As the inaugural Mentoring Program moves on, we will continue to share participants experiences. Read on to find out about the importance of preparation and proper training on who should be buying the drinks.
From Mentor Paul Votto, Wimmer Brothers, NAIOP WI Past President 2007
Mike and I have met twice (not counting our initial get together at the formal NAIOP-WI mentoring kick-off). Once for a couple of hours over drinks (yes, I bought) and once at a recent NAIOP-WI event (where we each bought a round, demonstrating the impact I am already having on him). It is my goal that, at our final mentoring session, he picks up the entire tab. Then I will know I have truly succeeded with him.
One of the interesting aspects of this mentoring thing is that it compels you as the “mentor” to think hard about what “wisdom” it is that you want to share. It forces you to look back on your own career and ask and answer the questions: What would I have wanted to know when I was first starting out? What lessons have I learned? I know in my case, most of the really “good” things I’ve learned have usually come from “bad” experiences – a project that didn’t turn out to be as successful as it looked like on the pro forma; a partnership that went sideways; and, more recently, an industry that went upside down. I presume that this “learning from failure” phenomenon is something most of us share. I wish there was a better way; but I haven’t found it. Not to say I haven’t had my successes but I guess the only thing I’ve ever learned from success is that I want to repeat it!
So if most of my learning is from “bad experiences” and I want to share the important things I’ve learned with Mike then I’ve got to share some of those things that didn’t work out so well. That’s a lot to ask for with someone who you just met and is compounded by the fear of sounding like an old guy just sharing war stories. But in event, pushing those fears aside, that’s what I’ve tried to do in my limited time with Mike: share the good and the bad; talk about some of the things not to do; talk about the importance of perseverance and the power of reputation. For his part, he’s been incredibly receptive and mature. He’s been around enough so that he gets it. He’s got enough enthusiasm balanced with some healthy pragmatism to lead me to believe he will do quite well in the future. It’s been a pleasure getting to know him and, I look forward, to staying abreast of his future accomplishments.
From Mentee Mike Riopel, Whyte Hirchboeck Dudek
I’ve had the opportunity to meet with my mentor Paul Votto twice so far and have thoroughly enjoyed each occurrence. It has been a great opportunity to learn from his experience and Paul has provided an honest and insightful portrait of how his experiences (the good and the bad) have shaped his life. Paul has been refreshingly candid about how some of the best and most valuable lessons in life can be taken from events or deals that did not always go exactly as planned. An insight I’m sure many in the real estate industry can relate to in facing the current economic recovery.
We had our first meeting over drinks at Blue Mound Country Club where Paul invited me as his guest. We discussed in more detail each of our own background and interests. Paul shared his unique journey of how he grew up in theMiamiarea and how he eventually made his way to sunnyMilwaukee. I shared about growing up in northern Wisconsin and how my interest in real estate has led me to law school at Marquette. We are both examples how life does not always come with a map.
Throughout our conversation Paul provided insightful stories and lessons. Particularly, Paul mentioned that many people can overlook how important preparation can be. Whether it’s for a networking event, a public speaking engagement or even the shortest of meetings; putting in the time to prepare beforehand can make the up most difference in making the most of your time in execution. Many times putting in the time to prepare can even be the more beneficial use of your time between the two.
Paul and I met again at the NAIOP Fantasy Masters Happy Hour. We discussed our approaches to picking fantasy golfers (I admit Paul’s approach was far more technical than my close my eyes and point technique). We had opportunity to discuss more current events in our own professional lives. Paul has been busy with his role at Wimmer Brothers and I have been busy finishing up law school preparing to move onto the next step. We plan to get together in the next few weeks for some golf. Again, nobody has handed us a mentorship instruction manual but if our experience thus far has been any indication, I’m excited to learn more and believe we’ve set the groundwork for an exciting and mutually beneficial experience.