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Not Teacher But Awakener

I was recently talking with a few colleagues and the discussion turned to the topic of mentors. The question of who our mentors were and why was thrown out on the table and brought about an interesting conversation. You won’t be surprised that qualities such as “driven,” “tough but fair,” and “had your back” were used to describe the people who served as our coaches, advisers, and guides. Ours were also experts in their professions, successful, and fiercely loyal to those invited under their wings.

As each person shared their stories, I couldn’t help but think how lucky one is to have a mentor and how important it is to one’s growth, maturation, and success. No one in our group picked anyone without integrity and character, or anyone who didn’t see being a mentor as an important role. Under the guidance of our mentors, we each awoke to our own potential and learned firsthand what qualities go into being successful in any pursuit.

I’ve been fortunate to have several mentors. One who comes to mind was a guy I  met in the military and served with in the Iraq war. He taught me how to look after people, was one of the most technically proficient people I have ever met, and there wasn’t a challenge he couldn’t overcome.

What about you? Have you thought about your mentor lately? What characteristics stand out about your mentor? Are you a mentor? And finally, have you thanked your mentor lately?

About Casey Jones, CAPP

Casey Jones, CAPP is vice president for university services at SP Plus Corporation. He is IPI past chair and services on the IPI Parking Matters Committee and Accredited Parking Organization board of directors.


  1. Rick Decker says:

    Thanks for raising this opportunity in our lives. It is interesting that in less than an hour I’m meeting with the first of a series of mentor meetings.
    Your point of a both being a mentor and of setting up our own mentors shows that we must actively pursue this benefit both for ourselves but also for those under our care. These important relationships and opportunities don’t just happen on their own.
    I’m interested to hear what others have to say on this series of topics.
    Thanks again for your willingness to step out for all of us.



  2. Dennis Burns says:

    Hi Casey,
    Nice blog post and a very worthy topic. Being a mentor is rewarding both for the “mentee” (if there is such a word) and the “mentor”. Being a mentor is not selfless act, the rewards are great on both sides of the equation. I would love to participate in this dicussion going forward!


  3. Liliana Rambo says:

    Yes, I do think about my mentor and do thank God for placing her in my life very early on during my parking career. She has all the qualities mentioned above and did not mind sharing her skills. I admired her determination, knowledge, attitude and the way she handled herself in a world that was very male dominated back in the 80′s. So, here is to you, Ms. Karen Wilson, Thank you for showing me the ropes, standing up for me and always caring!!!

  4. Julie E. North says:

    Casey, great opportunity for a discussion. My career started at the Oregon Health Sciences University in 1986. I have remained in higher education for the last twenty-seven years. My mentors have been multi-generaltional, both maie and female. There were so many that “had my back” and only a few that didn’t. This is my fourth university and my third parking department. I have to say that out of all of my mentors, my current Boss, Chuck Scott, has been the best! Illinois State University in my opinion is the best university and I am lucky that I work in such a truly caring and mentoring environment. I’m getting closer to retirement and I remember what they taught me and feel as though I have grown up in higher education. It’s good to be a mentor and satisfying to know that people you mentored and guided along their paths are now experiencing success.

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