Matt Barrett still uses a key piece of advice given to him early in his career by mentor Harold Larson, former chairman of the Service Corps of Retired Executives.
“The first thing he told me is there are about 100 people in this community you need to get to know,” said Barrett, a partner with the business coaching company BusinessTruths Consulting.
“Once you get to know those 100 people, you will know everyone in town you need to fulfill your role. That core will help you connect. I found that to be absolutely true.”
Barrett will be one of about 50 presenters at the Colorado Springs Business Journal’s first Captains of Industry: Speed Mentoring event, from 7:30-9:30 a.m. May 19, at The Antlers hotel in downtown Colorado Springs. (Click here for tickets)
Barrett said Larson also told him to approach any relationship with an attitude of service.
“He said it’s not about what you can give to me, but what I can do for you.”
Turns in the road
The Captains of Industry event will be capped at 250 attendees, and will allow young professionals, professionals in transition and the simply curious to spend 10 minutes at a time with local titans of everything from fashion to firefighting, space, sports, beer brewing and banking — just to name a few.
Mentors will be at tables of five, and attendees can select the mentor and the industry. Every 10 minutes, they rotate tables.
Pamela Keller is executive vice president of sales and marketing for Keller Homes and will be one of the mentors at the May 19 event.
“I’ve had numerous mentors. I’m a big believer in that,” she said. “Every turn in the road was due to someone who helped me or mentored me along and my willingness to receive their advice.”
Keller left UCCS after her freshman year and earned her real estate license at 19. She returned to school at the urging of one of her mentors, UCCS Chancellor Pam Shockley-Zalabak, and completed her degree five years ago.
“I think I may have been the longest-running student at UCCS,” she quipped.
Being mentored helped her understand the importance of giving back to the community and helping others along.
“In my industry and Colorado Springs as a whole, there are those who are always willing to help,” she said. “Sometimes it means picking up the phone and asking. People are hesitant to do that, but you’d be surprised how many people will open doors for you.”
Keller said that one mentor early in her career helped by pointing out a weakness.
“One boss I was working for embarrassed me in a room full of people because I was a nervous Nellie speaking in public. He called me out, so I took courses in public speaking and it changed my life,” she said.
“Whether positive or negative, he wanted to improve me and he did. But it was a scary experience.”
Being proactive is one of the best general pieces of advice she gives people.
“Get involved in the community. Know what’s going on and keep learning,” she said. “Programs like Leadership Pikes Peak and Colorado Springs Leadership Institute are fantastic opportunities to open your eyes to the resources and people in the community.”
Barrett said it’s time to help those following in his footsteps.
“I feel that in an earlier stage of life I valued the input people gave to me,” he said. “Now that I’m more developed, I have something of value to give to [the next generation].
“And that’s how the world ought to work,” he continued. “Anyone can collect for a short amount of time, but at some point, you have to give back.”
And the protégées won’t be the only ones gaining something from the event, Barrett said.
“I get immense satisfaction from mentoring,” he said. “I learn more about topics teaching than on the other side taking notes.
“I have to know so much more to teach, and this challenges me to be better.”
If you go:
7:30-9:30 a.m., Thursday, May 19
The Antlers, 4 S. Cascade Ave.
$25 (includes breakfast)