Mentors

I am reading this fantastic highly recommended book called ‘women, work and the art if savoir faire’ which is written by a highly accomplished author (best selling author or ‘French women don’t get fat’) Mireille Guiliano. She was the senior executive for Veuve Clicquot and the reason the brand exploded into celebrities and brides hands all over the world.

Her book is about sharing advice being a career women and the lessons she learned along the way (she even includes style tips!)

The thing that snagged me was her statement that everyone needs a mentor in life. A mentor is a great yet sadly rare thing.

I have had two in my life, the first an old German man called Heiner, who, for some reason, believed in me when I was a geeky over-helpful intern. The MD didn’t notice me, but he did, he took me to important client meetings and urged me to speak up. He told me there would always be people who would put me down or laugh at my ideas, but that i wasn’t to listen. He told me, at 22, to take out a retirement annuity. He drew me a
little graph to show me in the simplest way, that R100 a month now was equivalent to R1,000 a month if I started in 10 years. My friends laughed at me then but I knew i had inside knowledge they didn’t and was secretly proud.

He was patient, always had time to listen to me and even met me for lunch once I moved to another company. I miss him terribly and didn’t realise how lucky i was to have had him in my life. He gave me my first job, it just takes one person in power to believe in you and you start your journey.

The second, was Julia, a fabulous and hugely successful woman I met in my previous job. Strong, witty, smart as a wip and at the top if her game. I pretty much followed her around for the year she spent at our offices. I loved that she wasn’t afraid of anyone, scared the crap out of senior (male) clients and always had matching nails.

I miss them both and am thinking of trying to reconnect virtually. An electronic mentor is better than no mentor after all.

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