Our inaugural Mentoring Program continues through the end of this year. Read below for the experience from Jim Parks of Berghammer Construction and Nicole Willoughby of Associated Bank.
Jim Parks, Berghammer Construction
Nicole and I have met 3 or 4 times as part of the mentoring experience. In addition to getting to know more about each other on a personal level, we have shared work related challenges with one another. While on a recent trip to visit a job site, I used Nicole as a sounding board for some issues I have been having with younger members of our work force. Nicole’s perspective has given me a clearer understanding of how these people view things a bit differently than perhaps my generation does when it comes to work/life balance and their overall expectations. So, even the mentor can learn from this process if you recognize your mentee as a resource and you are willing to listen to their advice. Thanks to Nicole for listening to me and sharing her insights!
Nicole Willoughby, Associated Bank
This is the first time I’ve been part of a formalized mentorship program. Being paired with Jim Parks, an owner at Berghammer Corp. has been very interesting. All other ‘informal’ mentors in my past have been bankers and this has been an opportunity to think outside the box a bit more. Jim Parks and I have met for lunch on three occasions. Our first meeting included a long get to know each other lunch. We shared personal experiences and also discussed our career paths. It was interesting to discover that Jim was an attorney before he transitioned into the construction industry. His advice on transitioning from an attorney to the construction industry was eye-opening and practical. His advice included that you must do what makes you happy. If you do what you truly enjoy doing, then all else will fall into place. We discussed the challenges in today’s economy and the differences in generations and a shift in priorities, such as a better work/life balance in today’s generation. We have both shared with the other our place of work, by giving a tour of each other’s offices. Our most recent meeting included a tour of Berghammer and then a construction site tour to observe how precast concrete panels were being installed for a built-to-suit building. Jim has raised good points in regards to career paths, the challenges and rewards of being in a management role and also the importance and value in having strong negotiating skills. I also have observed the value that Berghammer places onto their employees. Not all companies today seem to take ownership in their strongest asset, the employees. By being competitive, keeping people challenged, and also devoting time to discuss their future career paths with all employees is very important in retaining talent. I have found the NAIOP mentorship program very rewarding and beneficial. This opportunity will carry on for a lifetime.