to reflect on these challenges as learning pearls with me. Finally, I admire her association wisdom as she’s mentoring me to prepare for the December 2019 CAE exam. Most importantly, her laugh is infectious, and you can’t help but feel warmth and sincerity when spending time with Beverly!

Matt Cipriani

Knowledge Management and Member Engagement Manager, American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy

The leader I admire is the senior vice president of public affairs and engagement here at AACP, Lynette Bradley-Baker. I was fortunate to be hired by Lynette and report to her directly for the first year of my employment. She is by far the best supervisor I have ever had. Lynette is clear in her direction, attentive, caring, extremely smart and funny, and makes me feel like a colleague rather than just another worker. Lynette has a way of exhibiting strength and authority without making others feel small or less important. That is an extremely important quality in a good leader. She is always there to listen and understands that sometimes life just gets in the way.

Callie Walker

MemberClicks, Senior Inbound Marketing Specialist

I greatly admire our president and CEO, Mark Sedgley. He lives out servant leadership better than anyone I’ve ever seen. He puts employees first and empowers us to do our jobs to the best of our ability. Not only that, but he’s incredibly transparent, giving us frequent updates about where the company is headed and changes we can expect to see down the road—something not all leaders would be open to. Again, that just shows he trusts us and cares about our happiness. Oh, and did I mention that just about every morning he walks around the entire office, telling every employee “Good morning”? As a CEO, he’s incredibly busy, but the fact that he takes the time to do that says a lot. Having a leader that cares about you, trusts you, and believes in you makes me, personally, want to go the extra mile.

(RyanKing999/iStock/Getty Images Plus)

Raegan Johnson

By Raegan Johnson

Raegan Johnson is a contributor to Associations Now. MORE

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