Happy Mentoring Month! The beginning of each new year not only gives us a chance to set goals for the future, it also offers an opportunity to reflect on the past. We’re delighted to report that 2014 was a banner year here at the Over My Shoulder Foundation. Here are just a few highlights, from awards and events to media sponsorships and emotional mentorship stories.
Every year, millions of people around the globe make New Year’s resolutions to better their lives.
Some of the most common goals are to lose weight, quit smoking, get a new job, learn a second language, and save money. These are all perfectly worthwhile ambitions. But there’s another resolution that should be added to the top of your list: to become a better mentor.
January is National Mentoring Month in the United States, and that’s a perfect way to kick off each new year. It’s a reminder that everyone needs the support of their friends and loved ones to succeed, and that each of us can become a better mentor to the people in our lives.
Becoming a mentor doesn’t necessarily mean working with a charity (although there are many fantastic volunteer mentorship opportunities). It doesn’t require a long-term commitment. Coworkers, family members, and friends can all use the support of a mentor from time to time. Opportunities arise daily—as long as we’re looking for them—to lend support and guidance, to bolster the best parts of each other.
This year, commit yourself to a new New Year’s resolution. And stay on track by staying in touch:
· Check out the OMSF archive and subscribe to the blog
· Become a fan of OMSF on Facebook
· Contact us about sharing your own mentorship story!
[box]I get so excited when I discover a unique mentoring story, whether it’s in the form of a book, song, show or film. Today OMSF is thrilled to feature Kay Goldstein, author of Star Child. It’s a fabulous adult/YA book that takes us on a journey of Terra and Marius—two star children trying to fit in. It’s a story is about confidence and loneliness, fears and obsessions.
January is National Mentoring Month so we are particularly glad to have this tale, which uses mentoring to counter the alienation and negative feelings that diminish the possibility of hope. We all need more hope, and we all need a mentor. I’d like to thank Kay for taking the time to write this piece for the OMSF blog, and I hope you’ll buy a copy of her book!
—Dawn Carroll, OMSF Executive Director[/box]
As we begin the New Year and many of us think about making resolutions, I am reminded that all of us can use a little help achieving our goals. And one thing I learned from writing Star Child is that there is only one resolution that we really need: to be true to our selves. For if we know who we are and can nurture the very best and most unique parts of ourselves, then we will find a great satisfaction in our lives, our relationships, and our work. Any resolution that is not based in this truth is bound to fail, especially if it is designed just to please others.
The story of the star children offers inspiration as well as examples of how to get through difficult times, and how to realize one’s unique self. Both children recognized that they were different from the others. Both felt the pain of their “differentness,” even though they had caring adults and family around them. In fact, they were often pressured and even bullied to conform to the “norm.”
But each found a mentor who provided some special guidance. For Terra, it was the Ancient Mother; for Marius, it was the Baker: both appeared just when the characters most needed guidance. While different in their approaches and support, each provided similar assistance:
- They were non-judging—that is, they were accepting of the young man and woman. The goal was not to change them into something more socially acceptable, but to help them develop their unique abilities so that they could share them with others.
- They shared something of their own stories and experience, not all of which they were proud. In other words, they shared their common humanity.
- Each encouraged Terra and Marius to trust themselves and to seek what they most desired.
- Each had skills that they shared with Terra and Marius.
- And finally, both the Ancient Mother and The Baker had great wisdom that allowed them to intervene in the lives of their community and those they mentored at critical times. Neither expected Marius or Terra to follow exactly in their footsteps but allowed them to find their own way with their guidance and support.
As the author of this story, I felt those characters help me understand how to write a book that was true to my own voice and self. When faced with the task of editing the final version of the story, I often imagined what the Ancient Mother or the Baker or even Terra might want to do or say. They ended up being my mentors too. It was only when the book was published that I realized that I was learning, at a much older age, many of the same lessons that Terra and Marius had learned.
January is National Mentoring Month. If you seek support, guidance, and good examples—no matter what your age—then seek out a mentor! You’d be surprised: they sometimes appear only once you have decided you need one. And consider offering your own gifts and skills to those around you. Everyone will benefit!
[box] About the Author
Kay Goldstein is the author of Star Child (Vineyard Stories), a spiritual fairy tale for adults and young adults and recipient of a 2013 Nautilus Book Award, as well as A Book Of Feasts, Stories and Recipes from American Celebrations, a James Beard Award nominee. Kay was formerly an editor for Zagat Restaurant Guides and founder of award-winning Proof of the Pudding, Atlanta’s first gourmet takeout store/restaurant and catering business offering innovative American and fusion foods. She is married to Buck Goldstein and has two grown children, dividing her time between Chapel Hill, NC, and Martha’s Vineyard, MA.[/box]
Anne-Marie Slaughter, photo © PopTech
[box]When women are asked if they think they can “have it all,” many will say yes. A few usually say, maybe not. It’s still so hard for women to juggle high-pressure careers, family, mental health, friends, and hobbies. They have to stay emotionally stable, stay physically fit, nourish a marriage—oh yeah, then there’s soccer, gymnastics, hockey games…. Can you do it without a team of experts, a house manager, a Nanny, a stay-at-home dad? I personally side with those that say Nope! I could not do it—though maybe I could pretend. But inevitably, something would break. Something would be compromised. When I watch brave women trying to have it all, I can’t help but wonder…
Reading the now-infamous Atlantic article by Anne-Marie Slaughter, I was so relieved: here was a very successful woman admitting that there was a problem. I stopped feeling weak, stopped wondering if the grass really was greener. I asked today’s writer, Erica Korff, to give me her view because, when I was her age, there was no stopping me. I was determined to destroy the glass ceiling. Sliding comfortably into my 50s, I wonder whether I should have done things a little differently.
Join the conversation and let us know what you think!
—Dawn Carroll, Executive Director[/box]
“You’ve got the power.” It’s a simple motivational quote one hears throughout their lifetime. “You can be anything you want to be.” It’s what young adults today heard from their parents. But did every kid really grow up with these ubiquitous sayings?
Indra K. Nooyi, the CEO of PepsiCo, grew up in a family whose beliefs were rather different. Her experience shines light on the realities of women and the struggle for equality.
In an interview, Indra talked about her mother’s reaction to her becoming the CEO of Pepsi. One would think that such a high position would garner praise and celebration. “Let the news wait,” Indra’s mother said. “Can you go out and get some milk?” That was her reaction to this life-changing news. “Let me explain something to you,” her mother said. “You might be president of PepsiCo. You might be on the board of directors. But when you enter this house, you’re the wife, you’re the daughter, you’re the daughter-in-law, you’re the mother. You’re all of that. Nobody else can take that place. So leave that damned crown in the garage. And don’t bring it into the house. You know I’ve never seen that crown.”
When Indra was asked in a more recent interview if women can “have it all,” her response reflected her mother’s beliefs and perspective. “I don’t think women can have it all. I just don’t think so. We pretend we have it all. We pretend we can have it all.”
Indra went into further detail, explaining the challenges of balancing work with her personal life. To her way of thinking, one must choose what they are going to be at a certain time—a mother, a daughter, a wife, or a worker. One cannot be all of those things in a single moment. Perhaps this is true. But does it really mean that women can’t have it all?
“Having it all” may mean something different for each person, but that fact doesn’t mean it can’t be achieved. Indra’s mother told her that she never had a crown to take home—but Indra did have that crown. It’s a sign that the times are changing. Still, “having it all” does not necessarily mean taking on multiple roles at the same time. One chooses, as from a basket. In Indra’s basket were a husband, two daughters, and a rewarding job. Indra may have to pick and choose at times. But that doesn’t mean Indra hasn’t succeeded; it only means she picks one role at a time, depending on the moment. In the end, she carries them all together.
I decided to ask my mother if she thinks that women can have it all. She has been extremely successful in her career, acting as the Executive Sales Manager for New England Home Magazine. I asked whether she had a mentor. She said she did not. Despite that, her views on the question are rather positive.
“I think that women can have it all,” she said. “I think everyone’s definition can be different. I think having it all can be hopefully having a loving relationship, a family, a job, and friends, and making it all work. It’s harder for women because that’s just the way it is; men don’t have to have that added pressure of ‘Oh I have to take care of the kids,’ so it’s a lot on a woman. I do think women can have it all but it is challenging.”
Next I interviewed my great-grandmother, who turns 102 this September. She’s an amazing woman: intelligent, funny, and very with it. She became a widow at a young age, and had to support the family on her own. An extremely hard worker, she now writes stories to share her successes and accomplishments. When I asked her about having a mentor, and what she thought about women having it all, she told me:
“I had Rabbi Zigmond who sponsored me when I worked at Harvard years ago. He supported me and motivated me. Having a job and having a family are two separate loves. Women can raise a family and have a good job, because it’s not the same kind of love for the work and for the family, but they both can get along.”
The women in my family seem to believe that women can have it all, but they recognize the same difficulties that Indra Nooyi described. It may not be easy, and it may require balance and a plan—but if you believe in yourself and work hard, it can all work out. You’ve got the power!
This is the time of year when I flash back to 1975 and start singing “Summer Breeze” by Seals & Crofts non-stop. In the summer, I stock up on new books and music, searching for story-tellers with muscular, mind-blowing, mentor-centric tales to feature on the OMSF blog. Thanks to my wonderful boyfriend and his parents, Martha’s Vineyard has become my creative retreat. The island has its own natural philosophy, and the very first edict is to slow the &#^*@ down, soften up, and unburden yourself. The Vineyard has a way of tranquilizing even the busiest of minds.
Through the snarl of the city, against my workaholic inner voice, I curse and argue, knuckles white on the steering wheel, and aim my car towards the Cape. Once I sense the salt air and drive into the belly of the Vineyard ferry, my nerves start to unwind. On this road trip, the workaholic loses; my artsy self wins. When I reach the secluded island I am a world away—swapping my suit for shorts, my painful high-heels for sandals, unapologetically stripping in the front seat of my car. I’m ready to be surrounded by water, to lose myself on country roads, to sink my teeth into something freshly retrieved from the earth—to be mentored by this amazing earthy way of life. Sun, sand, and salt-spray release the tension in my over-worked mind. The ebb and flow of the surf mentors me to calm, and calm feels so good.
Before I get to the beaches, I stop to grab a bunch of books at Bunch of Grapes Bookstore or Edgartown Books. To become fully intoxicated by my surroundings, I always kick off the read-fest with an island author. These titles almost always come from the local publisher Jan Pogue and her Vineyard Stories. I always—without any research or hesitiation—see films produced by the Weinstein Company, and buy music released by Virgin Records or Geffen Records. That’s how it is with Vineyard Stories. I’m drawn to their artistic taste, and they never let me down. I was delighted when Jan was also able to find time in her crazy schedule to meet me; we’ve become friends since I featured one of her books, Star Child by Kay Goldstein, here at the blog. I admire Jan for her ability to discover a great story as well as her brave, entrepreneurial spirit. I knew that she would become a prized mentor in my fabulous mentor collection.
One of the books released this year by Vineyard Stories is Some Kind of Lucky. It was my first summer read of 2014. I completely adore this book. The author, Joan Cowen Bowman, has been coming to the island for fifty years for the same reason I go there: because it offers a simpler existence. Like Joan, I find the mysterious secrets of the island nurturing and healing. Like her, I drift into this magical place and become a better version of myself.
In the book, Joan recounts her life as a divorced woman in the 1960s struggling to raise four children. As a person who watched my parents’ marriage crumble during the 1970s, I know first-hand how unusual that was. A decade after Joan’s divorce, my parents were among the first divorces in our small town. When the news became public, my life changed dramatically. Other families thought we were contagious. We were socially quarantined.
Some Kind of Lucky is like the ocean around the Vineyard: serene, fascinating, and turbulent in turns. Joan and I both return to the island year after year for the star-filled, whisper-soft nights; for the sun-kissed days, the moody early mornings, and the mysterious foggy nights; for the fire-fly ballets and the crumbling stone walls. We have both felt loss at sea in our lives, and both crave for the simpler existence the island presents.
Martha’s Vineyard allows you to lose the signal of the mainland and be still. It absorbs all that you bring to its shores, and then tenderly washes away all the confusion, pain, tension, and toxins. It’s a kind of magic. As the jacket of Some Kind of Lucky reads:“sunrise and moonrise, birdsong at dawn or dusk, the lullaby of the tides as we sleep-all this remind us throughout our days and nights that there is some kind of law and order in the universe.”
[box]About the Author
As the co-founder of the Over My Shoulder Foundation, Dawn Carroll is leading the way in what she calls “mentorology.” OMSF is a unique media-based project on a mission to raise awareness about the lifelong benefits of mentorship. An award-winning stone designer, writer, producer, songwriter, and mentor collector, Dawn believes that mentoring stimulates the creative mind and that creative minds will find the answers to many problems we face today. Mentoring creates leadership skills and stronger, more compassionate leaders.[/box]
[box] Pure bliss is the only way I can describe the feeling when I get to thank the people who helped me in my career and life. So many people have shared and invested their time, wisdom, and expertise. Prior to starting this foundation, I spent most of my time tucked away in my office, writing. Then, without warning, something awful snuck up and polluted my creative ecosystem. The plug was suddenly pulled on my creative energy, and I hadn’t even completed my project. It was a ridiculous case of writers block! Desperate to get back the fire, I signed up for a class at Boston’s Pine Manor College MFA Program (founded by writer Dennis Lehane). The class was taught by a charming man named Michael Steinberg, who reviewed my writing, giggled at my frustrations and my plans, and told me that one of the “many” reasons my memoir wasn’t working “just yet” was—the end hadn’t taken place!
He told me to put my notebooks away and write something else for a while. He said that I couldn’t force my pages to fall into perfect alignment if I wanted any kind of authenticity, and that I could not cheat this project by crafting a quick (fictional) resolution. It was the hardest, most honest advice I ever got. I had to wait—patiently—for the story of my life to develop. To a control freak like me, this wasn’t easy. I nearly threw the manuscript off the cliffs of Zuma Beach. But I didn’t. Instead, I packed it away and fiddled with some lyrics, which eventually became songs, which inspired the founding of the Over My Shoulder Foundation.
It has been years since I looked at that manuscript. Last weekend, curiosity started to burn. I rummaged through the antique chest, that premature coffin to my thousands of pages of notes. A lot has happened since I last tried to write my ending, though. So now I’m searching for a completely different one, inspired by OMSF! Then, after dusting off the manuscript, a funny thing happened—I got an email from Mike. Since I started the Foundation, I have been begging him to share his story on our blog. And now, finally, ladies and gentleman, I am so pleased to introduce one of my most important mentors, Michael Steinberg!
—Dawn Carroll, Executive Director [/box]
We encounter our most influential mentors, it seems, when we’re ready to receive them. In my case, it happened shortly after I began teaching freshman composition. In the late 60’s, all comp teachers were required to plan their courses according to an outmoded, prescriptive syllabus, one that required teachers to assign their writing students to produce a series of papers. Among them were a narrative, a descriptive essay, an argument, an expository essay, a piece of literary analysis, and a final term paper based solely on library research. This methodology had been in place since the late nineteenth century. It is a narrow, wrong-headed view of what writing is all about. But back then, there was no other option.
Around that same time, I happened to come across a book, A Writer Teaches Writing, by Donald Murray, someone of whom I’d never heard. Murray’s book advocates an inside/out approach to teaching composition. I was immediately drawn to his philosophy. And it kick-started what would over time become my transformation from writing teacher to teaching writer.
Donald Murray was one of the first writing teachers in this country to suggest that the teaching of writing (and literature) had been, for far too long, the exclusive territory of professional critics, researchers, and literature teachers—many of whom, though they might admire writing and literature, do not themselves write.
We didn’t know it back then, but this was the beginning of what would evolve into both the writing process and teacher-as-writer movements. From the late 60’s to the early 90’s these movements changed the way that introductory college writing was taught. In addition, Murray’s work sparked a renewed interest in the teaching of the personal essay, which helped foster the rise of what we’re now calling creative or literary nonfiction.
But now I’m getting ahead of myself.
[box]Over My Shoulder is thrilled to introduce a new writer, Erica Korff. Erica attends the University of New Hampshire and will be graduating in the Spring of 2015 with a Bachelors Degree in communications and writing. Her interests include journalism, blogging, and broadcasting. Living in Boston for the summer, Erica will be offering positive and uplifting stories for mentees and mentors. Today writes about mentorship, business, and mental health. Please help us welcome Erica, and check out her personal blog!
Dawn Carroll, OMSF Executive Director [/box]
mental health: noun 1. a person’s condition with regard to their psychological and emotional well-being.
What can you say about your mental health? Do you consider it to be strong and positive? Do you consider it to be healthy?
Whether you’re a young entrepreneur or an experienced business owner, it’s important to sustain good mental health. Carrying all that pressure on your shoulders can be tiring and stressful. It’s important to balance that weight in order to maintain your peace of mind—and, most importantly, to be happy.
Breathing exercises and exercise are good for your all-around health, but having a mentor by your side will also strengthen and stabilize your mental health, in and out of the workplace.
A confident, independent person might be thinking: why would I consider having a mentor? Owning a business, founding an organization, or simply putting yourself to work can stress the mind and body. It isn’t a bad thing to spend time working hard—not necessarily. But it’s important to manage your mental health in the process. That’s where mentorship comes in. Here are three mental health benefits of having a mentor:
1. Advice In Any Situation
A mentor isn’t a manager, someone above who tells you what to do. A mentor provides an outlet to lessen the pressure. Whether it’s an issue with a project or with a fellow colleague, a mentor can advise you to help solve these problems. Having an independent yet experienced perspective can help you sort out obstacles in the workplace. Being able to share your problems and brainstorm solutions with an experienced mentor will strengthen your resolve, ease the pressure, and clear your mind of undue negativity.
2. Someone You Can Trust
Having a mentor with similar interests and a compatible personality builds a sense of trust. With a carefully-chosen mentor, there exists a bond of support. Sometimes it’s difficult to take orders; sometimes it’s difficult to give them. With a mentor offering suggestions and guidance, it can be easier to recognize good advice. A trusted mentor helps you listen, digest, and take action. This strengthens your mental health by lessening the stress of ongoing projects.
3. A Port in the (Entrepeneurial) Storm
Starting a company can be exhilarating. Will your idea sell? Will people visit your site? Will you be able to live on what you earn? Despite the fact that you’re starting a business on your own, however, you don’t have to be on your own. A mentor who is experienced in building great ideas can calm the nerves. They can review your ideas and processes, give feedback, and dole out the “tough love” when needed. A mentor can guide you through the storm of entrepreneurship, settling your mind as well as your emotions.
[box]About the Author
Erica Korff attends the University of New Hampshire and will be graduating in the Spring of 2015 with a major in Communications and a minor in writing. Her interests include news writing, blogging, and broadcasting. Living in Boston for the summer, Erica will be blogging positive and uplifting messages for mentees and mentors. [/box]
[box] “All alone, on my knees I pray / For the strength to stay away / In and out, out and in you go / I feel your fire / Then I lose my self control /How can I ease the pain / When I know your coming back again / And how can I ease the pain in my heart.”
I am so excited to be have the opportunity to share singer Lisa Fischer’s mentoring story with you today.
Lisa is one of my music heros and it is an honor to feature her at the Over My Shoulder Foundation. Her hit song, “How Can I Ease the Pain,” was the soundtrack to my life during a tricky break-up while I was living in Los Angeles. I listened to it over and over while I re-grounded myself. I knew and felt every word, and wished that I could write beautiful lyrics for Lisa to one day sing. With eloquence and ease, her voice soars, an takes you away from your worried world. Her gift has been a sanctuary for me.
Many years ago, in Boston, Lisa and I briefly met. She was touring with the Rolling Stones, and had just gotten off stage and come back to her hotel. I happened to be in the Lobby. Lisa and I had mutual friends, so she came over to the table to say hello. I was completely star-struck but managed to blurt out, “ Your singing saved me. One day I want to write a song for you to sing!” She smiled and said, “Well then do it!” I doubt she remembers that night, and while this post may not be a song written for, her story is one you soon won’t forget. If you have seen Lisa on tour with the Stones or in the film “20 Feet From Stardom,” then you know what an unforgettable spirit she is!
Dawn Carroll, OMSF Executive Director[/box]
Lisa Fischer has spent most of her life standing “20 Feet From Stardom,” as the title of this year’s Oscar-winning documentary film puts it. Most of her fellow-background singers in the film ached for the spotlight to shine on them. But not Fischer.
“I never feel like I’m relegated to the background,” she said by phone from her home in New York City during a break from the Rolling Stones current world tour. “I don’t know how other singers feel, but for me, I just love background so much. I really enjoy watching artists who love what they do and need someone to support them. So for me it’s a beautiful journey. I’ve been really lucky and blessed to be with amazing artists who I love and respect.”
Fischer has had her taste of chart success, awards and, yes, the spotlight. Her rendition of “How Can I Ease the Pain,” a song she also co-wrote, was a smash hit that won her a Grammy for Best Female R&B Vocal Performance in 1992. Rolling Stones concerts feature a rendition of “Gimme Shelter” where Mick Jagger moves over and “backup singer” Lisa takes over with houseshaking effect. She also moves to the front of the stage when she tours with Tina Turner: after going toe to toe with the volcanic Tina on “It’s Only Rock ‘n Roll,” the duet turns into a solo showcase for Lisa’s powerhouse pipes.
Yet somehow these small samplings of the limelight have not instilled a gnawing hunger in Fischer for more fame, more money, more of everything. She has found joy and contentment helping others shine.
Fischer’s story begins in the Fort Greene section of Brooklyn, where she started on her musical path as a child. “My mom sang a lot at home,” she recalled. “My dad sang a lot at home, too. My grandparents bought us a piano and we would just sing. It was part of life. And I’d sing at school, elementary school, high school, college. It was just an extension of the life they started for me.”
By the time she finished junior high school she was dreaming of a career in music, thanks to the guidance of an educator who recognized her talent.
“There was a teacher named Dennis Moore,” Fischer said. “He’s the brother of Melba Moore. He was really kind and was interested in knowing what I wanted to do with my music. I was, ‘Oh, I don’t know.’ And he gave me the idea of auditioning for [New York City’s] Music & Art High School. He helped me choose songs for the audition. He gave me piano lessons and didn’t charge me. He was just patient because I was just a kid, insane, and didn’t know what I wanted to do. He was just lovely. He could see me so clearly. That was just beautiful. And so I went on to Music & Art and then Queens College and just started working in clubs after that.”
We’ve used our Over My Shoulder Foundation blog to share some helpful tips for how to be a good mentor, but we haven’t really discussed the other part of this important relationship: how to be a good mentee. To get the most out of your mentor/mentee relationship, we wanted to share some helpful tips for mentees:
- Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Your mentor has willingly entered into this relationship and is more than happy to help you in any way that he can; however, your mentor will not know how he can help you unless you ask.
- Touch base on a regular basis. Even if you have nothing new or exciting to report, keeping the channel of communication open is essential. This could be as simple as dropping your mentor a note to keep her in the loop about an upcoming seminar that you plan to attend or sharing a news article where your business was mentioned.
- Be focused and prepared for your meetings. Since both your time and your mentor’s is precious, plan to get the most out of your meetings by being focused on the task at hand and prepared when getting together.
- Retain confidentiality. Sometimes your mentor will share information with you that is only for your ears to hear, so keep his trust by keeping this information confidential.
- Follow-up with your mentor on her suggestions. This will help your mentor to see that you appreciate the knowledge and wisdom that she is sharing with you and that you are executing on these shared strategies.
To learn more tips for mentees and the powerful impact that a strong mentor/mentee relationship can have, please contact us the Over My Shoulder Foundation.
Image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Image © Craig Sunter
“I thought forgiveness was important for anyone to move forward in life. But most importantly, forgiveness is for ourselves! Just like many spiritual teachers stress. Oprah, in one of her life classes, taught about the art of forgiveness and how its practice enriches the mind, body, and soul. Freedom and forgiveness go hand in hand. When it’s in full swing, you can now put the past behind you. As someone once said; “When the past comes knocking, don’t answer, it doesn’t have anything new to say.”
So true! Here are two quotes I found on Oprah’s Life Class website, and incorporated my own words, enjoy.
“The knowledge of the past stays with us. To let go is to release the emotions, the grudges, the pain and sorrow that hold us back. Forgiveness is not something you do for someone else, it’s something you do for yourself. And once you forgive, you feel free.” [box] About the Author Marissa Ranahan is a student at the University of Hartford. She hopes to pursue a career in writing.[/box] Marissa Ranahan
If you take a closer look at some of the most successful people throughout history, I bet you would find that the majority had a mentor or two along the way that made a positive impact on their lives. Harvard recently released a list of some of the most powerful people in the world, and I found it particularly interesting to see who some of these listed as their mentors. Read through this list of famous mentors yourself and see if you have the same feeling:
- Oprah Winfrey: Mentored by Mrs. Duncan, her 4th grade teacher.
- General Colin Powell: Mentored by his father, Luther Powell.
- Dr. Martin Luther King: Mentored by Benjamin E. Mays
- Henry David Thoreau: Mentored by Ralph Waldo Emerson
- Quincy Jones: Mentored by Ray Charles
- Mitch Albom: Mentored by Morrie Schwartz (Tuesdays with Morrie)
And while the following mentoring relationships are fictional, Hollywood can’t help but demonstrate how a strong mentor can positively shape a person:
- Luke Skywalker: Mentored by Obi-Wan Ben Kenobi (Star Wars)
- Harry Potter: Mentored by Professor Dumbledore
- US President Josiah Bartlet: Mentored by Dr. Benjamin E. Mays (West Wing)
As you can see, this list of famous mentors includes interesting pairs that bring together diverse backgrounds, both across differing generations and areas of expertise. At the Over My Shoulder Foundation, we believe that this type of mentoring relationship can be mutually beneficial to both the mentor and mentee and therefore strive to raise the awareness of “Mentorology.” Please contact us to learn more about our organization and how you can become involved.
Image Source: Alan Light
[box]Bullying wears many disguises and it can cause a life time of ache. Bullies can be found just about anywhere—on the playground, at the dinner table, or even in the office. The harm can be physical or psychological. Today we feature Elayna Hasty, a rising humanitarian star. When we first met Elayna, she was only eleven years old, but she was already mentoring us on how to be confident–genuine–
My name is Elayna Hasty and last year Over My Shoulder helped me by supporting me with my G.A.B. Girls. Girls Against Bullying was started three years ago, and G.A.B. Girls are girls that stand together against bullying. They know that they are uniquely beautiful, inside and out. I started G.A.B. for several reasons. Going into a new school, I was being bullied by kids, but I was also being bullied by and an adult. One of my best friends was also so having issues at her school—and those girls were so mean that she is now being home-schooled, and I hardly ever see her.
I went to my mom for help and advice. She knew I was hurting and did what she could do to help. She told me to take the negatives and turn them into positives because, she said, every experience can be made into a positive learning experience. It wasn’t easy, but she was right. I decided that I wanted to help others avoid being bullied and to support my friends, because that’s what friends do.
Mom and I came up with a facebook page and a website. I did a lot a lot of research on how I could help others by giving them support and advice, as well as sharing statics about bullying. I have also been writing to moms and their daughters who reach out to me for advice, and have been giving workshops whenever possible. My mom bought bracelets and t-shirts to help support G.A.B, and workshops help with costs for these projects.
Because of G.A.B. I have helped others and grown a lot in the process. I still believe “Bullying is a real problem but it has very real solutions. Sometimes girls feel down and not always confident in themselves. I want girls to know they are uniquely beautiful both on the inside and out.” I am now trying to help others have enough self-confidence not to be another bystander.
Last year, I was blessed to be part of Kids Are Heroes last year. My hometown paper also did an article and I was able to talk about G.A.B on a Christian radio station, on Super Girls Radio, on the Inspire Me Today site, and in BYOU Magazine. I am now also a mentor in school for kindergartners and help coach the youth team for competitive cheer. I am on a level three competitive cheer team and I feel good knowing that I can help younger girls not only with their cheering, leadership, and team-building skills. My work on G.A.B. has made me want to be a Pediatric Psychologist, so that as an adult I will be able to help girls stand against bullying and be a support system to those who need it. I had a great support system, but not everyone does.
Thanks to OMSF for supporting me. I am very grateful I have had people to pull me up when I was down!
As a mentor collector, I am naturally surrounded by experts, and every day the OMSF journey introduces me to exquisite , committed individuals, who dedicate their energy to making the world a better place. Recently I had the pleasure of meeting a Boston Icon named Jordan Rich at a dazzling Boston music mentoring night. OMSF was giving a life-time achievement award for promoter Fred Taylor, who has been mentoring in the Boston Music scene for many years. The award ceremony was organized by the fabulous Linda Marks, whom I met when she wrote her magnificent mentoring story for last years Father’s Day, and Jordon Rich was presenting the award to Taylor. I was thrilled when, a few weeks later, Jordan invited me to be a guest on his radio show at the WBZ Studios in Boston.
It was a thought-provoking experience . New ideas were stirring around in my head like a New England Blizzard. As soon as I got home I emailed Jordan to ask if we could bring all the OMSF stories and heroes to his prestigious show: and to my total delight, he said yes!
I am very pleased to announce that OMSF’s mentoring stories—the ones you find right here on our Web site—will also be featured regularly on Jordan Rich’s show. We are so very grateful for this new collaboration, and will be posting the radio interviews on our site. Jordan has interviewed many film, TV, Music stars over the years, and his eclectic show spotlights the whole range of human experience: arts, history, health, sports, politics and now mentoring! Not only that, but Jordan is also mentoring me as I fine tune my radio production skills, and he has graciously offered me the role of Associate Producer, overseeing these mighty mentoring interviews!
Get ready to tune in to the Jordan Rich–OMSF mentoring story of the week!
—Dawn Carroll, OMSF executive Director
Boston’s Berklee College of Music has taken inspiration from the famed Bluebird Cafe in Nashville and created two events that epitomize the spirit of mentoring and community engagement. As we mentioned on our blog when we highlighted Amy Kurland’s influence on musicians at the Bluebird Cafe, aspiring musicians and songwriters are able to perform to audiences that often include movers and shakers in the music industry. Thus begins a connection between those looking to break into the music industry and musicians who have already done so. This connection is very much like the relationship between mentors and mentees. Berklee has taken that concept and built upon it with two unique music mentoring programs.
Berklee in the Round is an event that takes place the first Tuesday of the month during its school sessions. Students, alumni, faculty and special guests gather to perform songs and connect with each other. Among the group, one chair is set aside for that week’s special mystery guest. The guest might be a touring performer, a local songwriter, or an industry insider! This mixer brings together people with different musical backgrounds, which fosters community and provides opportunities for all.
It’s true that you are never too young to begin the mentorshop process! Boston’s elementary school students will have the opportunity to learn the ins and outs of songwriting when the Berklee College of Music hosts a songwriting clinic, on January 27, 2014 at Cafe 939 in Boston. Not only will they write a song, these mentored students will also perform their song!
Are you interested in learning more about music mentoring programs? Over My Shoulder Foundation has some excellent information to get you started!
The music industry offers those who succeed in it a fulfilling, exciting and creative career! It is, however, a notoriously challenging business to get started in. The environment and network is vast, which can be overwhelming for someone just starting out. How do you go about finding a good mentor? There are methods and approaches that you can use to find someone who is willing and is a good fit for you and your goals.
It’s important to lay the groundwork by preparing yourself with information. Doing research is easier than ever these days, and it should not be a problem to get familiar with who’s who in the music industry. Read trade publications to get a feel for how the industry cogs turn. Consider traveling to music havens like Los Angeles, Nashville, New York City or Austin, to more easily connect with people in the know.
Your research should lead you to people — and therein lies the real key! Get out there and meet artists, producers and promoters who have established music careers. Be polite and direct in conveying your interest in the music world, and desire to find a mentor. You’ll meet a slew of insiders at conventions, so attend some. South by Southwest, in Austin, is an especially accessible event for non-professionals who endeavor to meet old pros.
Participate in events that help get your name out and foster connections. The Bluebird Café story featured on our blog is an excellent example of the type of things that help budding musicians launch their music careers.
Don’t give up. Keep the lines of communication open and nurture the connections you’ve made. Stay up to date on music mentoring programs through our Over My Shoulder blog. You never know who might be the perfect mentor to help you learn how to get a start in this rewarding field.
Wouldn’t you like to kick off your new year on a positive note, and learn about a concept that creates winners all the way around? January is National Mentoring Month, which means it is the perfect opportunity to learn about how mentoring works and how you can join this significant movement. The 2014 National Mentoring Summit, produced by MENTOR, takes place in Arlington, Virginia on January 30 and 31, 2014.
According to David Shapiro, CEO of MENTOR, 1 in 3 young people are reaching the age of 19 without having a mentor. However, those that do have mentors are proven to strive for and reach college, have higher self-esteem and make more positive decisions. This is exactly why MENTOR was started 20 years ago and has gone from 300,000 young people in mentoring programs to 4.5 million!
Whether or not you’re able to attend the Summit, you can take advantage of National Mentoring Month to educate yourself about mentoring and how it works in different environments. Music is fertile ground for mentoring, as we at Over My Shoulder Foundation believe. One of the core aspects of the field of music is collaboration. How often do you hear a musician cite his or her fellow musician influences? Recognizing that fact, it follows that mentoring and musicians fit together like fingers and piano keys.
David believes that mentoring is a very powerful tool and one that every young person should benefit from. We welcome you to learn more about becoming a mentor or mentee! Try to attend the 2014 National Mentoring Summit. Please contact me, Dawn Carroll, at the Over My Shoulder Foundation to learn how you can get involved in Designing the Next Generation, and for what you’ll gain when you embark on this rewarding path.
What do social change and music have in common? Much more than might be readily apparent. The mentors at the Atlanta Music Project are proving that they can be intricately and exquisitely related. They know that all children have a budding musician inside of them. When they access the music, kids gain an invaluable creative outlet. In order to nurture their musical muse, they must practice regularly — something which helps develop discipline — and, the joy they get from performing contributes to positive self-esteem, which is so important to cement early in life.
Positive self-esteem, discipline and creativity all help kids become motivated and happy adults. And that’s where social change comes in. In their raised awareness, these adults will be able to compassionately bring about change that benefits our communities.
The Atlanta Music Project is committed to giving underserved young people the opportunity to make music and more with its music mentoring programs. First, they provide students with a musical instrument. Then, AMP enlists world-class professional musicians to be their teachers. Finally, they offer opportunities for performances, after students have put in their time and energy to learn their parts. It’s mentoring at its best!
Students learn from accomplished musicians like Ismail Akbar, a cellist from Atlanta who has studied at the Oberlin Conservatory of Music, and has played Carnegie Hall. Mr. Akbar has recorded with Take 6, Wycliffe Gordon, and Neil Sedaka among others. Aspiring violinists might receive lessons from Teaching Artist Yulmarys Zambrano, an accomplished musician who teaches in public school systems, and privately.
We, at the Over My Shoulder Foundation, congratulate the Atlanta Music Project for its far sightedness and engagement in helping young people achieve their potential in such an enriching way! Learn more about this and other music mentoring programs.
Did you know that January is National Mentoring Month? We’re starting the year off in a positive way, by providing opportunities for mentors to relate what they have gained and what they have given. National Mentoring Month is also a cue for those who are curious about learning what mentoring truly is. There are several events this month that will highlight some interesting mentoring opportunities.
The Boston Celtics’ Shamrock Foundation will generously share more than 100 tickets for the January 29 Boston Celtics game with a group of mentors and mentees. During that Boston Celtics game, one lucky mentee will wear the title “Official Ballkid” for the evening! For the past several years, the Celtics’ program, “Heroes Among Us” has honored individuals who have given to their community. All in all, this basketball club is an energetic supporter of mentoring!
We at the Over My Shoulder Foundation appreciate the value of people who share their experience and knowledge with young people. John F. Fish, head of Suffolk Construction, is someone who has both mentored young people and set an example for his peers of paying it forward. Amy Kurland and the story of the Bluebird Cafe is another excellent example of how mentoring relationships can provide lasting benefits.
We invite you to share your talents with someone who is as passionate about your chosen path or career as you are! The benefits to both mentor and mentee are innumerable. Please visit our website or contact me, Dawn Carroll, to learn more about the Over My Shoulder Foundation.
Under the leadership of John F. Fish, Suffolk Construction Company Inc. has achieved many positive distinctions. It is the largest builder in New England, earns two billion dollars per year in revenue, and is one of the country’s most successful building contracting companies. At the same time he has grown the company, Mr. Fish has, through his own example, instilled the values of mentorship and engagement in his company.
Someone who guides a company so successfully certainly learns much along the way, and Mr. Fish has chosen to pass on his experience and wisdom in the form of mentoring. Suffolk’s own Red & Blue Foundation supports groups that seek to better individuals and society, through support of mentoring programs for youth, education, the arts and healthcare.
Mr. Fish and Suffolk Construction recently reached out to young people in a pragmatic and motivational way, through the Youth Mentoring Partnership program. The company partnered with Madison Park Technical Vocational High School and YouthBuild Boston to give technical-vocational students the opportunity to be mentored on-site with Suffolk, and with other leaders in the subcontracting field. This unique symbiosis gave students a head start in the job market, while allowing company representatives to spot talented individuals early on. Truly a win-win situation!
We congratulate and thank Suffolk Construction for supporting Over My Shoulder Foundation’s first annual Designing the Next Generation Extravaganza, which took place on June 18, 2012. This inspiring event brought together speakers from many backgrounds, who shared personal stories of their own mentoring experiences.
John F. Fish’s commitment to mentoring programs for youth has had a positive effect on the lives of many mentees, and he has been a shining example within his own company. You, too, can make a difference in a young person’s life! To learn how, please visit our website for the Over My Shoulder Foundation.
On behalf of the Over My Shoulder Foundation Project, I would like to introduce you to Mentorology, which is the art of mentoring. Mentoring in music and design is the creative launching pad for the OMSF mission! When we meet a person that has the same vision that we have in our own design careers, the art of mentoring instinctively teaches us to engage and ask, “How can I help this person to become a high performer?” We should think about the possibilities and advancements that this person could make in his or her career and then offer guidance and advice along the way.
A great example of Mentorology can be seen on NBC’s newest reality competition series “Fashion Star,” in which contestants compete to earn the next biggest name in the fashion industry. What we love about the show is that the contestants are mentored throughout the experience by fashion moguls Jessica Simpson, Nicole Richie, and most recently John Varvatos. Throughout his career, Varvatos has served as Head of Menswear Design for all Polo Ralph Lauren brands and even launched his own clothing line. The addition of Varvatos as a mentor on “Fashion Star” provides contestants with a more diverse look at the fashion industry.
These famous mentors not only impact the lives of the contestants that they are working directly with, but also the viewers as they offer some powerful advice that anyone with aspirations in the industry could benefit from. Another aspect that makes this show so unique is that the winner of each episode has the opportunity to sell his or her designs to viewers through the show’s retail partners: Macy’s, Sacks Fifth Avenue, and H&M.
Whether we realize it or not, we are constantly surrounded by mentoring relationships. For example, the company you work for may have its own employee mentoring program. If you happen to watch reality competition series on TV such as The Voice, you will see that the participants are receiving valuable mentoring advice from singers with lengthy and successful careers in the industry and that the celebrity mentors are moved by the experience as well.
Think about some of your favorite movies and the relationships that played out in those films. In the cult classic The Karate Kid, the focus of the story is an adult mentoring a troubled youth.
To elaborate on the topic of movie mentors, everyone is talking about The Hunger Games and the most recent release of Catching Fire. In the fantasy world that takes place in this series of stories, teens are made to face off in a truly life-changing competition. Each participant, otherwise known as a “tribute” from his or her district, is paired with a mentor that is often older and experienced with the Hunger Games competition, and this mentoring relationship proves to be instrumental in how the competition turns out.
Our goal at the Over My Shoulder Foundation is to raise the awareness of Mentorology and the positive impact that it can make in the lives of others, whether cross-generationally or cross-culturally. Considering the size of the audience that has seen the films mentioned above, you can see that movie mentors can play a powerful role in reinforcing the benefits and impacts of strong mentoring relationships.
As Thanksgiving is quickly approaching, our team at the Over My Shoulder Foundation wanted to share how thankful we are for all of the mentors that have impacted the lives of our youth and made a difference in Designing the Next Generation.
We often use our blog as an opportunity to highlight individuals that have been recognized for their contributions as mentors, and we recently talked about the positive impact that Bina Kalola, head of strategic investments and global equities at Bank of America Merrill Lynch had on women that want to move up the corporate ladder of male-dominated financial institutions. For the music industry, Amy Kurland, founder of the famous Bluebird Cafe, was recently honored with the Frances William Preston Award at the 43rd Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame for helping to launch the careers of so many up-and-coming artists.
We are pleased to announce that President Obama recently appointed Kim Taylor as a member of the President’s Committee on the Arts and Humanities and Margaret Russell as General Trustee of the Board of Trustees of The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. For the past 30 years, Kim Taylor has been a part of the Boston Symphony Orchestra and has served in a variety of capacities, most recently a Trustee of the BSO. Because of her contributions, the BSO has become a valuable learning tool for our youth. Margaret Russell is currently the Editor and Chief of Architectural Digest, but has mentored many in the design industry through her participation in shows like Top Design.
Both women have made a valuable contribution towards Designing the Next Generation, which has helped to nurture the talent of our youth to help them succeed.
Please remember that January is National Mentoring Month, so let’s help the youth around us!
If you aspire to have a successful career in the design industry, one of the first steps that you should take is to find a mentor. For some, the thought of finding a mentor can be overwhelming, which is why Designing the Next Generation is our mission at the Over My Shoulder Foundation. Founded on the belief that we can make our rising generation better prepared and passionate about pursuing careers in creative fields through mentoring, we make it our goal to raise the awareness of positive mentoring relationships and the significant impact that they can make.
One mentoring success story that we wanted to share is between David Laufer, visual designer and author, and George Nelson, architect and industrial designer.
When Laufer was young in his career, he knew that he wanted to find a mentor and attempted to set up phone interviews with several of his design idols in hope of developing mentoring relationships. One of his those idols was George Nelson, and Laufer’s manager made him aware of an evening class that he was teaching at the Pratt Institute. After pulling some strings, Laufer was able to sit in on Nelson’s lectures and have an opportunity to build a relationship with him.
Some of the most valuable advice that Laufer learned from Nelson related to public speaking. In one of Laufer’s first one-on-one encounters with Nelson, he was told that anyone can speak eloquently in a public setting with plenty of practice. To this day, per Nelson’s advice, Laufer is constantly putting himself in situations where he is required to speak publicly. The two stayed in touch throughout the years, and Laufer credits Nelson as being one of his greatest and most influential mentors.
For more success stories about mentoring relationships, please contact me, Dawn Carroll.
Most of us know Linda Perry as the lead singer and primary songwriter of 4 Non Blondes, but throughout her 25 year career in the music industry, she has also composed and produced songs for Pink, Gwen Stefani and Alicia Keys, to name a few. Perry also has her own record label and has signed up and coming artists such as James Blunt. Now her latest venture is “The Linda Perry Project,” which will be a reality series that will premier on VH1 in the summer of 2014. It will consist of the re-launching of her record label and finding up-and-coming talent to sign and mentor.
Through Perry’s new show, aspiring musicians will receive a one-of-a-kind opportunity to work directly with Perry and learn the valuable lessons that she has been taught throughout her diverse career in the music industry.
Understanding Perry’s passion for mentoring, I, alongside Creative Director Russ Mezikofsky, recently had an opportunity to meet with her to see if she would be interested in becoming the Over My Shoulder Foundation’s next “Mentorologist.” Throughout Perry’s career, she has benefited from cross-mentoring relationships with Pink, Christina Aguilera, and a number of other musicians, which demonstrates that she too is passionate about the concept of Mentorology. Fortunately, Perry agreed to take on the role as our next Mentorologist, and we look forward to the great insight and knowledge that she will bestow on our organization.
In the meantime, we wanted to congratulate Perry for using her new show, “The Linda Perry Project” as a way to serve as a valuable mentor to a number of musicians.
To learn more about the concept of Mentorology and what you can do to become involved, contact us at the Over My Shoulder Foundation.
We often share mentoring success stories from the mentee’s viewpoint; however, the concept of reverse mentorology can make the experience just as rewarding for the mentor. Well-known singer and actress Cher can attest to this when she was recently asked to be a mentor to participants on the hit reality series The Voice.
Admittedly, her role as a mentor to these up-and-coming singers required much more responsibility than she initially thought, and she was surprised at how emotionally involved she got with her mentees. Ultimately, while her mentees benefited from invaluable advice that Cher was able to offer regarding her lengthy career in the industry, Cher herself learned some important lessons from her mentees that will forever impact her own life.
It was popular country singer Blake Shelton that decided to snag Cher to mentor his team on The Voice, which was an unlikely choice considering that the two specialize in different genres of music and come from different generations. For Blake, Cher has always had a special place in his heart due to his late father’s love of Cher.
At the Over My Shoulder Foundation, we are passionate about raising the awareness of mentorology. We believe that everyone can benefit from positive mentoring relationships, especially when they are derived across generations and cross-culturally. In Cher’s case with the young singers on The Voice, her legendary career and the experience that she gained along the way has allowed her to make a strong impact in Designing the Next Generation. She, too, benefited from this arrangement, making this an excellent example of reverse mentorology.
To learn more about the concept of mentorology, we invite you to contact us at the Over My Shoulder Foundation. We also love to hear your personal mentoring success stories, so please share them with us!
A song gave birth to Over My Shoulder Foundation.
Now Over My Shoulder Foundation (OMSF) is giving birth to a new song.
Four years after Patti Austin’s recording with then–13-year-old Lianna Gutierrez of “Over My Shoulder” led to the creation of a foundation to spread the gospel of mentoring, OMSF is on the verge of a new release. Get ready for “Half Filled Tear.”
“It’s about saving lives from a lifestyle of repeated violence,” said Dawn Carroll, who co-wrote “Half Filled Tear” with Boston rock legend Jon Butcher and Gidon the Mighty Warrior, a rap artist and social activist from Austin, Texas. “The lyrics were written to relate the victim’s anger and show that repeated violence is not the way.”On the first Saturday in November, Carroll and Butcher went into Q Division Studios in Somerville to record the final vocal tracks of “Half Filled Tear” with the dynamic singer/rapper Shea Rose and the Boston Children’s Chorus. Adding to the occasion was the presence of teenaged filmmakers and photographers from Wakefield, who came to document the session for a forthcoming “making of” video.
The story of “Half Filled Tear” starts back in 2009, when Carroll was brainstorming ideas for songs that would work as a duets by older mentors and younger mentees. The reaction to that song, “Over My Shoulder,” was so positive that Austin and Carroll followed up by creatingOMSF, a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization dedicated to the promotion of mentoring. Carroll’s unused song ideas were put aside, but not forgotten.
“‘Half Filled Tear’ was one of the songs I had,” Carroll said. “I wanted to tackle the touchy, tricky subjects. I wanted to write songs and Drawing on experiences from her own life and those of the youngsters she was meeting through OMSF, Carroll decided the time was right to complete “Half Filled Tear.”create music that inspired listeners to stop the cycle of hopelessness: ‘One less tragedy’ was my mantra. I believe you can write music and create anthems that bolster self-confidence, self-worth, and self-esteem. I believe that music can deflect some of the craziness you see on the news every night and help people focus on solving individual as well as social issues.”
“This one is a personal story,” she said. “Someone very close to me was murdered at a very young age. I went through this experience. When I started getting more involved with kids through the foundation, and we started working in the city, I heard so many stories about brutal murders. I went through just one, and I never got over it—these kids had gone through multiple traumas with little support. I could see and relate to the delicate emotional state, I knew how easy it is to become lost when dealing with this type of anger and pain. You just never get over the loss and dealing with the anger is a constant struggle. It’s a blinding blizzard of emotions that follow you after someone you love has been taken from you, violently, and that post-traumatic stress is hard to deal with.”
“Then I learned about the tattoo, usually used in gangs: the half-filled tear, carved onto someone’s face. It tells the world that someone has been violently taken from you, and that you seek revenge—and when the revenge is satisfied, the tear tattoo is colored in. This image really freaked me out. I was desperate to write the song and just prayed it would be powerful enough to stop even one future murder. Music can arouse great introspection and activism, it can inject hope into a life like nothing else.”
Carroll shared her idea for the song with Jon Butcher, who not only agreed to co-write and co-produce it, but to sing, play guitar, and engineer the song too.
“It really affected me,” Butcher said, “so I wanted to shepherd it the whole way. I was really keen to produce it and that’s what happened. To me, that image of the ‘Half Filled Tear’ symbolized how pervasive violence is in the country we live in. We have a romantic relationship to violence. And that relationship is a love-hate relationship—how we portray it in the culture, how it manifests itself in our kids and the media. That was a big subject to me.”
While working on the lyrics, Carroll and Butcher decided to add a hip hop element to try and reach a wider audience. Their search for a collaborator led them to Gidon the Mighty Warrior (real name: Christopher Ockletree), one of the founders of The Cipher, an Austin hip hop collective dedicated to uniting youth through music, poetry, and activism.
Carroll and Butcher got more than they expected from Gidon. A lot more.
“We got on a conference call with Gidon and told him the concept of the song,” Carroll said. “I told him if he needed to change any of the words, that he should feel free, and nobody would be insulted. Well he did. He rewrote the entire thing! I think there’s one of my lines left,” Carroll laughed. “He did a brilliant job. Gidon had also lost someone to a violent crime, so he knew exactly what emotions to tap into. Now it’s more his song than anybody’s. The whole rap is his.”
They had the rap. They had the chorus. Finally, they added the voice: Shea Rose and the Boston Children’s Chorus. Their vision was complete. “Half Filled Tear” is a song that finds hope and inspiration in the depths of despair.
“I feel like the song does two things,” Rose said as she prepared to record her vocals at Q Division Studios. “It’s inspirational. And at the same time, it tells of the agony and pain that is going on in society. So it has that dark part, especially in the rap verses, but there’s also a feeling of hope in the chorus.”
Hope is exactly what “Half Filled Tear” is intended to provide, especially to those whose lives have been damaged by violence.
“When you’re struggling with feelings of revenge, you need hope. You can’t get over the shock because the crime has entered your life and left you with an emptiness and with so many questions,” Carroll said. “You need somebody to tell you, and show you, how to channel that energy, otherwise you’ll be a prisoner of it your whole life.”
Carroll expects OMSF to unveil both “Half Filled Tear” and the “making of” video in January—which, not coincidentally, is also National Mentoring Month.
“What we tried to do in ‘Half Filled Tear’,” Butcher said, “was flesh a story out in a way that touches a lot of people. I hope that we were successful—and I guess we’ll find out.”
—by Larry Katz
“I think of it often and imagine the scene clearly. Even if they come to kill me, I will tell them what they are trying to do is wrong, that education is our basic right.” —Malala Yousafzai
Malala Yousafzai showed the world that there is no stopping a hungry mind. At 15 years old she proved that she was willing to risk her life in the pursuit of an education. On October 9th, 2012, while riding home from school, Taliban agents stopped her car and shot Malala in the head. She survived the attack, and bravely refused to surrender her dream. Because of her courage and her dedication to the cause of education for all, Malala became the youngest Nobel Peace Prize nominee ever. She has inspired girls around the world to pursue their goals fearlessly and NOT to let anyone get in the way of their education, or their dreams. It shows how one person can inspire change in the world.
I immediately thought of Malala when I heard the story below, written by our dynamic team member Marissa Ranahan. After you read about this uplifting example of mentorship, share the story on social media, encourage your friends and community to support the Malala Fund, and take a few moments to think about how you could make positive change in the world by becoming a mentor.
Dawn Carroll, Over My Shoulder Foundation Co-Founder and Executive Director
“Mentoring someone doesn’t need to be a lifetime job. Sometimes, it can simply be a lesson that can be carried through a lifetime. This story proves that anyone, at any time, can be a mentor in their own way. It’s the little things that have the greatest impact.” —Marissa Ranahan
Those were her exact words, and I smiled as soon as she mentioned the word mentor. Since joining the team at Over My Shoulder, it seemed to me that every person I encountered had someone in their life as a mentor.I asked her quickly if she enjoyed reading, and her face lit up. She was twenty-three years old. She had a soft smile, with a brightly colored hijab wrapped tightly around her head. We started to talk about books and different genres of literature. She nodded her head in agreement and smiled as I spoke. “Can I tell you something?” she asked. “I have a mentor who taught me how to read, because I am not allowed to.”
This young woman came to America from the Middle East, where she was never taught how to read. Although she always longed to learn, she was not allowed. When a neighbor in the U.S. found out she wasn’t able to read, the woman offered to give private reading lessons, without the knowledge of her disapproving family. They met every Wednesday night in secret until the young woman’s family came home from work. When everyone was asleep, she would take out her books and practice the sentence structure her neighbor had taught her. After six months of study, she was already reading chapter books.
“To me” she said, “Reading is like a different language. After listening to it, I hungered for more, but I was restricted from reading. I consider my neighbor my mentor, my reading mentor, and a woman who had opened up new doors to my knowledge. To me, this is the best guidance I have ever received.”
The admiration she had for this woman was obvious, even in our brief encounter. I asked her what a “mentor” was in her own words—she responded, “A mentor is someone who comes into your life like a guardian angel, and helps you fulfill a passion that was missing before. It might not be for a lifetime, but as soon as you feel like someone believes in you, that feeling will carry through your lifetime.”
I haven’t seen this young lady again. But the message of her story is universal, and deserves to be heard. Anyone can be a mentor. Small acts of mentorship, like teaching one person to read, reverberate for a lifetime. The reward of helping another person is priceless.
Marissa Ranahan, Over My Shoulder team member
We often use our Over My Shoulder Foundation blog to recognize mentors that have truly made a positive impact on the lives of others. With this in mind, we would be remiss if we did not mention Bina Kalola, head of strategic investments and global equities at Bank of America Merrill Lynch. Bina was recently awarded the title Mentor of the Year at the Wall Street Women Awards.
Kalola has reached great heights within her organization by embracing the concept of mentoring, prospering from the mentors that she has had throughout her career as well as paying it forward time and time again as a mentor to many along the way. After attending Barnard College, she entered the world of Wall Street in 1990 by way of a summer internship at Shearson Lehman.
During her time there, fellow Barnard alum, Jodie-Beth Galos, sought her out and taught her the ropes of the financial world. Between discussing more technical analysis and offering the occasional inspirational talk, Galos, a senior with the organization, made a lasting impression on Kalola as a positive role model.
In 1991 Kalola joined Salomon Brothers and was fortunate to have another instrumental mentor, Tom Favia, guide her through the trading powerhouse. What she appreciated most about this relationship with Favia was that he was easily approachable a took the time to really listen to her.
Since then, Kalola herself has served as a mentor through Bank of America’s formal mentorship program and also serves as an informal mentor to many others. As she says, “My door is always open.”
Congratulations to Bina Kalola for earning her well-deserved title of Mentor of the Year! For more mentoring success stories please contact me, Dawn Carroll, at the Over My Shoulder Foundation or share your own!
We recently shared some tips for being a good mentee, and a critical component of strengthening the mentor/mentee relationship is blocking out time to spend together. If you’re searching for activities for mentors and mentees to do together, the Boston Symphony Orchestra (BSO) offers several programs that can serve as ideal learning tools for young adults.
The BSO puts on three Family Concerts each year. For one of these concerts, Germeshuasen Family and Youth Concerts Conductor Thomas Wilkins, in partnership with pre-selected youth, will conduct the BSO. The other two concerts will be performed by the Boston Youth Symphony Orchestra. Please note that the next family concert will take place on Saturday, November 16 at noon, and the Boston Youth Symphony will be performing.
Another way that the BSO can provide a valuable learning experience for mentees is through its high school mentorships program. High school students that participate in this unique program will have an opportunity to receive up to three meaningful coaching sessions with a BSO musician, with the program running January through May of each year. For any local high school students that are interested in learning more about this program, they can contact the BSO directly or download the application.
Regardless of age, all youth can benefit from a program offered by the BSO. As we approach the cooler and more dreary months in Boston, activities for mentors and mentees are limited, and the BSO offers a number of events throughout the year that are not only educational, but can help to cultivate the mentor/mentee relationship.
For more about mentoring through music, check out Justin Locke’s inspirational story about mentoring in the Boston Pops. If you are interested in becoming a mentor or need help finding one, please contact us at the Over My Shoulder Foundation!
All of our youth deserve the opportunity to develop into successful adults that contribute to society in a positive way. However, this is unfortunately not always the case as many of our youth lack a support system at home. One statistic that I found astounding is that only 25 percent of our youth population is actually making it through K-12 and college to achieve an academic degree.
To demonstrate the benefits of mentoring under-served or at-risk youth, we wanted to share some of the powerful roles that these positive relationships can play in a student’s education:
- Youth involved in a mentoring relationship are more likely to stay in school. All too often, students that lack positive role models in their lives are less engaged in school and eventually drop out of high school before graduation.
- A study completed by the Big Brothers Big Sisters Foundation indicated that students that see their mentors regularly are 46 percent less likely to skip an entire day of school and 37 percent less likely to skip a class.
- While many youth may not have the support system at home to assist with homework and instill good study habits, many mentoring programs are focused on enhancing students’ academic skills.
- One of the major benefits of mentoring is that students are more likely to make better grades in school.
If we continue to live in a world where our youth do not have positive role models, you can only imagine what our country will look like in 15 years. Understanding the benefits of mentoring, there are organizations, such as The Right to Succeed, that are doing their best to fix this problem, but we still need more mentors. To learn more about becoming a mentor, please contact me, Dawn Carroll, at the Over My Shoulder Foundation.
If you’re passionate about music and want to take your skill set to the next level, you may want to consider exploring a music mentoring program. Another way to get great exposure to the industry and learn more about potential career opportunities is to participate in a music internship. Some teachers and guidance counselors are not as familiar with advanced learning experiences in the creative area, which is why we wanted to take a moment to discuss music internships for aspiring musicians.
An internship is one of the best ways to solidify a career opportunity post-graduation, and the Dream Careers Internship Program was established with the intent of providing college students with guaranteed premier music internships. During the placement process, a Dream Internship Coordinator will be paired with a student to prepare a resume and prep for interviews to help the student put their best foot forward.
The program works closely with a large base of music companies, providing a diverse selection of potential internships for someone that is passionate about the music world (creating, performing, promoting, and more). A listing of some of the music internships that are currently available through this program can be found on the organization’s webpage.
To learn more about opportunities through the Dream Careers Internship Program, students must first be accepted into the program. To apply, you can contact Dream Careers at (800) 251-2933 or register for the program online.
If you are an aspiring musician and want to learn more about available mentoring programs to help you reach your career goals, please contact me, Dawn Carroll, at the Over My Shoulder Foundation. Our mission is Designing the Next Generation, and raising the awareness of such programs available to our youth plays a big role in helping to accomplish this.
If you are looking to become more involved in your community, one of the best ways to do so is to sign up to be a mentor. This is especially true for those involved in the creative design field. Young people interested in pursuing a career in this area often receive limited direction from teachers and guidance counselors as they are often not as familiar with opportunities in this industry and/or art and design mentoring programs available.
For those living in the New York area, the AIGA/NY Mentoring Program helps to pair passionate high school students attending the New York City High School of Art and Design with mentors that are already creative professionals with blossoming careers.
What makes this program unique from other art and design mentoring programs is that mentors are required to make a 3 year commitment to the program as the relationship begins during the student’s sophomore year and runs through graduation. Each pair will spend a minimum of four hours together each month. Because of the accountability that the mentor and mentee have to each other with this program, many of the students go on to graduate high school and receive a higher degree in a creative design field.
If this article has inspired to you learn more about our Designing the Next Generation mission at the Over My Shoulder Foundation, I invite you to contact me, Dawn Carroll, for more information. Also, please be sure to check out our blog for more inspirational mentoring stories and feel free to share your own with us!
We’ve used our Over My Shoulder Foundation blog to make you aware of several music mentoring programs, and most of these programs are focused on adults mentoring youth. Peer-to-peer counseling can prove to be just as valuable, which is why we wanted to mention the Music Buddies Mentoring Program through the American Youth Philharmonic Orchestra (AYPO).
One goal of the Music Buddies Mentoring Program is to provide private music instruction to students that may not have the financial means to receive such training otherwise. All of the mentors in this program are currently youth musicians (8th grade and older) from the American Youth Concert Orchestra (AYCO), American Youth Symphonic Orchestra (AYSO), or the American Youth Philharmonic Orchestra (AYPO).
When pairing program participants with mentors, the Music Buddies Mentoring Program takes into account both the age of the participant and the instrument that the participant plays to make the best match. Students will meet with their mentors on a weekly basis at T.C. Williams High School for basic instruction, exercises, and practice of school orchestra/band music. The youth mentors then meet with program director Laura Cahn after practice to discuss important learning skills to help enhance their roles as music mentors and teachers.
A second goal of this unique music mentoring program is to not only increase the interest of music in our youths’ lives, but to help keep them active and engaged in their schools’ music programs. All of the youth participants in the Music Buddies Mentoring Program, whether mentors or mentees, are sure to learn valuable lessons and skills from each other.
We recently talked about an opportunity to become a music mentor to nurture a youth’s talent. There is no question that music mentoring programs can play an important role in providing a continued learning experience that help keep our youth engaged in school and out of trouble. This is why we wanted to highlight another program that is available to youth in Greater Boston.
As a Berklee alumna, I wanted to share that Berklee City Music offers a series of age and skill-level appropriate music mentoring programs for middle school students and rising high school seniors living in Boston, Cambridge, Chelsea, Lawrence, Lynn, and Somerville.
The goal of the program is to make a positive impact in the students’ lives while providing them with skills and lessons that they can utilize throughout their lifetime. Not only do program participants have access to year-round instruction from talented faculty members and one-on-one mentoring, but they also have the ability to use the Berklee media center, library, and participate in a variety of music classes and workshops.
To be eligible for this music mentoring program, participants must express a deep interest in learning about music as well as have access to their own instruments. To learn more about how you can apply to this outstanding mentoring program, please contact City Music Boston at 617-747-2447 or visit the organization’s website.
In an effort to raise the awareness of Mentorology and the positive impact that a strong mentor can have on a youth’s life, we often use our Over My Shoulder Foundation blog to share mentoring success stories. Whether you have a question about mentoring or a success story, we want to hear from you! Please contact us to continue this conversation.
If your lifelong dream is to become a fashion designer, it can sometimes be difficult to know where to get started. All too often, our youth that aspire to “make it” in the fashion industry end up settling for jobs in retail and merchandising instead of working towards a higher level career. However, individuals that enter into a mentoring relationship with someone that has already gone through the challenges that are presented early on in the fashion industry are more likely to have successful careers in this field.
Since we are passionate about Designing the Next Generation and the concept of Mentorology at the Over My Shoulder Foundation, we like to use our blog to share fashion and design opportunities with those that have a deep interest in pursuing a career in this area.
Any young women (of at least 18 years of age) that are interested in modeling, fashion design, fashion buying, graphic design, and fashion photography need to know about the Fashion Apprentice Program offered by the Pretty Academy Ambassador Mentorship Program in Atlanta. This newly launched program will provide 20 women that fit this criteria with hands-on experience in their field of interest.
The goal of this program is not only to provide a first-hand account of how the fashion industry works, but to also instill the confidence and courage that the participants will need to be successful in the fashion industry. By taking part in this unique program, the participants will be able to make valuable connections and learn about available fashion and design opportunities.
To learn more about how you can get involved in our Designing the Next Generation initiative, please contact us at the Over My Shoulder Foundation.
We’ve talked about some of the common obstacles that those in the fashion industry are faced with, and these challenges can be difficult to overcome without the advice, encouragement, and expertise from a mentor.
Unfortunately, many of our youth entering the fashion industry are not sure where to start when it comes to finding a mentor. Attending a fashion conference does not only provide you with a great opportunity to stay up-to-date with the latest industry trends, but also can aid in making valuable introductions to key people in your field. These industry leaders and centers of influence that you meet could be ideal candidates for your mentor, and attending a conference can allow for these relationships to blossom.
If you are interested in attending a fashion conference, be sure to mark you calendar for the upcoming Fashionista Conference in LA on November 8 from 8:30 am to 5:30 pm. Attendees will have the opportunity to network and hear from some of the industry’s top designers, bloggers, editors, and stylists including L’Wren Scott, Erica Domesek, and Lyn Paolo.
The overall theme of the conference is “how to make it in the fashion industry,” which is a burning question on the minds of many. While there are no guaranteed slots for fashion mentoring at the conference, over half of the attendees at the recent New York conference received a one-on-one mentoring session with leading industry professionals. If fashion mentoring is a priority for you, please be sure to register for this conference as soon as possible.
Designing the Next Generation is our passion at the Over My Shoulder Foundation. If you want to stay in the loop with available fashion mentoring programs throughout the country, please contact us or subscribe to our blog.
Youth that are involved in an extracurricular activity such as sports, art or music are more likely to stay in school and develop a positive self-image. The Charity Music Mentoring Program was founded with the understanding that all youth have the potential to succeed in life if they have access to a solid role model that offers support and encouragement along the way. This program is aimed at serving disadvantaged youth in Michigan that are currently enrolled in the Macomb Intermediate School District and have an interest in music.
This unique youth mentoring program utilizes music to inspire their students to explore their creative sides, often helping youth to uncover hidden musical talents. In addition to providing free music education to program participants, the students also have the ability to borrow a variety of instruments to determine which one best suits them.
If you have ever expressed an interest in becoming a music mentor, the Charity Music Mentoring Program is currently searching for mentors to serve as music instructors with expertise in the flute, clarinet, drums, voice, and other instruments. To learn more about how you can make a difference with this wonderful program, please contact Music Mentors of Michigan at 586-808-7445.
We, too, are passionate about Designing the Next Generation at the Over My Shoulder Foundation. We recently shared the inspirational story about how Amy Kurland, founder of the Bluebird Cafe, served as one of the greatest music mentors as her Nashville cafe launched the careers of several singers and songwriters such as Garth Brooks and Taylor Swift.
I, Dawn Carroll, have personally benefited from a music mentor in my life, which ultimately inspired me to found the Over My Shoulder Foundation along with Grammy winner Patti Austin. To learn more about our organization and becoming a music mentor, please contact us!
Music is capable of many things. Singing and songwriting can provide an outlet for some who otherwise would find it hard to communicate. For others, music is a way to break down barriers and achieve things that they could have only dreamed of. That’s why I believe that mentoring those who have this wonderful ability is so important. The Over My Shoulder Foundation, after all, was started because of a song by the same name that I wrote. This song was performed by legendary Grammy Award Winner Patti Austin and her mentee.
Now, if you’ve ever been to Nashville or watched the hit series on ABC, you know that the Bluebird Cafe is one of the city’s most famous landmarks. This intimate 90-seat venue is the setting where many famous country music artists have been discovered including Garth Brooks and Taylor Swift.
In 1982, Amy Kurland opened the Bluebird Cafe, and since then her cafe has helped launched the careers of several aspiring songwriters and singers. By creating an environment where local Nashville artists can test their talent in front of a live audience that is often filled with influential guests in the music community, Kurland has become one of the most regarded mentors in Nashville.
To honor her, Kurland will receive the Frances William Preston Award at the 43rd Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame Dinner on October 13th. One recipient of this award is chosen each year, and the intention is to recognize an individual that has helped pave the way for songwriters. Kurland was a natural choice for this award as she has always felt that people are just as interested in the songwriter as the person singing the song, which in many ways is why the Bluebird Cafe has been so successful over the years.
The music mentoring awards event will also honor the year’s best song, songwriter, and the “Top 10 Songs I Wish I Had Written.” To learn more about the upcoming music mentoring awards and attending this event, please call 615-256-3354.
If you don’t live in the Nashville area and would be interested in attending an upcoming mentoring event near you, please contact me at the Over My Shoulder Foundation. I use the blog as an opportunity to make others aware of ways that they can get mentoring help or become a mentor themselves.
We unfortunately are still in the midst of a challenging job economy, and for our inexperienced youth that are just coming out of school, there are even more obstacles to overcome. This is particularly true for the fashion industry where fashion and design opportunities are hard to come by, causing many youth to settle for jobs in retail and merchandising versus aspiring to a C-level executive position.
Our mission at the Over My Shoulder Foundation is Designing the Next Generation, which is our international conversation about the power of Mentorology and the powerful impact that it can have on the lives of our rising youth. There is a great need for mentoring programs in the design industry as a mentor can play an instrumental role in helping to guide an aspiring designer to achieve a budding career.
The Fashion Connoisseur is a Collegiate Scholastic Mentoring (CSM) Initiative, and the mentoring program was established with the intent of helping both youth in the fashion industry aspire to become leaders within their organizations and break through the barriers of entry level positions. Participants in the program will not only receive assistance in meeting professional and academic goals, but will receive valuable guidance that will be beneficial as they grow in their careers.
Sometimes all that our youth, searching for fashion and design opportunities, need is a little encouragement, and a mentor can make all of the difference between a mediocre and a self-satisfying career in the fashion industry. Take the example of Denise Hajjar, who credits the support from her family and close friends to being an integral part to her success as a designer today — and she absolutely loves her career!
To learn more about local mentoring programs or how you can serve as a mentor, please contact me at the Over My Shoulder Foundation.
An increasing percentage of our youth population is expressing an interest in pursuing a career in the art and design industry; however, few of our teachers and counselors are aware of the wide variety of career opportunities available in this field. For this reason, we often use our Over My Shoulder Foundation blog as an opportunity to share some youth mentoring programs that were designed to expose our youth to real life experiences of what careers in art and design would be like.
According to the Open Education Database, the fastest growing careers in art and design include the following: animator, art director, fashion designer, film director, graphic designer, interior designer, landscape architect, and photographer.
If you think about how we live our lives today (interacting with friends and family via social media and being heavily influenced by the advertisements that we see on the internet), we are constantly confronted by the visual arts industry. For these reasons, there has been a spike in demand for individual’s knowledgable and capable of handling a career in this field, and this trend will only continue as our society becomes more dependent on technology. Where those that majored in art years ago had a difficult time transitioning into the workplace, today’s need for individuals with a creative background will continue to increase for years to come.
A great example of the success one can find by pursuing their career in this ever-growing field is the story of Maria “TOOFLY” Castillo, who turned a passion for graffiti and illustrations into various products — including stationary, jewelry, and her own line of t-shirts. You can read more about Maria’s story on my blog.
Mentors can play an instrumental role in helping to guide a young person with these interests find the right career path. We need more mentors, and if you have an interest in serving as a mentor to a member of our youth that would like to pursue a career in art and design, please contact me at the Over My Shoulder Foundation today.
Unfortunately, we are seeing a rise of at-risk youth in our communities. An at-risk youth student is best defined as someone that is statistically more likely to do poorly in school due to a low socioeconomic status, disability, and/or little to no parental guidance in the home. One of the best ways to correct this problem is to expose these at-risk youth to positive role models, which is why we are now seeing a number of mentoring programs appearing to help address this issue.
There is a great article that was recently written by Edutopia that discussed the four basic ingredients that a program targeted to mentoring at-risk youth should have. I found this article to be very impressionable and thought that anyone that has ever considered serving as a mentor should take note of these four points highlighted below:
- Caring and Stable Relationships: Teachers are often some of the first mentors that our youth have, and a major challenge that we face with our education system is retaining teachers. In addition to a mentor being trusting and caring, it is imperative that they are a stable and reliable figure for our youth.
- Help Set Attainable Goals: Students often look up to celebrities and athletes in our society and set goals based on what these individuals have achieved. Sometimes these goals are not always realistic, and a good mentor should help guide his or her mentee towards more reachable goals.
- Offer Guidance: Our youth need mentors that can help to guide them towards achieving their goals and overcome obstacles along the way.
- Create Engagement in Both School and the Community: You can help your mentee to become engaged by recognizing his or her positive contributions in these areas.
There is no question that there is a growing number of high school students that have expressed an interest in a career in the design industry. However, it’s unfortunate that parents, teachers, and even guidance counselors are not well versed on art and design mentoring programs that would offer students additional exposure in this area. Since we’ve made it our mission to share the powerful impact that “Mentorology” can have on Designing the Next Generation, we wanted to make our followers aware of a program called Youth Design.
Seeing a great need for an art and design mentoring program in the Boston community, the Youth Design mentorship program was established to expose inner-city high school students to what a career would look like in the design industry. Participants not only have the opportunity to work closely with some of the most respected design firms in the city, but also earn an income during the program.
Denise Korn, in conjunction with Boston’s American Institute of Graphic Arts organization and Boston’s Private Industry Council, founded this summer mentorship program to provide guidance to students with a creative spirit that are looking to pursue a career in the design industry.
To date, a total of 59 students have come through the Youth Design program, which has resulted in many of them going on to study for a career in the creative industry in college. To learn more about this wonderful mentoring program and how you can become involved, please contact Youth Design at 857-277-1737.
We recently talked about Youth Design, which is an art and design mentoring program targeted towards Boston high school students with an interest in exploring a career in creative design. To elaborate on this post and provide students with an interest in design some additional helpful information, we wanted to take a moment to tell you about some architecture career fairs in Boston, most particularly the Boston Society of Architects (BSA) Architecture and Design College Fair.
This highly anticipated career fair will take place on Saturday, October 26 from 10 am to 2 pm at the Wentworth Institute of Technology. The event is completely free for students and their families to attend, and nearly 40 schools with outstanding architecture and design programs will be present. While the event is free, please note that registration in advance is required. For a full list of the schools that will be in attendance at this year’s career fair, please visit the Boston Society of Architect’s webpage.
Selecting the right design program for you to participate in can be a challenging and overwhelming task, and the Boston Society of Architects helps to make this process easier for you by sharing some helpful resources and important factors to consider. To learn more about some of the upcoming events for the Boston Society of Architects, please check out the calendar on the organization’s website.
If you are interested in learning more about architecture career fairs in Boston, please feel free to contact us at the Over My Shoulder Foundation. We are passionate about Designing the Next Generation, and attending a career fair can offer some excellent guidance to individuals that aspire to have a career in a creative design field.
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Our mission at the Over My Shoulder Foundation is to raise the awareness of Mentorology, which is the art and science of mentoring. Both the organization’s co-founder, Patti Austin, and myself have benefited tremendously from the mentoring relationships that we’ve experienced throughout our lives, and we believe that mentors will play a powerful role in Designing the Next Generation.
We often use our blog to share mentoring success stories and have touched on how to establish a company mentorship program. Before getting started with designing a mentoring program for your organization, though, it’s important to first identify the need.
Perhaps your overall goal of the program is to develop loyal and competent leaders to run and manage the company in the future. Another objective could be to create a mentorship program specifically for women to help encourage their growth up the corporate ladder. Regardless of your reason, there has to be an actual need, and uncovering this should always be the first step in how to start a mentoring program.
Once the need for the mentorship program is identified, you can begin designing the parameters of the program to determine how it will best function and serve your need. For example, if the goal of your mentorship program is to improve the lives of the underprivileged youth in your community, you may consider partnering with a local school. You will also need to consider where and how often mentors will meet with their mentees, how goals will be measured, the length of the program, how staff will provide necessary support to program participants and so forth.
We recently shared a program with you that is dedicated to women in mentoring, and due to this being such an important topic to us, we wanted to share another program with you that is dedicated to the continued professional growth for women artists.
Since 1982, WARM (Women’s Art Resources of Minnesota) has developed a mentoring program to provide the necessary support to women artists as they balance work and family life and deal with other challenges such as the under-representation of women in the industry, diversity, and building a successful career. There are few artists mentoring programs out there, and over the past 30 plus years, this program has served more than 450 artists that have gone on to have fruitful careers.
What differentiates this mentoring program from others is that it lasts for two years, and each participant plays a direct role in selecting her mentor, outlining her goals, and tracking her progress along the way. To go along with our Designing the Next Generation mission, this program has been created to serve a young and budding artist that is just beginning her career.
For those interested in participating in the program as either a protegee or mentor, the next two year cycle begins in January 2015. The program is currently accepting applications for both positions, and you can contact Tina Nemetz or Karen Searle for more information: 612-567-9276.
To learn more about artists mentoring programs, please contact us at Over My Shoulder Foundation. SHARE your mentoring stories with us on our Facebook page, consider donating to our foundation, and don’t forget to follow Over My Shoulder Foundation on Facebook too!
If you follow our Over My Shoulder Foundation blog, you’ve probably heard us talk about Designing the Next Generation, which is our international conversation about raising the awareness of mentoring relationships and the powerful impact that they can make.
Perhaps you have decided that you want to be a part of this initiative and become a mentor for an aspiring young professional. One of the most important things that you can do as a mentor is to clearly understand the responsibilities of the position that you will be undertaking. To help best prepare you for what you are signing up for, we wanted to share some useful information for how to be a good mentor:
- Understand that you will be taking on a role as both a coach and advisor. Not only will you offer useful and meaningful advice to your mentee, you will also need to be prepared to offer feedback when necessary.
- You will need to provide encouragement and support to your mentee when necessary. Being a mentor is not just about instructing your mentee on what to do. A huge component of this role is to be a sounding board and provide the necessary support that your mentee needs to achieve his or her goals.
- Offer resources. Sometimes you will not have all of the answers, and sharing your contacts and resources with your mentee can be extremely valuable.
- Encourage new ways of thinking. Sometimes it’s okay to play devil’s advocate with your mentee to encourage him to think through important decisions.
To learn more about how to be a good mentor, contact us!
I have experienced much success in my career due to the mentors that have impacted my life, which is why I co-founded the Over My Shoulder Foundation with Patti Austin. We often like to use our blog as an opportunity to highlight strong and formidable mentoring programs, and we would be remiss if we did not mention the SUCCESS Mentoring Program at Texas Woman’s University.
There are few programs out there dedicated to women in mentoring, and the SUCCESS Mentoring Program has been designed to cater to women that are first-generation college attendees in their family. Through this program, mentors will be provided to these young women to provide them with the support that they need to have a successful first year of college and lay the foundation for future years.
Participants in the program will not only have their mentors to help guide them through this process, but an entire support network of peers that are also part of the program. Through activities that encourage social interaction, leadership development, and educational success, these women will be better prepared and are more likely to stay in school through graduation.
The mentors in the program are upperclassmen and can offer valuable experience and expertise for the challenges that incoming freshmen often face in their first year. The program participants will meet with their mentors one-on-one twice each month in addition to attending monthly social activities within the group. This is a great way to foster long-lasting, positive relationships that will continue throughout the participants’ college careers.
To learn more about this program, please contact Michelle Buggs: 940-898-3679.
If you’re looking to start a career in the design world, one of the first steps that you should take is to find a mentor in this field. Sometimes this can be a challenging task, and since we are advocates of “mentorology” at the Over My Shoulder Foundation, we wanted to share some helpful tips for how to find a mentor:
- Consider what you hope to gain out of your mentoring relationship. While you may be well-educated, establishing a relationship with a mentor that is experienced in the design field can help you to gain new insight and wisdom that you might not have had otherwise.
- If you are already employed by a design firm, check with your HR department to find out if your company offers an internal mentoring program. Be sure to check out the Over My Shoulder Foundation blog to learn more about ways that a company mentoring program can be advantageous to you.
- Turn to organizations that you are involved with to find a mentor. You don’t always need your mentor to work within your organization.
- Use LinkedIn to perform an “Advanced People Search” to uncover prospective mentors in your industry. You may find someone that graduated from your alma mater or is involved in the same organizations that you are.
- Don’t rule out a mentor that may be younger than you. Just because the mentor is younger doesn’t mean that they have less experience than you.
If you’re in a successful mentoring relationship today, what other tips or best practices can you offer for how to find a mentor?
If you enjoy the content provided by Over My Shoulder Foundation, contact us! SHARE your mentoring stories, consider donating to our non-profit, and don’t forget to follow Over My Shoulder Foundation on Facebook, too!
For those looking for design mentoring programs in Jacksonville, we wanted to take a moment to highlight the Discover Design Mentoring Program, which is targeted to high school students living in the Jacksonville, Florida area. Since 2008, this five month mentoring program has paired high school students with an interest in design with local design professionals in the community.
Throughout the duration of the program, the students meet with their professional design mentors on weekends to complete design related projects that will better the community. Examples of previous projects that have been completed include posters to encourage voting, billboards that promote tolerance, and an iPad app that highlighted local cultural “hot spots” around Jacksonville for teens to check out.
The effectiveness of this mentoring program has been incredible, encouraging the quieter students to really come out of their shells and find themselves. Much of this can be attributed to the mentoring relationships that the students have built with their design professionals, which has offered them confidence and trust to see the project through.
This program has helped students to connect some of the basic design principles that they have learned in school to a larger social, economic, and cultural environment and find ways to improve upon it. In addition, the mentors participating in this program are often exposed to new ways of thinking about things, and the students help them to be aware of things that they may not have known about otherwise. We look forward to seeing more local design mentoring programs offer the same benefits to mentors and students in the future.
If you enjoy the content shared by the Over My Shoulder Foundation, contact us! SHARE your mentoring stories, consider donating to our non-profit organization, and don’t forget to follow Over My Shoulder Foundation on Facebook too!
Getting our youth involved in design mentoring programs is one of our goals with our Designing the Next Generation initiative, which is why we often use our blog as an opportunity to share mentoring success stories.
One unique program that we wanted to mention is School: By Design, which pairs under-served high school students up with mentors that are either in college or design professionals. Through this one-of-a-kind program, the students will collaborate with their mentors to redesign their schools, which will in turn expose them to architecture, industrial design, graphic design, environmental graphics, interactive design, illustration, and photography. Ultimately, these disciplines encourage creativity and new ways of thinking about things, which will be useful skills that the students will be able to use throughout their lives.
The overall goal of this six week program is to get the students thinking outside of the box about solutions to problems and challenges that currently exist within their schools and finding ways to address them. Together, the teams will work to develop solutions that not only will improve the quality of learning that students will receive in the classroom, but also in the local community as well.
To conclude the program, students will be able to exhibit their design plans in a public venue to help share their vision with peers, school administrators, and the local community. As mentors, there is so much that we can learn from this experience, and getting our youth involved and excited about the world of design is key to a successful future. To learn more about how you can participate in this program, please complete and submit the registration form to Worldstudio.