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Mentoring memories

Readers share their tales of great mentorships, past and present

Jen Weigel

January 20, 2012

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Our readers had plenty of feedback to share on the benefits of having a mentor at any stage of a career. Here were some of the comments we received in email and on Facebook.

"My high school teacher of 41 years ago, to this day, is still my mentor," wrote Cassandra. "She instilled in me the importance of loving the simple things in life — doing right by others and to be the best you can be in all that you do."

"I reached out to a photojournalist five years ago and she mentored me," wrote Tiffany. "Then she left the newspaper business and called on me for advice on the freelance photography route. We have touched each others' lives and we've never been in the same room! I'm finally meeting her in March when she comes to town. You are never too old to have a mentor. It keeps you focused and inspired!"

"Having one you truly admire encourages you to better yourself and therefore allows you to be a valuable mentor," wrote Jennifer. "Mentors push you, teach you and inspire you."

"I had one when I first started out as a writer because I knew I needed help and didn't know anybody in Chicago," wrote Mary. "We met every month for coffee or lunch. After a few years of getting my feet on the ground we stopped speaking on a monthly basis. I just recently got another one because I made a career change. I'm 45 and think you're never too old to learn from somebody else."

"I had a mentor when I was in EMT school," wrote Marnie. "She is the first full-time female firefighter on (her department). It was great having a strong female as a mentor. She showed me the struggles and taught me to never lie down. We are still friends today and she's still guiding me."

"The way the mentor/apprentice relationship progresses is fascinating," wrote Victoria. "I would not be where I am today without the influence of my mentor. But I don't think I would still call him that now. We have developed a friendship and support system with time. I rely on him, and he relies on me."

"I discovered my mentor at age 40 and went from an actress to a children's storyteller because of reading the book 'Educating Esme,'" wrote Nili. "Then I accidentally met her (the author) in person and I refer to her as my muse."

"Every important chapter in my life has had the great fortune of having an amazing mentor," wrote Adrian. "What I did not know when I was younger is that it is even more fun being a mentor!"

jweigel@tribune.com

Twitter: @jenweigel