Okay, so after my last post, I'm sure you all think I'm just on a Star Wars
kick, but honestly, there are many parallels with the adventures of Luke, Ben
and Han, and some of the things we as business owners and executives, have to
deal with regularly.
But then, this is a happy post!
This past Thursday evening, I was privileged to have been asked to
participate as a Mentor and Speaker at the AFCEA NOVA Young
AFCEANs Mentor Protege Dinner. Now, to totally set the premise, I was one of
four speakers that evening who briefly discussed "Secrets of My Success" to a
group of other Mentors and Proteges. What was so astounding to me (in a good
way) is that I'm presenting as a Mentor, at an event where I could very easily
have been a Protege, given the company in the room (Chuck, I'm looking forward
to sitting down for lunch soon! Oh, and to the rest of you, that's Admiral
Chuck Saffell, USN (ret.) currently the CEO of Nortel Government
Additionally, my friend, advisor and someone whom I have the utmost level of
respect for, Admiral Jerry
Tuttle, was also one of the presenters that evening. If you've ever heard
Jerry speak, you understand why most of us mere mortals tremble at the thought
of having to follow him. Alas, I was lucky (if you call it that) to follow
Tony Jimenez, CEO of MicroTech LLC and a Member of The ASBC. He
did a great job and really raised the bar!
So I managed to stutter out a few intelligible sentences (actually, I think I
did allright!) and nobody booed or threw tomotoes! Just kidding.
One of the points I made that evening, is remebering when I first came into
this business, and being so green that it cracks me up to think of how I was
back then (sometime in the mid to late eighties). But I was fortunate to meet
many folks along the way willing to offer me a nudge here and there. Folks like
Joe Seaberry and Maryke Guild back in my days of TEMPEST systems for the
Intelligence Community, Charles "C.J." Johnson, Jim Little and Lewis Thompson,
all contributed to what eventually became the person that had the opportunity to
present the other evening.
I reference him
frequently, but it cannot be understated, Mark Amtower has had an incredibly
profound impact on my ability to "do it my way" and not get caught up in the
fray. If you have not had the opportunity to read Mark's latest book "Why Epiphanies Never Occur to
Couch Potatoes" you really should. It gives an honest, pure look at the man
who is my friend and mentor.
There are others who have had an impact on me as well. Although I did not
know him as long as I would have liked to, LTG Henry "Hank" Doctor, USA was someone whom I learned from
while he was with us, and even moreso now that he is gone. We should all aspire
to be as loved, honored and respected. He along with others, is the reason The
American Small Business Coalition has sustained and made a difference.
It doesn't end there though.
Thanks to folks like Carey Bandler, Chris Mckee, Jerry Tuttle and others, I
have these opportunities. To have someone like a Chuck Corjay say kind things about you, personally and
professionally, is a testament to those who have helped me get this far and a
testament to the character and spirit of someone like Chuck Corjay.
I hope I made a difference the other evening to at least one of the proteges
that was there. It's the least I can do in trying to pay forward some of the
generosity that I've received over the last twenty years.
If you don't currently mentor, take some time and make yourself available to
a group like AFCEA or a program through another organization you are affiliated
with. It helps, and it's gratifying.