Friday, 28 November 2008

The Mentor

Thought I'd share the nomination that won the TRIEC's 2008 Mentor of the Year award for Michael.

He was, truly, surprised.

My mentor, Michael, motivated me by conducting a number of one-on-one sessions in one of his office's meeting rooms. That may seem like a small thing to some but it was an incentive to continue working toward that great career move. Michael also helped me through several versions of my Resume and Cover Letter, my :30s elevator pitch and mock interviews. He pointed out shortcomings ever so kindly. Even the little things were not overlooked. For e.g., for my first meeting with him, I arrived about 20 minutes early. Michael advised that I should try not to arrive more than 10mins early for an interview. Makes sense if you think about it.

Whenever he had a tip, he'd either send an email or call. He'd follow-up, too, to ensure that I was carrying out my 'homework' - making the connections we'd talked about. When I got called for the interview, he unabashedly shared my excitement. It felt like I had someone in my corner. Michael provided his contact info early on and, if he was going to be inaccessible at any time, he'd give me an early heads-up.

I was happy to work with him working with me. Michael 'pushed' me ...ok, strongly encouraged me to tap into the IABC network of Communications professionals. Even though that was not one of the organizations with which he was very familiar, he realized that it was important to my profession. Needless to say, he coached me on what to say and how to best approach the right persons within the organization. When I did not succeed in making contact initially, he kept at me to keep at it, pointing out a change in strategy. It worked! I got in touch with another executive and that actually led me into a conversation with her. While the complimentary invitation to the networking session that we were aiming for did not come to fruition, a new professional relationship did! The exec has since invited me to be a LinkedIn connection and has also referred me to one of her connections to be considered for a new position!

Michael's advice was multi-fold. My Resume and Cover Letter metamorphosed through his input. My :30s elevator pitch became much improved. I also took his advice on arriving no more than 10 mins early. The better part? His advice on preparing for the interview. It was encouraging to hear that I should just be myself as I present well - and I shouldn't underestimate that. More importantly, he emphasized that I should convey an attitude of helping the organization, as opposed to focusing on what they could do for me.

After I got the job - which he was absolutely thrilled about (he was the second party I called after my family) - he gave me very helpful on-the-new-job tips (be a great team player; be willing to help and learn and make your boss look good :)

The best part? At the end of my first month on the job, he emailed congrats and checked on how things were going! That wonderful gesture was much appreciated and forms a great part of the reason for my nomination of Michael ____ for Mentor of the Year 2008. He doesn't know I'm nominating him. I'm thinking it'd be a nice surprise!


Tuesday, 18 November 2008

"These are for you"

I attended an awards ceremony earlier this evening. The person whom I'd nominated, won.

After accepting his framed award, along with a handful of beautifully arranged Calla Lilies, he made his way back to the crowd. When he got near me, he said, "These are for you." I couldn't help but chuckle. After I'd graciously accepted the lovely arrangement, with thanks, we hugged.

I'm glad to have done something that meant so much; something that brought so much joy to someone else.

It was a good evening.


Saturday, 8 November 2008

Welcome to the 21st Century! We've been waiting for you.

Thoughts on the now-history US Presidential elections.

"What made him (McCain) think that he would win...
...with Sarah Palin on the ticket? She looked like the other side of Hilary...until she opened her mouth."

I told my sis that had her question stop at the word 'win', the response would have been quite different.

Hardly any vocalized support from the icons of the civil rights era (read: Jesse Jackson et al.)"

I'm thinking that had Obama strongly aligned himself with them, it might've appeared to be a continuation of those past efforts at the presidency. In addition, the journey would be burdened by racial under and overtones. They paved the way and he extended it to a road less traveled - make that, never traveled.

Of the two candidates, Obama seemed to be better able to bring the USA in line with the psyche of the rest of the world - at least with other progressive countries. His being the first African-American to be elected President of the USA adds weight and credibility to the baton. The USA, always so great, and yet, the fly in the soup - a certain backwardness, if you will - even in this here 21st C.

"So many people gathered at Grant Park in Chicago. They wanted to share that piece of history. The realization of Martin Luther King Jr's dream."

People saw the opportunity to play a part in the realization of the dream.

And so I say to the US of A: "Welcome to the 21st Century! We've been waiting for you!"


Wednesday, 5 November 2008

America is old enough, isn't she?

I was watching The Daily Show with Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert as they broadcast the results of the 2008 USA Presidential elections that came to an end tonight. Their take was very funny and creative. Without warning, at that decisive moment, Jon uttered, "I would just like to say, if I may ... that at 11 o'clock at night, Eastern Standard Time, the president of the United States is Barack Obama."

A quick toggle over to CNN showed an extensive expression of jubilation.

The USA has finally caught up with so many other countries. Whether the outcome was the first woman Veep or the first African-American Prez, there is a sense that that shouldn't really be news, here in 2008. CNN had a quick fact earlier: "If elected, Barack Obama will be the first president born in Hawaii."

When I saw that, I thought, at this point, that should be one of the main ...distinctions, if you will. But, we know why it isn't; why Obama's win is so significant. It's historic; something the world has never seen before. And so, the world has, tonight, changed in some way, shape or form.

The victory is not just his. It heralds - while confirming, if you will - a change in the psyche of other African-Americans; of (insert origin here) -Americans; of so many people around the globe, where, as the saying goes, 'geography is now history.' The kind, or extent, of the change? We shall see, shan't we?

Still, there's a lingering sense that America should have got here already.

After all, she's old enough, isn't she? I dunno. I do know that in these elections, she displayed social, political and democratic maturity.

And so, on this day, Tuesday, November 4, 2008, Barack Hussein Obama, born August 4, 1961, has become the 44th President-elect of the United States of America.

My parents were married on November 5, 1969. Tomorrow is their 39th Anniversary. Happy Anniversary guys!!!