Boomerang — A Mentor's Tale
A boomerang is a curved throwing tool designed to circle back to the thrower. It was discovered in Poland 20,000 years ago, but the boomerang effect can be alive and well in your career today!
Mentorship is a personal developmental relationship in which a more experienced, or more knowledgeable, person helps to guide someone who is less experienced or less knowledgeable. As such, a mentor works closely with the mentee.
Several years ago, I was a mentor to a young professional looking to establish her career in the fundraising profession. As we expanded our relationship, I could tell she had the attributes for success in fundraising, such as a:
- Passion for the mission
- Understanding of the vision
- Knowledge of the total philanthropic process
- Drive and passion to help others
- Desire to make a successful career in the field
I hoped to recruit her for a position on my staff. One day, my dream became a reality. As a staff member, she asked probing questions, created an operational plan, looked at best-of-class examples, had a hunter mentality and always strived to exceed expectations. She quickly showed a combination of executive acumen while caring deeply about people. All of this was happening while she was raising a new family. I told her she had an outstanding future, and I couldn't wait to see her fly! What she didn't realize was how much I was learning from my mentee!
Fast-forward from the 1990s to 2011. She was in her fourth year as vice president of development for Make-A-Wish Foundation of America in Phoenix, directing a large staff and raising millions of dollars annually to help 14,000 children receive wishes on an annual basis.
One day, my phone rang, and she asked me to work with her on a campaign. I was beyond thrilled, as I was taking orders from her! She has a unique ability to educate, motivate and inspire her team while driving for results. This mentee had been transformed into a mentor and learned how to pay it forward.
Duke has extensive experience as a nonprofit practitioner, author, lecturer and consultant. He has been a contributing author to NonProfit PRO for the last 11 years. He has been a long-standing member of the Association of Fundraising Professionals where he was previously named the AFP Indiana Chapter Fundraising Executive of the Year and has held the CFRE designation for many years.
He received his doctorate degree from West Virginia University with an emphasis in education administration, master's degree from Marshall University with an emphasis in public administration and a bachelor's degree from West Virginia University with an emphasis in marketing/management. He has also completed post graduate work at the University of Louisville.
He is currently executive director of development for The Salvation Army Indiana Division in Indianapolis, Indiana. Contact Duke at email@example.com or 317-224-1029.