June was an exciting month for the Over My Shoulder Foundation, the non-profit that I  co-founded, with Dawn Carroll to help inspire more people to mentor others.

Ted Fujimoto of The Right to Succeed Foundation, Patti Austin, Stephen Powell of Mentoring USA, Governor Michael Dukakis, Attorney Rick Dyer, and Gary Greenberg of GreenbergTraurig.

First, the foundation held a stellar evening at Boston’s Liberty Hotel for more than 300 people where we honored Governor Michael Dukakis, opened the call for entries for the Mentors in Design Award (also called The MIDDIES), and celebrated the 20th anniversary of Cumar Marble & Granite. It was a tremendous evening that we called “Designing the Next Generation.”

One of my favorite things about the Over My Shoulder Foundation is that I am both mentor AND mentee everday. My partner in this mentoring mission, Dawn Carroll is also an award winning stone designer: Her company Cumar Marble and Granite works with the finest architects, builders and interior designers world wide. Every time I am in Boston I get to meet and work with all these amazing interior designers and the graciously mentor me so that I can finally fulfill a life–long, passionate dream of Interior Design.

Dawn Carroll, Patti Austin, and Carlotta Cubi of Cumar Marble & Granite

The night after the Liberty Hotel event, designer Leslie Fine of Leslie Fine Interiors,  held a smaller gathering at the stunning Poggenpohl  showroom on Boston’s Newbury Street. If you’ve never been to Newbury Street, it is a mile-long stretch in the Back Bay neighborhood that has loads of great clothing shops, restaurants, art galleries, and shops. It’s one of those places you could easily spend a whole day…or more!

Poggenpohl and their amazing designer (my other dynamic mentoring friend) Rosemary Porto, create sleek, contemporary kitchens for their clients. They are based in Germany, but their Boston location is at 135 Newbury Street and they have showrooms and dealers across the US. The showroom was filled with beautiful guests and was a perfect location for a cozy “mentor-centric” event.  I was able to meet many new friends and talk to everyone about life, mentoring, Designing the Next Generation….and we enjoyed some delicious food.

Executive Chef Kurt von Kahle, Attorney David Fine, and Susan Benjamin.

One of my other great passions is cooking and I got to cook mouth-watering delights along with Executive Chef Kurt von Kahle. This entire night was organized by my friends, my mentors Leslie Fine, Rosemary Porto and Dawn Carroll.

The special evening brought together people from a wide variety of industries and  for me, it reinforces the whole idea of mentoring and how much we need each other, because you learn so much, but sometimes I think we take it for granted how much each of us knows that you can share with others to help future generations.

Jessica Theiss of Baypoint Builders, Patti Austin, and Jim Catlin of Herrick and White

We want the Over My Shoulder Foundation to inspire more people to mentor…across generation and across cultures. With an increase of people’s interdependency, the foundation hopes to foster respect, diversity, culture, and individuality.

TR Productions put together a terrific, four and a half minute video about the evening. You can see that on YouTube. –Patti Austin

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