i have been lucky to have been exposed to many role models as i progressed through my career. one particular person stands out in my memory. he was a former health undersecretary, with sterling academic credentials. i met him when my boss consulted with him on some communication projects we were undertaking. the topic we were discussing was not up mr usec's expertise. and as my boss was explaining, he suddenly launched into an elegant summary of the topic, a wonderfully simple and succinct framework to begin the discussion. i was floored! this was an example of intellectual brilliance at work. and i surmised that it was actually the knowledge and application of certain fundamental, logical frameworks that made him transcend his 'ignorance' of the topic and just comprehend effortlessly! i knew then that i wanted to learn and imbibe that analytical perspective.
but beyond models worth emulating, i have had the good fortune of having superiors who mentored me. as much as i would like to name them and honor them, my circumstances prevent me. but i could still talk about them with fondness and respect.
my first would be my college professor-turned-friend. he was crush ng bayan then. and though he wasnt particularly impressed with my performance in his class, he hired me as his research assistant when i applied. and through that, we became good friends. he was guiding me as i started my teaching. and although i didnt pursue that career path, i value his insights on education.
my stint in advertising exposed me to this lady who didnt seem to fit the 'ad agency' mold, she was maternal, almost dowdy. but from her i learned the value of precise communication and time management. she was OC to a fault. and i learned to be one myself.
during my short time with the health department, i was directly under a boss considered one of the "elders" of the advertising industry. we were part of a small communications project. and we were understaffed. so no layers between us. and he gladly took me under his wing to hone my marketing communications expertise, all 23 years of me. he was one tough boss. quite scary actually. but i learned so much in the critical analysis of communication campaigns, marketing, documentation, etc. and i soaked it all in! he was the first one who was consciously mentoring me, making sure i learned and i learned fast. i had a short "runway".
im down to the last two mentors of my life, two i met in my current company. one is the owner, a second generation visionary who treated me like a son. he also was conscious to impart life lessons to me, on top of running the business. a true entrepreneur, he is also religious and philosophical, too. which made for great, insightful conversations. but most of all, i learned the value of empowerment, responsibility from him. for he is truly empowering. and despite his stature, he does listen to my ideas, and allows me to implement freely.
the other mentor i hold in such high deference is the former chief executive, who has since retired. he is a professional manager through and through. and his knowledge of all aspects of operations is comprehensive. in contrast to the owner, he treated me as a peer. hence it was less "mentoring" and more of just consultations and concordance with business decisions. this is consistent with his very humble persona. also deeply religious but never preachy, he is the epitome of integrity. his wisdom i still consult to this day. and one i truly aspire to be like.
seek out models and mentors. look for those from whom you seek to learn. identify and be precise about what you admire about them. that is the starting point for your own growth.
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