2015 Marvelous Mentors
What makes a great mentor? What inspires them, even as they inspire others? For their mentees, they provide guidance, ideas, a sounding board and, very often, emotional support. As Charles Denny Jr., one of Minnesota’s most notable mentors, puts it, “You are there to encourage, support, sometimes to sympathize, always to challenge.”
Successful leaders often talk about the importance of having great mentors. Typically, those mentors aren’t looking for attention. They prefer to play a behind-the-scenes role and let their mentees shine.
With that in mind, it’s time to give mentors time in the spotlight. In the following pages, Twin Cities Business presents the stories and insight of five remarkable guides:
Mark Cohn is a serial entrepreneur who says he could have used a mentor himself while building his career. For two decades, he’s made sure others don’t lack for one, providing thoughts and ideas to other entrepreneurs experiencing challenges as their companies grow.
Charles Denny Jr. has a long and distinguished career as a CEO and a nonprofit leader. He also has mentored hundreds of leaders in the for-profit and nonprofit realms in both the U.S. and in France, where he was CEO of Honeywell’s French operations.
Don Divine leads Lake Logistics, and he’s helped steer the careers of several mentees. Divine also has provided guidance of a more personal kind, not only for his stepchildren but also for a good friend and industry colleague struggling with a debilitating illness.
Through her work with the Metropolitan Economic Development Association and the Milestone Fund, Esperanza Guerrero-Anderson has built a reputation for encouraging minority entrepreneurs, both by funding their endeavors and helping them learn how to manage their careers and how they present themselves.
Joan Thompson, executive vice president and CFO of St. Paul manufacturer Minnesota Wire, has a simple philosophy: Just say yes. That means saying yes to opportunities to help, learn and give back. For Thompson, being a mentor is a way to do all three.