In late November, Miller Center held a Mentor Appreciation Night honoring our cadre of 200+ volunteer mentors, the individuals who make the Global Social Benefit Institute (GSBI®) Methodology possible and our accelerator programs impactful.  It was wonderful to see so many of our fantastic mentors at the event!  The hall in Santa Clara University’s Nobili Dining Room buzzed with everyone meeting up and celebrating the close of a successful year for the mentor network.  We had a well-rounded turnout with long-term mentors meeting alongside new folks just getting involved. The dinner bell was barely audible over the din of conversation!

About the Mentor Appreciation Night

Miller Center uses this annual event to thank mentors for all the efforts expended on behalf of GSBI and its community of Social Entrepreneurs. In the past, appreciation of mentors coincided with the annual In-Residence celebration dinner, but this year and in years to come we will be keeping the mentor appreciation night separate to recognize all mentor efforts independent of a cohort event.

As a mentor I believe the reward is in the work, and I’m not alone in this opinion. I also understand that many mentors don’t usually want or need special appreciation or thank you. But, as Director of the Mentor Network, my gratitude has expanded and now includes a desire to recognize the amazing group of people I have the privilege to serve. So for one day a year, we set aside some time to recognize and celebrate the people in our network, and the amazing services they provide.
— Lynne Anderson, Mentor Network Director

In case you missed this year’s event, the informational portion of the evening included a status report on the mentor network, and a review of the plans for the upcoming GSBI accelerator cohorts  launching in the coming months. But, more importantly, we celebrated milestones for several mentors. First, we took the time to welcome the class of 2018 with 31 new mentors who successfully completed their mentor-in-training positions for the 2018 cohorts.

We also applauded the dedication and efforts of four fantastic mentors, presenting them with their five-year service awards.  Congratulations and many thanks to Alex Limberis, Alina Adams, Elizabeth Rafael, and Lakshmi Karan.

Finally, we surprised nine mentors who’ve been with us for 10+ years.  The distinguished list included: Arvind Deogirikar, Bob MacDonald, Bret Waters, Dennis Reker, Eric Carlson, Jeff Miller, John Kohler, José Flahaux, and Pamela Roussos.  

The final product : Personalized hardbound books containing personalized impact metrics, quotes, and photos for the 10+ year mentors.

The final product : Personalized hardbound books containing personalized impact metrics, quotes, and photos for the 10+ year mentors.

For this distinguished group, Miller Center creative folks (Karen Paculba, Alexis Tong, and Maya Duggal) designed and prepared customized hardbound books summarizing the mentor’s invaluable participation to Miller Center GSBI programs.  

Bob MacDonald pictured receiving his gift, recognizing 10+ years of service as a mentor to Miller Center social entrepreneurs.

Bob MacDonald pictured receiving his gift, recognizing 10+ years of service as a mentor to Miller Center social entrepreneurs.

These books contain special notes of thanks from Miller Center staff and a summary of the full effect of each mentor’s impact on GSBI alums and their organizations.  To bring back memories of past enterprises, we added a copy of the related investment profiles, along with notes from fellow mentors and social entrepreneurs expressing their gratitude and sharing memories from the past.  

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The centerfold of the book also contains a prototype infographic we refer to as the Mentor Dashboard or “The Big Picture” which will be rolled out to the broader mentor network later this year.  Take a look at an example provided below. You will see all the places in the world this mentor visited (at least virtually) and a summary of his impact.

In the upper left corner you can see that this mentor worked with 18 social entrepreneurs, 14 still remain in operation, with a total combined impact reaching the lives of 29 million people, and raising a sum total of $55 Million dollars! Every mentor has a unique footprint and each one is truly amazing.

In the upper left corner you can see that this mentor worked with 18 social entrepreneurs, 14 still remain in operation, with a total combined impact reaching the lives of 29 million people, and raising a sum total of $55 Million dollars! Every mentor has a unique footprint and each one is truly amazing.

A big thank you to my fellow mentors, and Miller Center staff* who made the evening so special.  Mark your calendars for next November 13th, 2019 when we meet to celebrate the next batch of mentors with five and 10-year service awards.

*Special thanks to Spencer Arnold, Alexis Tong, Sharon Bunyard, Maya Duggal for their fantastic work in planning and making this event so successful!

A brief overview of our mentors:

The volunteers who participate as executive mentors to social entrepreneurs in GSBI accelerator programs at Miller Center for Social Entrepreneurship are selected for their business acumen as CEOs, VPs, VCs, Board Chairs, and subject matter experts, as well as the values that make them trusted advisors to the program participants they support over the course of several months through weekly calls and in-person deep dives. They are committed and caring, they actively listen, they search for the need and the problem and ask probing questions to help business leaders find the right solutions. They are humble and generous, and they are energized by working with business leaders solving social problems around the world.

To learn more about being a Miller Center Mentor, check out our website and let us know if you are interested in joining the most exclusive club in Silicon Valley!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

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Lynne Anderson is the Mentor Network Director at Miller Center for Social Entrepreneurship. She is an Environmental and Business sustainability management professional with expertise in project management and strategic environmental analysis, sustainability, compliance, and accounting. She has extensive and broad-based industry experience in aerospace, steel, auto, electronics manufacturing, and medical sciences, and is equipped with excellent team building, mediation, and executive presentation skills. She holds an MBA from Columbia Business School and Haas School of Business.