Design New England magazine sponsors mentor awards


Sitting in the waiting room before my arthroscopic shoulder surgery, I picked up a magazine I hadn’t seen before, Design New England. The magazine was filled with design eye candy for home and garden lovers like me, but more importantly was their page about honoring mentors. (I apologize for the quality of the photo, but not easy taking a picture of a magazine page using just my left arm.)

What I particularly liked was the headline: Mentoring is its own reward. Very true. But what I had never seen before was “But we think mentors deserve some recognition.”

2017 Mentors in Design

We are delighted you are considering nominating a candidate for Design New England’s MIDDIES (Mentors in Design) program. The MIDDIES salute design professionals in interior design, architecture, building, landscape design, landscape architecture and related fields, who share their time, expertise, and wisdom with the next generation. A nominee might be someone who has mentored you or who you have observed mentoring others during his or her career. The candidate might be your boss, a close colleague, or someone from another discipline who has opened the door to new possibilities.


Short Essay: Why should your nominee be recognized as a 2017 Mentor In Design? Some points to consider include: how the nominee has influenced you and/or others making career choices? What are some of the memorable moments of the mentoring experience? Are there particular anecdotes that highlight the mentor’s knowledgeable guidance, recognition of a protégé’s skills, unselfish giving of time, simple words of wisdom, and teaching by example? Please limit testimonials to 500 words or less.
While I’m not advocating for recognition for mentors for entrepreneurs, I found it interesting that mentoring plays enough of a role in the home and garden design world to merit such recognition. Just more evidence of the increasing importance of mentoring.
I think mentoring is part of a larger trend, just in time learning. Because of the accelerating rate of change in almost every field driven by the digitization of almost everything, what you learned in school is increasingly likely to be out of date. But how do you keep up to date once you’ve gained your degrees and are out in the world? Participating in the founders’ networks and having mentors can help solve that problem. Of course, there is no substitute for being an autodidact – highly successful entrepreneurs like Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, and Elon Musk all turn out to be inveterate readers. But how do you avoid the proverbial “drinking from a firehouse”? problem? That’s where mentors who are familiar with your subject domain can help point you towards important books, documents, videos, talks, conferences and other ways to keep up with what’s new without spending an inordinate amount of your time learning when you should be doing.
And you might ask why I’m not in favor of awards for mentoring founders? I believe awards foster competition, not collaboration, and collaboration between mentors, such as done at the MIT Venture Mentoring Service, is vitally important. Mentors provide perspective, so more than one mentor can be very valuable. As Alan Kay said, “Perspective is worth 80 IQ points.”

Author: Mentorphile

Mentor, coach, and advisor to entrepreneurs, small businesses, and non-profit organizations. General manager with significant experience in both for-profit and non-profit organizations. Focus on media and information. On founding team of four venture-backed companies. Currently Chairman of Popsleuth, Inc., maker of the Endorfyn app for keeping fans updated on new stuff from their favorite artists.

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