Share Your Story: How has Mentoring Impacted You?
OSPI Chief of Staff Jamila Thomas on the impact of mentoring.
My father Billy Frank Jr was my mentor. He taught me how important education was graduating from high school and continuing on to college and getting my BA. He taught me how important Treaty Rights and Tribal Sovereignty is. The importance of salmon and natural resources to all human beings. When the salmon are healthy we are healthy as people because we know that our water is clean.
I never realized that my father was teaching me my whole life from a young age. I can remember going to meetings with him in high school. Now I see what he was doing preparing me for my future. He taught me how to come into meetings with an open mind and be willing to listen to everybody at the table. There was something about him being able to bring people together and work together.
Willie Frank III, Nisqually Tribal Council
One of the most influential women in my life was my mentor, Dr. Janis Fine from Loyola University Chicago. She embodied all the values of servant leadership- learn broadly, lead courageously, and serve generously. Through her support, high expectations, and love, I attained the highest level of education possible- my doctorate in educational leadership. When I didn’t see hope or the possibilities, she saw the greatness in me and reminded me to keep going. I am forever grateful and try to honor her by giving back as she did so gracefully with so many.
Angela Brooks, EdD, Continuous Improvement Partner
My 6th grade science and sex ed teacher Jane Moberg was my first mentor. She seemed to see how we each learned best. I felt like she really saw me before I did. She was on the lookout for adventures in learning for each of us. And she exuded love and care. Later, as a teacher, I tried to do that as well.
Carrie Basas, Director of the Office of Education Ombuds
I have many mentors, each playing a different role in my growth, personally and professionally. Two most notable mentors have been my direct supervisors in my roles in education, Dr. Milton Lang and Tennille Jeffries-Simmons. As a female leader of color, I was fortunate to work for two leaders of color who could share things they have learned along their journey, including their missteps. The biggest lessons I valued and keep with me are around the importance of strategic thinking, learning when to pause in order to be responsive and not reactive, and knowing which battles to pick (though at times I still want to pick them all!). We now interact as colleagues, but their mentorship continues to shape my decisions as I pay it forward to young professionals.
Angela Jones, J.D., Vice President, Student Affairs, Eastern Washington University
“I have long believed in the power of mentors in my life. I can look back throughout my personal and professional journey and cite many people who’ve shaped the direction of my life. My most recent and most obvious mentor would be our recently retired Executive Director of AWSP, Gary Kipp. Gary broke the mold years ago by hiring a mid-career principal to come join the AWSP team. Coming out of a building level position and jumping straight into a state level leadership position was a huge learning curve for me, and Gary was instrumental in my growth. His guidance, wisdom, and encouragement over the years pushed me both personally and professionally. I can honestly say that I probably wouldn’t be in my current role as the new Executive Director of AWSP without Gary’s direct mentorship.”
Dr. Scott Seaman, Executive Director AWSP
I have benefited from many mentors throughout my life. The first mentors were older male youth in my community and my grade school teachers. Next were student mentors in college and college coaches.
For this month, I want to share a particular person who mentored me during my adult/professional life. Joel Benoliel was a senior Legal Counsel at Costco for many years before retiring. We had a mentor/mentee relationship for a number of years as I navigated my career in purchasing for the company. Joel was a great listener and always emphasized the importance of remaining calm and in full control no matter the situation. He was instrumental in helping me sustain self-confidence in a very competitive business, and more importantly to trust others to strengthen team.
Claude Green, Project Manager Costco Wholesale
As a graduate of the US Merchant Marine Academy, I have enjoyed working in the maritime industry, including sailing on merchant ships, working for a ship broker, and running a marine terminal. When still a young professional, I was fortunate enough to have a mentor who personally impacted me along the way. While I was scheduling ships for a cargo company in New York, I had the privilege to work under Captain Doug Uhles, also a graduate of the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy, Class of 1970. Capt. Uhles’ career included sailing on various merchant ships and earning his law degree. As the Maritime Director for our company, Doug showed me firsthand the importance of supporting staff and understood that I did not know what I did not know. He taught me to be decisive, dependable, and work with integrity, and provided key life lessons that included learning how to work with people, how to stand up for myself, and most importantly, how to effectively communicate both in writing and in person. Captain Uhles was a great mentor for me and I am grateful for all the work and life skills he imparted to me.
Mr. Len Faucher, Marine Terminal Director, Port of Olympia