A few weeks ago, a dear former supervisor of mine passed away. He was a good man, and I very much enjoyed working with him and learning from him in my previous career in the public service. He was someone who I considered to be a valuable mentor to me, although not in any formal sense.

My reflections on this sad event, combined with a discussion on Twitter at the time about mentoring arrangements, had me thinking about the mentors - in my case they were usually also supervisors - who have encouraged and supported me in my career and life.

I consider that I've had four or five mentors during my career. They have all been generous people who:
  • believed in me
  • fostered my skills
  • encouraged me to stretch myself
  • supported and encouraged my career aspirations (not just in the job/workplace I was in at the time)
  • promoted me to others
  • applauded my achievements
  • kept in touch after I'd moved on
One day, I might gain the confidence to ask someone that I admire to be a 'formal' mentor, but in the meantime I count myself very lucky to have had these informal mentors in my life.

By the way, I attended a very interesting session at ALIA New Librarians Symposium 2008 regarding mentoring, from Jill Benn and Michelle Brennand. The accompanying paper is located HERE. This session really made me consider the benefits of mentoring arrangements, and the paper is well worth a read.