Payoff for mentoring is real, even if it takes a while to see it

Guest Column:
Marie E. Bussiere
First I would like to thank Providence Business News, Bank Rhode Island, and all the other sponsors for this very prestigious award. It was a complete surprise, and I very much appreciate the honor of being selected for the Business Women Mentor Award this year. More

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OP-ED / LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

Payoff for mentoring is real, even if it takes a while to see it

PBN FILE PHOTO/MICHAEL SALERNO
GUIDING VOICE: Marie E. Bussiere, combat systems department head at Naval Undersea Warfare Center and Outstanding Mentor honoree in the 2014 Business Women Awards program.
Guest Column:
Marie E. Bussiere
Posted 6/16/14

First I would like to thank Providence Business News, Bank Rhode Island, and all the other sponsors for this very prestigious award. It was a complete surprise, and I very much appreciate the honor of being selected for the Business Women Mentor Award this year.

As I look at the 2014 list of honorees, I am humbled to be in the company of such influential, respected and extraordinary leaders. It is amazing that the principles that we all learn in school can be applied equally to so many diverse fields.

I would especially like to thank the team of individuals at my home base in Newport who were kind enough to consider me for this award and took the time and energy to prepare the nomination material. Having been involved in several nominations, I know it is no simple task to pull this sort of thing together.

Also, I would like to thank all those who came to be here and share this honor with me today. My family, co-workers and one of my own mentors and one of last year’s honorees, Ms. Mary Wohlgemuth.

I have always felt that whatever success I have achieved thus far in my career has been the result of the excellent support I have received from many individuals throughout the years, and it is very gratifying to see that belief continues.

Giving of our own time to others is probably the greatest contribution one can make. This is the way I view my mentoring role, and I would like to take this opportunity to share some of the thinking behind my motivation to mentor.

Having flown from coast to coast many times and looking out the window, I have always marveled at the 30,000-foot perspective one gets of what the Earth below looks like. From that vantage point, everything looks different, and much of the detail relating to what individuals have accomplished on the earth’s topology becomes blurred into the overall landscape. I am told that as you ascend in altitude, the changes made by individuals on the Earth’s surface all but vanish except for a very few features.

Similarly, mentoring is like taking a 30,000-foot perspective of things, except with mentoring one deals with time taking the place of altitude.

The good we do as mentors is often passed on intergenerationally and continues to expand and grow as others follow our example. When a good mentor returns 200 years from now, it is very possible that he or she will see the tangible evidence of their contribution.

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