At its best, the work you do allows you to have a life, to nuture your small talents and to increase your bandwidth. Without role models and mentors who show you how it's done, it's a lot harder to keep growing.
On my risk detective blog this morning, I thanked those who helped to make my new book possible. I mentioned three men no longer with us who had a profound influence on how I turned out and what I know -- the poet George Starbuck, for whom I worked at the Iowa Writers Workshop; the mastermind Ewen Dingwall ("Ding") who directed Seattle's World Fair and its presentation of the King Tut exhibit, where I was lucky enough to run the public affairs office; and arts patron and philanthropist Bagley Wright, for whom I worked at the Seattle Art Museum when he was interim director. I mentioned those three extraordinarily generous men because they each taught me lessons about professional intensity and personal grace.
Here, I'd like to mention a few others who taught me other important lessons over the years. First would be my father, who taught me how to argue either side of a case. My most significant teacher was at Buffalo Center High School -- Loren Larson, who taught music, voice, literature and an after-school classics course for those of us who were interested. Next would be my cousin Kay Knipe, whose professional career spanned Chicago and New York as I grew up, and who showed me that women could be heard at the highest levels. There's Kathryn Salyer Starbuck, who ran the anti-poverty program I worked for straight out of college and who taught me the foundational pieces around professional office behavior and practice. And then later, Nathan and Joan Lyons at Visual Studies Workshop, who created a program with genuine content that operated both inside and outside the box.
In Seattle, there have been no shortage of mentors and role models. First, John Blaine, former director of the Seattle Arts Commission. For time at the museum, both Bagley and Ding. From Delphi days, women like Phyllis Campbell, then CEO of U.S. Bank. From Washington Mutual, ethical executives like Bill Longbrake and Jim Vanasek.
From the banking years and my current practice, the six mentors whom I asked to review my book for publication: Cathy Allen, CEO of The Santa Fe Group; Pete O'Dell, CEO of Swan Island Networks; Brian Tishuk, Executive Director of ChicagoFIRST; Bill Raisch of New York University; Kevin Desouza, now Director of The Metropolitan Institute at Virginia Tech; and Al Martinez-Fonts, now with the U.S. Chamber, but earlier the Assistant Secretary for the Private Sector at DHS.
I am sure I have inadvertently left people off this list, but hope that you get the idea. I'm aware that I owe a lot to many people.