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Mentors March 6, 2007

Posted by Stephanie in Organizational Culture, Organizational Environment, sustainable development.

Every so often when listening to the news or reading the paper you hear a story of success or happiness.  While reading the March 12th edition of Business Week, I came across one such article.  The article titled The Holy Cross Fraternity highlights one man’s accomplishments in the late 1960’s when he began recruiting black students to Holy Cross, in Massachusetts, which considering the time and place, was a radical pursuit.  Reverend John E. Brooks took on the challenge of bettering the school and the students by incorporating racial diversity onto the campus.  The African American students Brooks recruited were given full scholarships but many obstacles were still ahead. Between roommate troubles and a general sense of uneasiness around campus, the few black students were not welcomed by all; however “Father Brooks built confidence.  He made you think about your options” (Stanley Grayson).  The article continues about the bonds made among the black students, the troubles they faced and their extreme success after graduation.  Some of the graduates include:

            Edward P. Jones – Puliter Prize winner

            Clarence Thomas – Supreme Court Justice

            Theodore Wells – Attorney

            Stanley Grayson – President and COO of M.R. Beal & Co.

Along with my interest in the Civil Rights Movement and how influential this story is with that respect, I also see this story as a wonderful inspiration of leadership and friendship.  From Management 101 I have learned a lot about the types of leadership roles and what makes an effective leader taking into account the various conditions of the particular situation.  Especially in times of extreme conflict, standing up for what you believe and wholeheartedly upholding those beliefs despite criticism is very difficult and tiring.  Looking at Holy Cross, or any university as an organization, (or a Mgmt 101 company) it can be seen that groupthink, the power of politics, and authority and power are concepts that can easily apply to real, personal situations. 

Who is your role model or mentor?  What makes this person a mentor in your mind?



1. Janine - March 7, 2007

While reading this post I thought about the W.L. Gore and Associates case. (It was assigned as one of the cases for the case memo). So when you were talking about mentors I thought about how Gore uses “sponsors” instead or formal bosses in its organization. I drew a parallel between your post and this case. I feel like the terms can be use interchangeably here. The sponsor within the Gore organization is to take a “personal interest in the new associate’s contributions, problems, and goals. The sponsor is both a coach and an advocate. The sponsor tracked the new associate’s progress, helping and encouraging, dealing with weaknesses, and concentrating on strengths.” (Jones, pg 466). This description of the sponsor’s job sounds very much like what Brooks did for Holy Cross. He took these african-american men and did something so that they could better themselves. Brooks took a personal interest in these mens’ position. He wanted them to contribute to the university’s diversity and culture, much as a Gore sponsor want his or her new associate to do the same.The sponsor acts as a mentor. This is what it means to be a mentor. You guide, you show a personal interest, and you want to see the best come from the person you help.

2. Kira - March 7, 2007

Last night I attended a lecture by a Bucknell Alum who spoke about alcohol. Since he did not drink or do drugs as a college student, he was in the minority on campus. Despite the negative reactions and pressure from others, he stayed alcohol and drug free and started Calvin and Hobbes. He stood up for what he believed in, though it was not easy, and became a leader on this campus. He essentially was a mentor and role model for other students on campus that also were not into the “mainstream” party scene. Despite the difficulty, he went against some of the norms and culture that exists at Bucknell.

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