An Accidental Mentor

Yesterday evening I had dinner and drinks with a very bright young woman, Lori S, who is trying her hand at starting her own business. She’s at one of the pivotal points in her life where she is self-reflecting, trying to figure out her place in the universe and how she can make her mark. At the end of the evening she posted a nice message on social media that included a thank you for “the mentoring”.

Interesting. I hadn’t thought of myself as “mentoring” her during the evening, but lately I’ve been feeling like a  “Wise Old Sage” among the young up-and-comers in Philadelphia, especially among the entrepreneurs and innovators on our tech scene.

If you weren’t already aware, Philadelphia’s young tech scene is thriving. Just Google “Philly’s tech scene” and you’ll be inundated with links on the topic. Over the past year I have been attending a lot of networking events amongst the talented and enthusiastic techies in our city.  Many times I find I am one of the more mature and seasoned folks in the room (Though I usually drag my husband along – who is ten years older than I – thus preventing me from being THE OLDEST person in the room – Thanks, Joe!), and Lori’s thank you brought something to light last night: Sometimes if you’re the most experienced person in the room, people are going to LISTEN to what you’re saying. And suddenly there you are: A role model without even trying.

That’s a little scary. It brings to mind Uncle Ben telling Peter Parker, “With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility”. I’m realizing I have to mind my words, go easy on the sarcasm (really difficult for me), and take great care with the advice I dole out – because they are LISTENING.

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About Helen J. Sanders

Assistant Director, Applications Development Services in the Student Collaboration Center at Temple University. Oracle database developer and enthusiast. Active in ODTUG. Serving on the Board of Directors for the Temple University Alumni Association, the Temple College of Education Alumni Association, and Vice President of the Network of Women with Careers in Technology.

2 responses to “An Accidental Mentor”

  1. Jeff S. says :

    I imagine you end up accidentally learning a bunch of stuff just hearing what these folks are struggling with and just being in the room with them. Sometimes I worry that people actually listen to what I’m saying 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

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