Please enjoy our latest monthly updates from participants in the 2012 Mentoring Program. Applications for the 2013 program will be available in November.
Tom Foht, Kapur & Associates, Mentor
Jim and I have met three times. We are planning a fourth before the upcoming golf outing and we will partner up at the outing for a fifth meeting. I am hoping Jim takes over the mentor role and shows me the way to better golf! Just as we were told, the mentor program has been very rewarding for me in a couple of ways. One – meeting and building a friendship with Jim. Although we come from two very different business (an engineering firm and a bank), we have been able to discuss the importance of building strong lasting relationships and their value in creating a successful business no matter what industry we work within. We have discussed the basics of being part of a successful business – watching and learning from those within the business who have been successful and the emphasis of just plain old hard work! Of course I was honest. I noted some of the advice that I discussed was a result of trial and error that we all go through but much of what I ‘preach’ is already written out there for us to reference in books, magazines and podcasts. I passed on one of my favorites (Good to Great) for Jim to listen to and discussed how I have tried to adapt what I read from the book into our business. The second benefit I received from the program was a greater depth of knowledge of the banking/finance business that Jim was able to share with me. It shows we are never done learning and in our case, the more we can learn about each other’s business, the better off we may become in the development industry. Oh, there is one more thing I have learned – A great place to meet. We established our ‘hang out’ a place Jim suggested in Brookfield which was convenient for both of us – Parkside 23 (little plug for whoever wants to go to a very nice place with great atmosphere to carry on conversation – and good cold beer!). Proof the mentorship is working – last time Jim bought!
Jim Lange, Northshore Bank, Mentee
So what do a banker and engineer have in common? Well, we are both pretty good at numbers, but more importantly a passion for real estate. I am paired up with Tom Foht of Kapur & Associates, Inc. and have learned a lot from his experiences going from a technically strong engineer to a strong manager and leader in the industry and at Kapur. This is really how career progression works and just being excellent in your profession, be it engineering or banking, is not enough to become a leader. I knew you need all the right skills, such as presentation skills, goal setting and motivating people, but the philosophy that Tom mentioned that stuck with me is that you need to work with your team – they do not work for you. Maybe it is just semantics, but I think there is more to it than that. I took it to mean that as a manager of a team, you need to be invested in your team’s success, both as a whole and at the individual level. You need to be part of the team and do not let titles or rank get in the way of accomplishing the objective, in other words, roll up your sleeves and get the job done along with your team members. Doing this well and consistently is long term career objective, but the mindset is what is important and can be applied to all aspects of life, not just at work. I look forward to continuing my conversations with Tom about business and the real estate industry, but he will be disappointed if he is depending on my golf game to save our foursome at NAIOP’s golf outing on the 27th.