By Patricia L. Fitzgerald, Editor 2013-07-30 03:29:14
My Own Memorable Mentor I suspect that most of us can identify multiple mentors who influenced our growth in our careers—and our growth as caring human beings. Still, as I ponder this month’s topic and reflect on those who have made an impact on my professional choices, I realize that, for the purposes of this column, I need to draw a distinction between all those who have encouraged and supported me in a thousand different ways and those who have provided that unique combination of teaching, advising, cheerleading and role modeling. With that in mind, I would like to cite Adrienne Gall Tufts as my most influential professional mentor. Some of you will remember Adrienne as a former editor of this magazine (1990-96). We met at the American Society for Training and Development (ASTD), which was my first job after college. She was the managing editor for the monthly magazine, and while our editor-in-chief was a most supportive boss, it was Adrienne who influenced the course of my career in numerous ways. Although she was only a few years older, Adrienne impressed the heck out of me with her confidence and her incredible organizational skills. She taught me how to manage all the jigsaw pieces involved with putting together a magazine—one with the added complexity of article content that was peer reviewed. Not only did she model her expertise, she was a generous teacher, continually feeding my interest to learn and do more. I also appreciated that she was never threatened by the talents that I had to offer; she recognized them and put them to work to complement her own. When we each left ASTD to pursue other opportunities, we stayed in close touch as friends and through the freelance editing and writing assignments that she sent my way. Adrienne’s ongoing trust in my skills was an important professional lifesaver, as I weathered the confidence-questioning slings and arrows of a few bad bosses. I came to realize that Adrienne was exactly the kind of magazine editor I wanted to be. She had a vision for each of the publications she helmed—what they could and should be in service to the reader—and she was fiercely committed to that vision. She certainly transformed this magazine back in the early Nineties. I am so grateful that fate brought me the opportunity in 1994 to join Adrienne full-time once again, working on the magazine team and continuing to grow under her tutelage as her managing editor. We only worked together for a few years before she made the difficult decision to step down, stay at home and raise her family, and I was named her successor as editor. Over the course of the last decade, we have drifted apart, I’m sorry to report. But despite that, and although my tenure with SNA has long outstripped hers, I can say with complete assurance that Adrienne’s influence on this magazine persists—because of her enduring influence on me.
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