Mentee vs. Mentoring – Suddarsun Shivakumar

Suddarsun and his previous mentors

       In my first year as a part of the Leadership Development Program (LDP), I was lucky because my mentor was Ed Kretch. Everyone respected him, and he set a great example of what an excellent mentor is. When I was a second-year member of the LDP, I realized that I now had to take on the role of a mentor and it seemed daunting. I quickly realized that I had to use the coaches in the program to become a great mentor. During my experience as a mentor, I have had my fair share of failures and successes. I have continuously learned and developed from these to be a better mentor through my second year. The coaches in the program played an important role in helping me see what exactly I needed to see in my failures and what I can learn from them.

       Dr. DeRuntz often says that third-year members in the LDP are a rare breed. I have come to realize that this is because of the challenges one might face as a third-year member. As the president of the LDP, my role as a mentor is not only to mentor the first-year members but also to see how I can help the second-year members in the program to work at their best. This has proven to be a challenging task.  With the help of my mentors I am able to continuously adapt to different situations that come up. The best part about being a mentor is that it’s a two-way street –you learn just as much as you teach. I have learned countless lessons from every single one of the second-year members. Olivia has taught me how to be more creative and open-minded as a leader, Nate has shown me how to be more patient as a leader, Zack has shown me how to effectively form relationships within the team, and Lincoln has shown me how to be more analytical and critical about decisions I make. My path from being a first-year member to third-year member was not an easy one, but it sure has taught me more than I can imagine. This priceless experience has taught me how to make teams that will last.