I intend to write an entire blog post on mentoring, but before I do I would like to share some thoughts on my most important mentor, Dr. Bret L. Simmons. Last Wednesday I had the pleasure of listening to Bret speak at the Sparks Chamber of Commerce Business Forum. You can see a clip from his speech at my colleague, Alicia Gardner’s blog site. This was by far, the most valuable break-out session of the day. We, as his MBA students were inundated with questions and comments from the audience. They wanted to know more about Bret and what he does, so I thought I could offer a little perspective.
From a Marketing point of view Bret is worthy of mention for several reasons, a few of which I will share with you here:
1. Mentoring – It takes a unique individual to become a true mentor. While Bret is a Professor of Management at the University of Nevada, it is my opinion that his true joy comes from engaging with his students. In my entire college career, I have never come across another professor that cares so much about the future of his students. The time that he puts into helping us succeed has no real benefit to him other than personal gratification, yet I see him time and time again have a profound influence in the lives of many in our student body.
Mentoring provides a reflection of your perspective to another person who can use guidance. Those that engage in this behavior most often have a vested interest in the individual they are teaching or they find fulfillment in helping others. On the flipside, I have noticed that mentoring also creates raving fans that are grateful and speak very highly of the mentor that has helped them develop a new set of skills.
2. Academic – Of course we know that Bret is an academic, he is a professor. When I tell you that he is a true academic, I mean to say that he steps outside of the box and he continues to learn applications that are relevant. He engages in behaviors that will continue to help him succeed and propel him into the future as a leader, not a follower.
It is important for us as human beings to continue to expand our minds. We will never know everything and in a lifetime we will only learn a fraction of the information that is available to benefit our lives. There is nothing more important than the gift of knowledge. Whether you pursue a formal education, or you attend workshops and seminars, or just love to read, my best advice is to continue to learn! “Live as if you were to die tomorrow, learn as if you were to live forever.” ~Ghandi
3. Social Media Guru – You will never get a clearer perspective on social media than that of Dr. Simmons’s. About 6 months ago Bret decided that he was interested in the platform so he “jumped in and started swimming” as he likes to say. In the beginning, as most of us experience, it seemed like nobody was listening. Bret was diligent and kept trying new and improved methods. He believes in providing value added content and his presence relies solely on helping others not interrupting his audience. Today if you type Bret Simmons into Google, his blog site is the first entry on the list. If you are at all interested in how to be successful with social media, Bret’s blog is full of content that will help you succeed.
The most important things I have learned from Bret regarding social media: 1. Don’t give up. 2. Always add value. 3. Do not try to advertise your products or services. 4. Engage people in meaningful discussion to form relationships. 5. Do not get your feelings hurt when people don’t respond. 6. Always reply back and comment in a positive manner. 7. Stay focused. 8. Make sure you are always present at the right time. 9. Always be contemplating what value you will offer next. 10. Have fun!
Dr. Bret Simmons has by far been my favorite, most influential mentor. After watching him speak at the Business Forum and watching the reaction of others, I now understand that spark that he inspires inside of me is a spark that he ignites in many. He truly has a unique and motivating character. I encourage you to follow his blog which you will find on my blogroll next to this post. You can also find him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/drbret. I promise you will not be disappointed in listening to what he has to say!
“A teacher’s purpose is not to create students in his own image, but to develop students who can create their own image.” ~Unknown Thank you Bret!