My mentoring philosophy is simple—do all that I can to help my students, advisees, and individuals I work with on research and training projects reach their full potential. Good mentors care about those they mentor. This can only be achieved by getting to know them and truly understanding the diverse circumstances and needs that they have. This is particularly important when mentoring international students, who come from many diverse backgrounds, cultures, and countries. I find that when solid and trusting relationships are established between me and those I mentor, there are tremendous opportunities for personal and collective growth.
Maintaining a constant desire to learn is fundamental in the mentoring relationship. Learning can and should come from many angles, including reciprocal learning where I have found that I often learn much more from those I mentor than they probably ever do from me. Being able to listen to those I mentor helps me better understand their perspectives and needs.
Mentoring is hard work. I believe in being fully committed to what I am asked or assigned to do, and this is particularly important when it comes to mentoring others. Regardless of the circumstance, it is important to approach each mentoring assignment with dedication and a willingness to see it through to the end. Commitment to others is an essential element in team development, and is especially important for mentors to model so that those they mentor will feel an important part of a high-performing team.
I strive for excellence in the key areas of mentoring and set an expectation for those I mentor to do the same. It is virtually impossible to achieve exceptional performance without first having a goal to do so, and this pertains to all areas of instruction, research, and community engagement. Strategic planning is an essential and ongoing process to achieve sustained excellence in the mentoring process.
It is also important for mentors to establish an atmosphere that encourages each mentee to become the best that they can. We all have different strengths and talents and together we can achieve much more than if we go at it alone. Synergy is an essential ingredient to any high-performing mentorship team.