The most important part of being a mentor is to simply be available.

We’ve already shared some helpful tips for how to be an effective mentor. Part of building a strong mentor-mentee relationship is to establish your goals and expectations of the relationship up front. All too often, mentoring relationships begin on the right foot and fall apart over time due to a lack of commitment by either party. For this reason, we wanted to offer some tips on how to maintain the mentor-mentee relationship courtesy of Management Mentors:

  • Keep the communication channel open. As the mentor, you need to be responsive to your mentee’s emails, texts, and phone calls. If you establish upfront how often the two of you will be in communication, work hard to stick to your commitment.
  • Come up with fun and creative activities that the two of you can do together. For example, attending a trade show related to the industry that your mentee would like to work in could offer a beneficial learning experience.
  • Be reliable and consistent. This can help to build trust for the mentor-mentee relationship.
  • Take time to get to know each other. Showing an interest in your mentee and learning about what motivates and inspires him or her can lead to a successful, longterm mentor-mentee relationship.
  • Actively participate. Ask your mentee if you can observe him or her give a presentation or see what a typical day of work looks like.

To hear about some successful mentoring relationships and the positive impact that they have made, please be sure to check out the Over My Shoulder Foundation website.

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Dawn Carroll (right) has been Patti Austin’s (left) guiding light in her design goals.

In an effort to spread the message globally about the importance of mentoring, the Over My Shoulder Foundation founding members Patti Austin and Dawn Carroll went to Germany to attend the Leaders of Design Council Conference, which was held April 3-5, 2013, at the Hotel de Rome. The event was sponsored by CUMAR Marble and Granite, and the company in conjunction with the Over My Shoulder Foundation used this opportunity to share their collaborative mentoring mission known as “Designing the Next Generation” to inspire others in the industry to share their experiences and knowledge with the rising generation of designers.

CUMAR is a natural fit to sponsor the event, as the company attributes its eight generations of leadership to embracing mentoring within the company. Dawn Carroll is an award-winning stone designer at CUMAR and has benefited from learning special craftsmanship that has been passed down to her from mentors within the company. Today Dawn serves at Patti Austin’s guiding light, helping her to make the transition from a successful music career to her dream of becoming an interior designer. Both women have been positively impacted by strong mentoring relationships in their lives and, therefore, want to encourage others within the design community to assist with “Designing the Next Generation”.

Prior to the Leaders of Design Council Conference in Germany, the two women had a speaking engagement at the Design Bloggers Conference in L.A. regarding their passion for the mentor-mentee relationship. They were also recently recognized by the American Society of Interior Decorators with an Excellence in Design Award in Boston.

For more information about the Over My Shoulder Foundation and our mission of “Designing the Next Generation”, please contact us today.


Mentor mentee relationships are good for all parties involved. Get more info with these resources.

A successful mentoring relationship can make a positive impact for both the mentor and mentee involved. Whether you would like to share your wisdom and experience with the younger generation or are looking for some guidance for both professional and personal growth, mentoring can provide the ideal solution. If you’re not sure where to get started, we wanted to share some local organizations that offer mentoring in Boston:

At the Over My Shoulder Foundation, we want to spread the word about the power of mentorship both cross-culturally and cross-generationally. Through our unique approach of offering entertainment-driven events and products, we will share how the art of mentoring, otherwise known as “Mentorology”, can lead to positive outcomes in the lives of all of those involved in the process. For more information about how you can become involved with mentoring in Boston, please contact us today.

Image Source: srharris


[box]Water…Light…We think about them infrequently at best. Maybe when the power goes out and we’re thirsty or when we are fortunate enough to behold a marvelous sunset that bathes the ocean or the city skyscrapers after a rain in such a lovely bevy of colors it is impossible to overlook the splendor of the sun.

Now think of the way you first saw the water and the light through the eyes of someone who taught you to really truly look and see the magic in the world around you. That teacher is your mentor, someone who figures out how to really truly see and in doing so makes your path clear. We’ve found a mentor for you today and we’re so excited to present a mentoring interview with Jeff Hornbaker.

Jeff Hornbaker is a gifted photographer who’s been traveling the world for 35+ years perfecting his art. His talent for capturing images of the world can teach you how to look in such a magnificent, new and unfathomable way that you will swear after that he MENTORED you to see the best of what the earth has to offer.

Happy Earth Day, Readers

-Dawn Carroll, Over My Shoulder Foundation[/box]

Hi Jeff, thanks for joining Over My Shoulder Foundation this morning to talk about your life, your art and your ideas about mentoring. It seemed that surfing was the first key that opened up the door for your photography to become your career. Can you tell us a little bit about your life as it relates to surfing?

I started to surf when I was thirteen years old. The feeling of movement by the ocean was one that I had never felt before, it didn’t come from gravity, where you are descending down a hill, it was more like a glide, a slide, free  with no resistance. I guess when you are thirteen it is all about the fun but little did I know at the time it was really all about my life. Since that time my work, my relationships and my life’s lessons have all been an extension of my involvement with water. I would encourage everyone to feel the energy of a wave, you don’t have to have a surfboard to start, just let the water move you around. There is not another feeling like it.

Photography by Jeff Hornbaker

You urge your audience to “Look Within” and hope to inspire that introspection with your photography. Do you think that this advice is beneficial to all people at all stages of life, in all career paths and avocations?

I actually am not intending to give anyone advice, that would be assuming I definitely know something.

When we think of the term ‘Look’, it is usually at something or someone beyond ourselves. It is a reflection of light hitting an object, or light emanating from an object. But if we see ourselves as that reflection to others, then there is something significant to learn within ourselves. You don’t always have to look out the window on a snowy morning to feel the warmth of the sun within your body. Does this make any sense?


That makes so much sense to us, Jeff, especially after seeing your film Globus. It’s called a “gift from the heart” on the cover. At Over My Shoulder Foundation we believe that when an individual is truly involved in the process of Mentorology (the art and science of mentoring) that they do actually offer a bit of their heart, as well as their mind, into the relationship.

With the gift of mentoring we see an offering from the mentor to the mentee, a gateway into the path of their craft, their trade, their art. When did the idea of this film as your ‘heart gift’ come about? And, who is the gift for?

‘Globus the meaning of light ‘ is a gift from the heart. The heart of mother earth, the heart of mother ocean, and the one heart that is the source of all life.

The film came about serendipitously simply from the observations of the beauty of this world, and all things in it. All life is pretty much magic if you take the time to actually watch it unfold before you. My craft is documenting what I see in a somewhat simple manner through moving or still images.

The offering you speak of is really sharing the truth and beauty of what we experience with others if they wish to view it. The element that I would add that may separate Globus apart from most modern day films is that the only intention underlying its coming to be was to create a visual celebration of life in all forms expressed through the power of sound and vision.  It was an honor to be involved in this process, it was a gift by default to me, I would hope others see it as a gift as well.


The Inside Poster for Jeff’s Film ‘Globus’

By referencing quotes from great thinkers and mystics such as Chief Seattle and Hermes Trismegistes in Globus, you make it clear that influences from the past impact your life and your work. At the risk of sounding trite, can you share a favorite quote that has mentored you in your path to greatness?

There are many words of wisdom that have transcended through the ages by mystics, sages and wise men.

For every written quote there are probably thousands of profound thoughts that went undocumented. The thing is, we all have the power of the wisdom of the ancients within us. Some of the most honest words come from the mouth of a child. To answer your question though, whenever I become so consumed or overwhelmed with  ‘stuff ‘ in my head and try to plan the future,  I think of John Lennon’s quote…”Life is what happens to you while you are busy making other plans”…  Then there is the ultimate quote that could set you free but is most difficult to grasp…”Love is all there is”.”


Jeff, you also do commercial photography. While you are still practicing your craft, we can’t help but think that this aspect of your work is not so much a labor of love, but a labor for bread. Are you able to bring the same passion you channeled for Globus into your commercial photography work?

I have been blessed with working in the elements of nature for my entire life. It was a decision that was probably brought on at first by a selfish drive to indulge in surf, sun, new cultures, travel and more.

Photography by Jeff Hornbaker

My work has never been a ‘labor’ of anything. If  what you do seems to be effortless, I find it usually means you are doing what you are meant to be. Sure, bags are heavy, hikes are long, and you may work long beyond what you have to, but that is all choice, it is your passion.

What I do find difficult more nowadays in the commercial realm is to find like minds in a community that have a desire to create a message, a product etc. that is beyond the dynamic of pure profit or self- recognition. I am sure there are those of you out there, it’s just that sometimes I feel a bit alien for not wanting to twitter or facebook everything or for that matter… anything I do.  I believe in a world where actions speak louder than words.


We heard a rumor that your grandmother’s love for photography inspired you in the beginning of your journey. Can you tell us about that?

My parents took our family along with my grandparents to Hawaii when I was eleven, it was the first time my grandfather had ever been on an airplane. Coming from a humble background, and one of the most appreciative people I have ever met, my grandmother had one expense she would allow herself…. box brownie film. My father, knowing how much she loved taking pictures said when we got our car from the airport “Jessie, whenever you want to take a picture…just holler and we will stop.” I think that we went about fifteen miles down the road the first day!


Now, for me who has absolutely no photographic training or expertise…I can’t fully experience the loveliness of a moment or a vista if I am looking at it through a lens. Are there times when you still experience that raw beauty without your camera? Or, do you say to yourself, ‘Gosh, I wish I had my lens’? 

It now depends on the subject matter. If what I am experiencing is something I am familiar with, I will wait for the defining moment to become involved visually. However, if something is totally new to me, a challenge ensues and I go straight into exploring with a film or still camera and the deeper I go the more I become involved with what I am focused on. This way of interacting is kind of an extension of my senses, almost like sending a hunting dog out in front of you to find what you are searching for.


Do you have any final words of mentoring advice you’d like to share with us?

Again, I do not consider myself to know anything more than the next person who has lived a life rich with experience and blessings. I do, however, hope that my work emanates a sense of appreciation, of reverence, of wonder and peace reflecting how beautiful life truly is. If  ‘one ‘ could be always present, to see the magic in every living thing and let life serendipitously unfold her beauty before us, and witness this in every moment … the positive force created could not help  but flow outwards to others.

Jeff Hornbaker

We want to make sure our readers know about another positive force that Jeff is creating. He co-founded Water Rights with Virginie Miramon. Last year Jeff and Virginie established Water Rights as a stock photo agency focusing on images of water. Besides curating photographic collections, helping art buyers find images right away and making their search easier, Water Rights hopes to raise awareness about the importance of water in our daily rights. Jeff, thank you so much for the work you do and for sharing your time with us today.
I should thank you in return. Your organization is the one devoting your time to enrich and inspire the minds of others.

[box]If you like Over My Shoulder Foundation, please SHARE your mentoring stories, consider donating to our non-profit and don’t forget to follow Over My Shoulder Foundation on Facebook too.[/box]


Dawn Carroll knows first hand the benefits of mentoring relationships.


One of the most effective ways to cultivate a work environment that boosts employee morale, encourages growth, and builds loyalty is to offer a mentoring program within the organization.  An excellent example of a company that does this extremely well is Boston’s own CUMAR Marble & Granite. By taking a genuine interest in their employees and helping to guide them to achieve their career aspirations, CUMAR has been growing strong for the past eight generations.

Dawn Carroll, an award-winning stone designer at CUMAR and a founding member of the Over My Shoulder Foundation, partnered with Design New England to sponsor the MIDDIES (Mentors In Design). Each year, this awards ceremony recognizes design professionals that have offered profound wisdom to the next generation. Valuing the concept of employee mentoring, it was a natural fit for CUMAR to be a part of these awards.

CUMAR shows its passion for employee mentoring in other ways as well. In honor of “Thank Your Mentor Day“, CUMAR recently hosted a reception that was filled with powerful mentoring stories shared by several members of the design community. In an effort to thank all of her new and former mentors along the way, Grammy Award winner Patti Austin offered a $10,000 scholarship to her mentee, Santana Roberts. While she has had a very successful career in music, Patti is now benefiting from the help of mentors in the design world as she grows in her career as an interior designer.

To learn more about the positive impact that mentorship can have both cross-generationally and cross-culturally, please keep visiting  Over My Shoulder Foundation online.


[box]If you like Over My Shoulder Foundation, please SHARE your mentoring stories, consider donating to our non-profit and don’t forget to follow Over My Shoulder Foundation on Facebook too.[/box]


It can be hard to get the conversation started. Use our tips.

Sometimes the idea of mentoring relationship can be intimidating, whether you are the mentor or the mentee. To help break the ice and ease into this relationship, we wanted to share some helpful tips for how to talk to a mentee, courtesy of the Center for Mentoring Excellence:

Just as you would with any other relationship, begin the conversation by warming up and building trust
. Ideally, you will want to make yourself familiar with your mentee’s background before the initial meeting, as this will help the two of you to find commonalities. Taking the time to first warm up the conversation will make the whole concept of a mentor/mentee relationship less rigid.

After the two of you have connected on common interests, here are some helpful questions that will help aid you on how to talk to a mentee to be most effective in your role:

  1. What are you passionate about?
  2. What values do you live your life by?
  3. What are some life experiences that have made the biggest impact on you?
  4. What would you say your strongest quality is?
  5. What are some unique skills and capabilities that set you apart from everyone else?

Most importantly, you need to actively listen to your mentee’s responses to these questions. Your eye contact and body language will communicate that you truly care about helping your mentee achieve his or her goals. Make a mental note of feelings of confusion or frustration from your mentee, and do not interrupt him or her unless it is completely necessary.

For more information about the powerful impact that a mentoring relationship can have, please contact us at the Over My Shoulder Foundation.

© Duey | Dreamstime Stock Photos & Stock Free Images

Our mission at the Over My Shoulder Foundation is to spread the word on the power of mentoring, both cross-culturally and cross-generationally. Unfortunately, the art of mentoring is not embraced enough, which typically affects the younger generation. We all have useful skills and experiences to pass along to others that could prove to be extremely beneficial in guiding a young person in his or her career path or personal development.


Dawn Caroll and Patti Austin want to show you the power of mentoring.

Whether you have been asked to be a mentor or would like to see a younger person reach his or her highest potential, here are five ways on how to be an effective mentor:

  1. Know what your “super power” is and use your skill to teach others. By leveraging your expertise in a particular area, you can offer your knowledge and skills to others, without being condescending.
  2. Be respectful of others’ time. While your time is very important and often limited, the same is true for others that you are mentoring as well. Arrive for meetings on time. Share your wisdom, but be careful to not monopolize the conversation.
  3. It’s not just about you. Your goal as a mentor is to help others. By listening to what they need and guiding them along the way, it can be a very rewarding process for you as well.
  4. Introduce influencers that can positively impact the person you are mentoring. We have all benefited along the way from being introduced to a center of influence in our industries.
  5. Check in regularly. All too often a mentoring relationship is established, but several months go by between conversations. If you can’t meet in person, try using Skype or FaceTime.

What advice do you have for how to be an effective mentor?



Don’t let money stop you from achieving your dreams. Look up these interior design scholarships.

If your lifelong dream is to become an interior designer, don’t let your finances stand in the way. There are a number of scholarship programs available to aspiring interior designers, and we wanted to make you aware of four interior design scholarships that are currently accepting applications:

  1. American Society of Interior Designers: Interior design students and design professionals are invited to apply for five awards and scholarships that total $23,000 in funding. The deadline for this application is April 15, 2013.
  2. International Furnishings and Design Association: Undergraduate students majoring in interior design or a related design/furnishing program are eligible to apply for six different scholarships ranging from $1,500 to $3,000.
  3. International Interior Design Association: The following chapters have set aside funds to financially assist students pursing an interior design degree: Georgia, Northern Pacific, Northland, Oregon, Rocky Mountain, Southern California, Texas Oklahoma, and Wisconsin. To learn more about the scholarships available, please contact Dennis Krause, Senior Vice President of IIDA.
  4. Design Sponge: This organization is offering a total of $10,500 in awards for artists and designers. Anyone who is currently enrolled in high school is welcome to apply, and undergraduate and graduate art/design students are eligible as well.

As you begin your journey to becoming an interior designer, finding a mentor that is already in the field can help you tremendously to reach your goal. To learn more about the power of mentoring and how these relationships have been beneficial for others, please visit the webpage for the Over My Shoulder Foundation.

If you have been the recipient of an award or scholarship in the past, what advice can you offer to those who are currently applying for interior design scholarships?

Image courtesy of




Nate Berkus will host NBC’s ‘Renovation Nation’.

For all of us HGTV addicts, we will soon have a new source for home improvement entertainment: NBC’s Renovation Nation. This brand-new series has yet to set a premier date, but will consist of 10 episodes hosted by interior and product designer Nate Berkus. The series will feature a home makeover competition between builders and designers for a huge cash prize, and the final episode will determine who will be crowned King of Renovation Nation. The show will engage the audience, as America will be the judge of who stays and who goes. Also, two incredibly lucky viewers will be awarded with dream homes on the show’s finale!

Nate Berkus will not only host and serve as executive producer of the show, but will also guide the audience through the process while mentoring the show’s contestants from week to week. Just like the Over My Shoulder Foundation aims to aid in “designing the next generation” through the art of mentoring, Nate Berkus will play a valuable role for both the show’s contestants and audience in demonstrating his passion and experience when it comes to the world of design. The show will also help to empower homeowners to redesign their own spaces to add value and increase the quality of their lives.

As a protege of Oprah Winfrey, Nate Berkus embraces the power of mentorship and prides himself on sharing valuable skills and advice that he has learned along the way with those that can benefit from this knowledge.

Be sure to stay tuned for more information about this exciting new design series!

Image Source: BasilHaydenPR