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Monday, April 8, 2024

For April 2024 National Volunteer Month – What Makes It All Worthwhile?


The ultimate reward ? When a small business puts their own unique twists on basic suggestions and develops a thriving enterprise.


I had two mentors at key points in my 36 year career in Aerospace.

They were a combination of technical, management and communications talent, rarely found in high tech industry. Neither placed salary, position or ego ahead of developing their subordinates and each reached the pinnacle of their respective careers for exactly that trait.  Their skills at developing and utilizing people were their most highly valued qualities.

I owe my survival in a very hectic environment to those two and much of my ability to guide and counsel individuals as well as communicate effectively springs from their legacy of guidance.

 Mentoring can be a dynamic, two way street.

The most successful organizations pair experienced personnel as models on a staff basis with junior ones. Each has individual assignments and reports to the boss but the senior party is the example in the process/experience-driven aspects of the job and is available to answer questions. The younger individual infuses the older one with energy and new ideas much like osmosis.

The result is a hybrid of old and new that has been put together by a team. The approach works extremely well, imposes on no one, results in the young and old learning by observation, satisfaction and recognition for collective efforts and reduction in the boss’s work load. A “Win-Win” all around. 

Small business volunteering has kept me active in retirement, in touch with my profession and engaged in a continuous learning mode. It has been my “Window On The World” in pursuing those objectives.

I believe we are growing entrepreneurs more than growing monumentally successful enterprises. They, in turn, will grow their unique forms of business using their efforts, not ours. We do not do it for them. They do it for themselves. Hopefully our suggestions help. I have been pleased again and again when a small business owner took my basic suggestions, put their own unique twists on them and developed a thriving business. That is the ultimate reward.

I help with background and knowledge for the entrepreneur to consider as he or she makes decisions. I experience satisfaction every day from the work and I value being useful to highly motivated entrepreneurs who wish to succeed.

I view volunteer counseling much like a garden—a place to plant seeds, a place to grow fruitful enterprises and a place to harvest personal satisfaction and the gratitude of others.

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