Having a trusted friendship with some person years older or younger than you is a true gift. We often refer to these non-familial connections as mentors or mentees. The roots of the word go back to ancient Greece when Mentor who was a friend of Odysseus was entrusted with the education of Odysseus' son Telemachus.
Relationships that are strong have certain elements that help them build. Affinity, time, and shared experiences are all ingredients. One of the outcomes from a strong cross generational relationship is that it can allow the subtle gift of wisdom to present itself. When wisdom arrives, it means the mentor has built up enough trust with the younger party to share their best insights and perspective. Often times this can be life changing for the mentee.
Yet for all its benefits, great mentors are in short supply. Why is this? It may have something to do with the all-important shared experiences. The generations don’t always do things together, and thus it is...
hard to form the bonds. Technology hasn’t helped. There is also the hubris of youth always thinking there has to be a better way than it was done in the old days.
We share this as a preamble to what we think is a great new mentoring system that has been built by the team at Instaviser. It is an internal mentoring engine that institutions can use to allow the younger generation to connect with the alumni. We were introduced to it through our involvement with Cal Athletics. Instaviser branded Cal’s system with the name Golden Ties and Drew was asked to be a mentor. On several occasions a Cal student-athlete was able to find Drew’s profile on the password protected site and book a 30-minute mentoring session.
In both situations the common connection of having gone to Cal was enough to allow an easy conversation to ensue, and the beginnings of a relationship were born. The student-athlete had questions about work and job opportunities, and I was able to offer some thoughts and people for them to meet.
So many of our work and nonprofit institutions have a treasure trove of wisdom locked up in the minds of its elder participants. We will all benefit as it is transferred to younger generations. Hopefully, solutions like the one Instaviser has built will gain traction inside the institutions you care about, and we will be able to pass down the principles and values to tomorrow’s leaders.
If you have an interest in being a mentor on any topic, please email us here and we will do our best to get you connected with the right team.
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Drew Sanders Blog
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