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Bonus Focus - Member Solutions: The Ideal Mentor


By Tim Sosbe

Mentoring is a key tool in personal and professional development. Mentors and coaches provide guidance, feedback and direction as needed and when needed to keep careers on track, lives balanced and success blooming.

In the Fall 2013 issue of Focus magazine, we've debuted a new feature article that connects with SPBT members to share "Member Solutions” for key industry challenges and practices. In the first issue, mailing to readers and posting online around Oct. 21, we spoke with six SPBT members about their experiences and advice around mentoring.

But before you check out that article, you can get to know the expert guides on this topic. We asked all six a very simple question, and heard some very different answers. That question? "If you could have any person in the world serve as your mentor, who would that be?”

Ponder that question for yourself as you review these diverse answers. Some ideal mentors are here, some sadly are no longer and at least one never was.

  • Richard Sampson is director, scientific knowledge capabilities, for GlaxoSmithKline. He's been involved in some aspect of mentoring his entire career. He's obviously had some good role models, and his ideal mentor request reflects that: "My Father. He passed away in 2010 and had been a personal mentor to me for as long as I can remember. The uniqueness of the personal accountability component that he added is the real difference he provided versus many in the business world.”
  • Jim Trunick, senior director of corporate training and development at Allergan, went the same way with his mentor request, "My Dad.” Family members are certainly the source for guidance and direction for many.
  • David Brin is worldwide manager, curriculum strategy, design & governance, for Ethicon Biosurgery. His ideal mentor would be a true business leader who sadly isn't available any longer. As Brin said, "Steve Jobs (I know, not possible).”
  • David Fortanbary, is executive director, USP sales & access learning, for Bristol-Myers Squibb. His ideal mentor is divinely inspired to do good work: "Bishop David Thagana of the Global Outreach Assembly in Nairobi, Kenya.”
  • Shawn Andrews, senior training manager,global medical affairs, for Allergan was also inspired to study with the famous. The mentor she picked, however, actually does make a living being a mentor. "Tony Robbins,” she said. "What can I say … I'm a fan.”
  • Sue Iannone is formerly a learning leader with Merck, where she was involved in mentoring, including through the Merck Women's Network. Iannone's ideal mentors are a mix of the real, the fictional and a friend: "Martha Stewart for her cooking prowess, MacGyver for his super-fast ad-hoc creativity (I'm dating myself here!) and (SPBT President) Carol Wells for successful women in learning leadership.”

Who's your ideal mentor? Share your top choices or wish list with us!

Tim Sosbe is editor of Focus magazine and editorial director for SPBT. Email Tim.


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