Famous mentors and mentees that became very successful

Throughout history, there have been relationships that have changed the course of the world or that have been so influential that even books have been written about them. We all know CEOs that are very successful or young entrepreneurs that became millionaires before the age of 30. But how did they do it? Self-made or did they have some help?

Most of them, of course, had some help and cashed in on it. They had the perfect mentors and made that relationship a count in their lives. Let’s take a look at some of those mentee-mentor relationships that have crossed borders and that are well-known for their success.

Steve Jobs was a mentor for Mark Zuckerberg in the early days of Facebook. They often met to discuss the way that the business should be managed and which were the next steps Mark had to take in order to grow his business and make an impact on the world. The day that Steve Jobs died Mark posted on his Facebook page that he would miss him greatly and that he had been a very good friend and mentor, showing him that he could change the world with his actions.   

In the world of anchoring in big companies such as CBS, women used to be left in second place when it came to anchoring the news or important issues. Nowadays it is very common to see women doing this role. Well, Connie Chung was the first woman to co-anchor CBS Evening News and earned a spot anchoring some of the biggest news programs in the biggest network newscasts and she mentored Kyung B. Yoon. After some time Yoon said that she wasn’t even interested in working in the TV business but after having Connie as a mentor her whole view changed and she saw journalism as a very viable career.  

Bob Dylan
Image courtesy of Jazz Guy at Flickr.com

Musicians also have mentors in their careers and maybe a lot of people don’t know this but Bob Dylan had a very good mentor that made his career what it was and made him continue pursuing his goal to take music to the highest level. Dylan´s mentor was the very well-known musician Woody Guthrie. Bob Dylan used to listen to woody’s music when he was just a teenager and used to write him his songs for his approval. Dylan was so moved and influenced by Woody that he wrote “Song to Woody” in order to acknowledge his influence over his music.

Let’s talk about powerful women in business. Sheryl Sandberg who was the COO, Chief Operation officer for Facebook had a share of mentors that she appreciates and gives credit for her success. She had many mentors in many stages of her life but she remembers one that played an amazing role in her life: it was her college teacher Larry Summers who was her mentor and sponsor. They worked together at the World Bank and the Treasury Department and she has not fallen short of words when it comes to giving him the credit for her success in life.

Politicians also need mentors and that is the case of Astronaut and former U.S. Senator John Glenn. He owes his success, as he says, to his civics teacher when he was just a teenager running around in high school. He had the privilege to be mentored by almost an unknown person to the public but he acknowledges the work of his mentor by speaking about the importance of mentorship programs in early stages of life and the satisfaction that mentors get when they see their efforts reflected on their mentees and the way the can help and mentor others that come to them.

Mother Teresa Quote
Image courtesy of Denise Krebs at Flickr.com

In the world of religion, mother Teresa of Calcutta who was a very well-known person that gave her life to patients with AIDS and helped other charities also had a mentor. Her mentor was Father Michael van der Peet. Their relationship started when they were both waiting to catch a bus in the middle of Rome and they constantly exchanged ideas and had a very close relationship. Mother Teresa of Calcutta owed him a great deal as she always said that he was the person that inspired her to help others and to dedicate her life to all the charities she sponsored.

Christian Dior, the fashion god as he is known mentored the other fashion master Yves St. Laurent. Both met in Paris at a party thrown by Vogue and St. Laurent was fascinated by Dior from the very beginning. He used to say that he Dior taught him the entire basis that he knew about his art in fashion.  St. Laurent then replaced Dior as the designer of the Dior couture house, which in turn made his career grow to what we know today.  

Everybody needs a mentor or has had a mentor at any point in their lives. Think about who was, is or has been your mentor and you will see that the influence that person had in your life could still be seen in all your actions.

Be sure to also read this post about what some of the most famous leaders have to say about mentoring.

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Mentoring According To Some Of The Most Famous Leaders In The World

One of the most important characteristics prosperous entrepreneurs and famous business leaders share in common is the understanding that success is not the product of a one-man show, but instead is the result of multiple efforts coming from many individuals who have a common goal and a shared drive to see those efforts realized.

Someone once said that mentoring relationships are often not mentioned by some entrepreneurs when they talk about their methods and their road to success because they believe this to be a sign of weakness. Nothing could be further from the truth, as having a mentor shows that you have a willingness to learn and that you understand that you are not yourself a finished product, but instead an individual who has yet much to learn and is eager to do something about it. That type of mindset shows great strength and a keen sense of responsibility, something that is commendable and that sets the right example for others to follow.

Famous mentoring relationships are common today as many of these names that have become a staple, talk about their mentors with fondness and give much credit to these partnerships by counting them amongst one of the most important building blocks of their own success.

Richard Branson – Virgin

Richard Branson’s appreciation for mentors come from his early age and the lessons learned from his eccentric uncle Jim. Branson talks about how he saw in his uncle this ability to understand things that others simply mocked and weren’t able to fully comprehend.

These teachings are something that has always characterized Virgin’s CEO as a man who takes risks and that looks at the world from a different perspective. It is important to note that some of those risks aren’t always successful, but the ability to look past the preconceived notions of others is a great virtue that one should nurture.

When it comes to business he also gives a lot of credit to Sir Freddie Laker, especially during his times of struggle while trying to get Virgin Atlantic off the ground. Branson knows that having the courage to admit that a mentor can help you is one of the trademarks of a great leader.

Mary Barra – General Motors

Mary Barra is another outstanding leader who has been successful against all odds, especially during a time when the automotive industry was struggling like never before. She believes in the strength of mentorship as a multifaceted strategy that should address several aspects of the individual. Not only worrying about the business side, but also the personal growth of both people involved in the partnership. Barra talks about the importance of building a network of mentors while having in mind your mid-term and long-term goals in order to map out strategies to get there. She also talks about not having to always look up to seek your sources of strength but to also look at your peers and your employees as prospective allies in your path to growth.

Mark Zuckerberg  – Facebook

More than 1 billion people are currently active on Facebook. When you talk about success, Facebook’s co-founder and CEO is one of the people you will most definitely think about. Mark Zuckerberg created a company that definitely changed the world and he attributes a lot of his success to one of the men who inspired him with his mentorship, that man was Steve Jobs. Jobs talked to him about the importance of building a team above anything else, and how it was so crucial to instill in that team a sense of accountability and focus on the mission at hand. It is important to understand that sometimes your mission needs to go beyond what it is that your company creates. He taught him about building something bigger than himself and being able to truly touch people’s lives.

Mark Zuckerberg_facebook_leaders_mentoring
Image courtesy of Dan Farber at Flickr.com

Bill Gates – Microsoft

One of the most famous mentoring relationships in the world is probably that of Bill Gates and Warren Buffet. Both Buffet and Gates are in the list of the world’s wealthiest men, and they have both built their empires from very humble beginnings. Gates has mentioned in numerous interviews that he great appreciates the way Warren Buffett helped him to learn to think in long-term and how setbacks are simply part of the journey to accomplishing bigger and better things. He also talks about the man’s ability to break down complex situations into simple concepts that can be easily analyzed and explained.

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Image courtesy of Red Maxwell at Flickr.com

Bill Gates is not the only one who feels fortunate of having Buffet as his mentor. Warren Buffett himself admires the way Bill Gates handles wealth and how he feels that he has an intrinsic responsibility with the world and with using his position of privilege to change the world for the better.

For more great articles check out Suzzanne Uhland’s blog today.

* Featured Image courtesy of Red Maxwell at Flickr.com

The mentor who made possible Mark Zuckerberg become millionaire before 30

Becoming millionaire requires a lot of skills such as  creativity, motivation and a lot of other qualities. This is a fact all people know. But, what most of us ignore is the dramatical change a mentor could do to your idea. In fact, mentoring is a tool for individual self-improvement as well as mechanism to pass skills and knowledge down from generation to generation.

facebook_Mark Zuckerberg_mentoring_suzzanne uhland
Image courtesy of zsoolt at Flickr.com

What is Facebook?

Facebook is one of the most famous  social network. The website was launched on February 4, 2004 by Mark Zuckerberg with his Harvard College roommates.  The website was initially limited to Harvard students, but later expanded it to colleges in the Boston area, the Ivy League, and Stanford University.

As students felt supported by the emergent social network, its popularity increased. Hence, Facebook was opened for 13 year-old and older public. It was and still remain as phenomenon. The name came from the face book directories often given to American university students.

Who is Mark Zuckerberg?

Mark Zuckerberg is a young American programmer and internet entrepreneur. He is the chairman, CEO and co-founder of Facebook. He made Facebook possible thanks to several mentors. Actually, he is connected with some of the biggest names in technology and media, and learned crucial lessons from each of them. When asked whether Facebook could earn more income from advertising as a result of its phenomenal growth, he explained:

“I guess we could….. If you look at how much of our page is taken up with ads compared to the average search query. The average for us is a little less than 10 percent of the pages and the average for search is about 20 percent taken up with ads….. That’s the simplest thing we could do. But we aren’t like that. We make enough money. Right, I mean, we are keeping things running; we are growing at the rate we want to.”

Despite the fact Zuckerberg received mentoring from one of the biggest informatic creators, Steve Jobs, there is another mentor who accompanied Zuckerberg before. This mentor was The Washington Post chief executive Donald Graham.   

Who is Don Graham?

Mr. Donald E. Graham,or Don Graham, served as the Chief Executive Officer of Graham Holdings Company (formerly The Washington Post Company) from May 1991 to November 12, 2015. He also has served as the Chief Executive Officer of the following corporations:

Kaplan, Inc
WP Company LLC
The Washington Post Co

Also, he has been the director of:

Kaplan, Inc
Graham Holdings Company
IBM Kenexa BrassRing Inc
Summit Fund of Washington
Facebook, Inc
WP Company LLC
Columbia College Access Program.
And,  president of Harvard Crimson.

How did Don Graham make Facebook expand in the way it did?

Surprisingly, they first met when Facebook was just a dorm-room business. Although Facebook was a local social network community,  Graham was so taken with the idea and  he wanted to invest immediately. Nevertheless, the investment never occurred but they both become very close. Then, when Facebook expanded in 2007, Zuckerberg emailed to say: “I’m a CEO now, and would like to shadow you and see what you do.” Graham accepted and invited Zuckerberg to spend a few days going to executive meetings, exploring the newsroom and attending an investor conference.

The young and neo CEO did not waste his time. He learnt everything need to adapt himself to a CEO’s life. After a some teachings and experiences, Zuckerberg and Graham continued the mutually beneficial relationship, gaining insight into each other’s very different worlds. A close person to the Graham family stated “Don will have ideas and questions that he’ll want to bounce off Mark and similarly Mark takes counsel from Don,” “They have a very close relationship that focuses on business issues and dilemmas.”

What can we learn from this?

Successful people often seek out the best mentors, and listen to advice from many different sources.

Mentors do not need to be necessary from your same industry. Some companies are base on different kind of product or services and it doesn’t mean what their CEO know could not be apply to other field.

Mentees should take advantage as much as possible to what their mentors say. Although they can modify or ignore some advices, it is important to keep listening them and ask their opinions when a new idea or trouble emerge.

Donald C. Graham_mentor_Mark Zuckerberg_suzzanne uhland

“I was lucky to become a Facebook board member in late 2008. Restricted stock units granted me at the time have increased many times in value.”

Donald E. Graham