Luke Skywalker and Yoda. Helen Keller and Anne Sullivan. The Karate Kid and Mr. Miyagi. Whether fictional or factual, every hero’s journey involves a knowledge acquisition phase followed by a distribution phase.
It also frequently includes — at least at first — an underestimation by the protagonist about how much the mentor will change the trajectory of their life. In other words, the young “protégé” doesn’t realize who’s in the room with them.
So, the mentee overfocuses on the task portion during the knowledge transfer and overlooks the relationship aspect of it. Perhaps missing the most valuable portion of the exchange.
It’s my pleasure to welcome Terri Krivosha for the second part of our business and mentorship pod. Terri’s a respected business attorney with a reputation for successfully mediating highly complicated commercial disputes. By her own admission, she loves to untangle tough “business divorces.”
Terri joins us to share her story, with a special focus on the critical role that mentors played along her journey. And, as is often the case, this spiritual and professional guidance Terri zestfully reciprocates to others, giving her a perspective through both peepholes.
Today, we unpeel mentorship’s many layers, including what to do, what not to do, the gravitas of the exchange, and how to handle it when it hurts.
What You’ll Learn in this Episode:
- Nurturing vs. exploiting
- Being in competition with yourself
- Democrats & Republicans in kindergarten
- Intentional + predictable + flexible
- Realizing your mentor is human
Listen to the Full Episode:
Featured on the Show:
Tough question alert! Look at the global mobility mentor you’ve selected. Then ask yourself: “Are they the best person to learn from or is there a wiser choice?” Align yourself with a trusted global coach right here and get the knowledge transfer from someone who’s been there before.
- Sundae’s Website
- Sundae’s Facebook Business Page – Sundae Schneider-Bean LLC
- Sundae Bean – YouTube
- Wisdom Fusion Project
- Maslon – Website
- Terri Krivosha – LinkedIn
- Summer Institute of Intercultural Communication
- The Institute of Equity-Centered Coaching
- Da Da Ding – Nike Song
We’re delighted to be in the Top 5 of the global Best 30 Expat Podcasts!
Full Episode Transcript:
Hello, it is 10:00 pm in New York, 4:00 pm in Johannesburg, and 9:00 pm in Bangkok. Welcome to IN TRANSIT with Sundae Bean. And I’m actually really IN TRANSIT right now as I sit in a temporary apartment as we just landed in Switzerland. And in addition to being in transition, I am on a mission to help you adapt and succeed through any life transition.
Way back when I was getting my honors thesis for my bachelor’s degree, I had the honor, which I didn’t know was an honor at the moment to be mentored by Dr. Karlyn Kohrs Campbell. I was going to talk about how the media criticized women in politics, and that was my idea to talk about the First Ladies, Elizabeth Dole and Hillary Clinton, and how the media criticized them differently. Went into my office with my first draft and she had written notes on it. I looked at my draft, this was the old school days where it was in ink, there was red everywhere. I barely walked into the door, she handed the paper back and she said, “Good for a start, but here’s what we’ll do instead.” She loaded my arms up with books and as I walked out, I realized they were all written by her.
I had been meant hurt by one of the leading thinkers on the media’s critique of women in politics. It was that moment that I realized this is an important woman in my life. This is a mentorship I shouldn’t take for granted. We hadn’t seen each other for months after she had helped me with my paper and I learned that in that time in between, she had experienced loss. It was that moment again where I saw her in a totally new light. One, not just as a successful academic but just a real woman. These are the impacts that mentors have on us. And I was so young and I didn’t realize who was investing in me and just how much I should be appreciating that.
So today’s guest, I think is THAT woman in many other people’s lives. Terri Krivosha is here to share her story, not only of her mentoring but being mentored in her career. From what I’ve heard from Terri, her life would start out at least by my definition as unconventional, and she leveraged her energy and direction to end up having an outstanding professional path. So, thank you Terri for joining us today.
Terri: I’m delighted, thank you Sundae, I’m thrilled to be here.
Sundae: So Terri, I’m going to tell a little bit, to our audience about your background and why you were so kind to agree to accept my invitation, but why I invited you to join today. So Terri and I had a conversation informally and at the end of the conversation, I was struck by just listening to your journey, Terri, how you were sharing about your life, but really what it was was about mentorship and transformations. And let me tell the audience a little bit about Terri’s professional background. Terri is a successful business attorney, and mediator, from what I’ve heard, she’s known for how much she truly enjoys helping her shareholders, her family, business owners, and companies that are either buying or selling businesses or trying to solve some very large problems. She says, “The more complicated the better.”
After years of experience in a wide variety of commercial transactions, and businesses, she’s now focusing her practices on MMA restructuring and shareholder, what are called, “Business Divorces,” and mediation of commercial disputes. So really an impressive career, I’m guessing, just based on what you’ve shared with me already. One that was quite a trendsetter for the time that you started. So, do you mind Terri telling us a little bit about how you got started? Why you got started to do what you do?
Terri: Yes. Yes, Sundae, thank you very much and I have to say that some of what I’m going to say, I really hadn’t put it together until you and I chatted the first time. So I’m very appreciative of the opportunity to kind of reframe and look back at my own past and understand how I got here because I don’t think we all do that very often and sometimes were afraid to. So I was I was pleased that we had that I had that opportunity. I grew up in what I thought was the kind of home that everybody grew up in. I had a very, I guess maybe conventional but unconventional parents. My dad who passed away during the pandemic was a lawyer and also the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court in Nebraska for several years and he was really my first mentor. We had very strong ideas in our family of things that were important to us.
I remember that the first word I learned from my mother or father, I think was “Democrat.” So, that was the first. And I even remember when I went to kindergarten the first day, I met a little girl and I came home and I said to my parents, “I met this very nice girl today,” but this is me in kindergarten now, I was four and a half but my mother couldn’t wait to get me out of the house. I said, “But her family is Republican.” “Well,” they said, “How do you know that?” I said, “We had a conversation about it today in kindergarten, and we exchanged this information and am I allowed to be friends with her?”
So the funny part is it turns out her father was my dad’s moot court partner and the two of them had gone to law school together and had decided at the end of their law school days – he claims this is true, I’m not sure if it’s apocryphal or not but – that they both wanted to get into politics. And they thought it didn’t make sense for them to both be on the same side. So he claims they flipped a coin, which I don’t believe, and he decided to be a Democrat and his partner decided to be a Republican. In any event, they explained that I was allowed to be friends with her and that would be fine.
And so when I didn’t realize about my dad is when you grow up you just think that every family is like your family. “No family is any different,” and my dad was really an innovator. We tried everything, right as it can, as it came out. We were early adopters, we had the first push-button phones. We had the first microwave. When my father was on the court, he had this view that the people of Nebraska should be able to learn about what the Nebraska Supreme Court does.
So his idea was we’re gonna go out to all the different little cities, the court, we’re going to go out and have dinner the night before, have a hot dish for everybody to eat, and then the next day we’re going to actually hold a session in their city so they can come and watch it and see what we do. Well, his brethren were having nothing of that.
So, I think the most innovation they made on that was they sat at the law schools and some of those sorts of things, but those were the sorts of things that I just grew up with, he just was a big thinker. I never remember having any sense of I can’t do what I want. There wasn’t any pressure on me to become a lawyer. There was just – learning was very important. Curiosity was very important, and just do what you love. I mean, that’s the part that came through.
Sundae: So Terri, this is what I find interesting because I think you and I might have been given similar messages or at least, as a child, absorbed those messages, similarly, in terms of feeling supported by your parents that you can do anything, but having your parents believe in you. However, I’m from a small Midwestern town. I didn’t have any female role models that I could look to that were doing big things around me that were unconventional, which I think is, I don’t know about you but it sounds like early on when you had that idea, “I could do this,” the spaces that you entered were completely male-dominated.
Terri: Well, they were but now as I’m thinking about this, there was a woman who was the mayor, I grew up in Lincoln, Nebraska, was the mayor of Lincoln and I remember she was friends with my father and I didn’t think anything of the fact that she was a woman. I really just didn’t think about it. And to the point where once I told my son when he was maybe seven or eight, your grandfather is also a lawyer, just like me and he looked at me and he said, “Well, he can’t be only, girls can be lawyers.” I mean, this was my son.
Sundae: I love that.
Terri: So he had made that association. It’s interesting. I don’t know how–
Sundae: So beautiful. Isn’t it how important it is for our kids when they see something that they think it’s possible.
Terri: Yeah. Yeah, so I just it never me Nan. And I say that law was my family business. I grew up waiting for juries. My mother was a more traditional mom, but she also did unusual things. Her field was teaching individuals who had trouble learning how to read. She had a lot of training and dyslexia she could diagnose it and then work with them. And when my father was a judge, she taught prisoners how to read. So we sort of joke that she taught the burglars to become embezzlers.
But she was also passionate about what she did and to the point where there were people that came back to them – they had people in their lives that they had impacted, who would often just appear, ”Passing through wanted to stop and give you a hug.” And I found out when my father died, the number of people that he actually touched in his life, which was, I just had absolutely no idea. I just thought he was, like I said, a regular dad. And I realized as I reflected on this, that when I started college, I went to both Columbia University and the Jewish Theological Seminary. I grew up in a small town. I was very interested in Judaism, wanted to get more knowledge. And this program at Columbia and JTS would give me the opportunity to do two BA’s.
So my mentor at JTS, I wrote at the time, was the only woman Talmud scholar, really in the world. And I had no idea. But I didn’t think anything of it. I knew she was the first but I just sort of took that in like, “Okay if she can be the first, then I can be the first.” And I guess that’s what happened. And I really didn’t realize til our earlier conversation we had how many women I had been influenced by as I was going through my education.
So was one, Judith Helpmann was her name. She eventually went on to become a Rabbi but she was a Talmud scholar, before anything. And I admired her and I admired her ability to just, I think she’s pregnant with twins at the time and continued to teach us. So really what the Talmud is, I think it’s it’s either 2571 or 2751 pages both sides, it’s a folio page of really Jewish law. And I’m actually now part of an international book club, where every day we do a page. And our cycle started in January of 2020, seven and a half years later, we have gone through the entire thing. Which is kind of fun because then it was started by somebody 100 years ago to give Jews something to talk about when they met each other, as if we have any trouble. But anyway, when you just talked long enough to another Jewish person, you realize you’ve got the same cousin or something.
But anyway, so what it opened up for me, was this vast legal discussion that goes on every day on the page and then there’s commentaries around it that explains and she just opened me up to this world. So it was sort of like what I was going to study in law school but it was in Aramaic and Hebrew and so I thought this would be a good pre-law, so that was my major. And at the same time I was doing an ancient history major because I’m just fascinated by this whole period second temple, and kind of on like 4th, 5th, 6th Century AD as these different academies of Rabbis were being established both in Babylonia and in Israel. And so that was the area I focused on at Columbia.
And I also had a woman advisor, who didn’t do what you said your mentor did, but she was wonderful *laughter*
Sundae: You did a lot better than I did I think. *laughter*
Terri: But again, I looked at her and I thought, “Well look, she’s been able to succeed.” I guess what I didn’t understand at the time is I was seeing these female role models and I didn’t feel daunted by them. I just fit and I didn’t feel like there aren’t enough of them. So I guess I never felt like a pioneer or those sorts of things. I mean, I wasn’t even quite sure, I remember when I was younger what a feminist was because I wasn’t like demonstrating and doing those sorts of things. I saw examples of how women could be successful and I figured I could do that too.
Sundae: That’s beautiful. Regardless of where you identify on the gender spectrum? It can just be like, “Hey, let’s do this.”—
Terri: Yeah, my family gave me a lot of confidence. I hope they didn’t give me too much. But they made me realize, I’m never scared of doing something new and I’m a lifelong learner. So a few years ago, I had always been told by opposing counsel and deals that I’d be a great mediator. So I decided a few years ago to get qualified as a mediator, which I thought would be fun. So, it’s just a different part of my brain that I’m trying to work with right now as I’m continuing to develop my practice. And then I started at a big law firm in New York City, Paul Weiss, it was Paul Weiss, Rifkind Wharton & Garrison at the time. And my mentor there was the only woman, the only woman partner, I think at the time, maybe there was one other partner, but she was the first woman partner at Paul Weiss.
And again I didn’t think, “Oh, they’ve assigned her to me because I’m a woman.” I just looked at her and I watched her negotiate and that was in the days when that’s what you did. You actually sat at the feet of your mentors in a room with other people and you just watch what they did. And I just absorbed it. And then they gave you little things to do, it was an apprenticeship. And I’m still in touch with her. She has now retired and I have gone back throughout my career to make sure she knew what I was up to and to tell her how grateful I was for what you did for me.
Sundae: That’s so beautiful. And so this is where I find– maybe this is just where I am in my life, but right now when I think about it, I look at the opportunities I’ve been so lucky to be in the same room as some brilliant people. And where my hindsight comes in is, I don’t know at that age, if I fully appreciate it, who I was in the room with.
Very simple example. But for example, I am trained in Personal Leadership. They call it PL. And this was back in like, I don’t know, 2004-2005 I did this course through the Summer Institute of Intercultural Communication. And years later, I was talking to someone and they featured someone who is trained in PL, and I said, “Oh, I’m trained in PL,” and it was like this big deal.
This approach to leadership and cross-cultural communication, I’m like, “Oh, oh yeah, Barbara Schaetti and Gordon Watanabe, they were my people who taught me.” I didn’t realize I was sitting at the feet of the people who created this methodology. And this is the same thing with Dr. Karlyn Kohrs Campbell, Dr. Judith Martin, I’ve been in spaces where I knew I had something to learn, but I didn’t quite grasp what an opportunity that was.
So, I’m just wondering with the benefit of hindsight, right? Maybe that’s wisdom as we get older and process this, if we could give people advice what they could do to more intentionally nurture their relationship with people who mentors.
Terri: Oh, that’s hard because when I think back Sundae, I realized I didn’t have any idea how important these people were and I’m not sure I realized until recently. I think – so there’s a couple of things. And I remember when I was graduating from law school, we graduated, they held her graduation at Lincoln Center, which was a beautiful place to have graduation. And I was on in the car, in the cab with my dad and they wanted my dad to – he was Chief Justice of Nebraska that time, they thought it’d be nice for him to march in and he got to hood me. And he turned to me as we were in the car, I’m gonna cry now and he said, “Get yourself a mentor.” He said, “If you do nothing else. Get yourself a mentor.”
And I guess I followed that but I didn’t really reflect on it. Again, I thought, “Okay, my dad told me to get a mentor. I got a few.” So first of all, I guess the advice I would give to someone who’s looking for a mentor now is you have to do the reaching out. I mean, I think I certainly did that when I was younger. What I would say to these people is, “I want to work with you. I’ll do anything. I’ll write up your notes. Let me just let me sit in conversations with you.” And what I say to our young lawyers now is, “I’m happy to help you, but I’m not very good at reaching out. Find me. And I’m happy to get you involved in what I’m doing to help you learn or happy to have separate conversations with you.”
So I would say one of the things you need to do as a younger person or even a person is looking for mentors, it doesn’t matter what age you are, is initiate some of those conversations. Be ambitious. Look at people who are doing what you want to do, regardless of who they are, and then figure out how to learn from them. And there’s all different ways you can learn from them.
And then sometimes, though, and I think we talked about this when you and I last talked, you have to know when it’s time to fire a mentor. And that’s hard too, right? And I had two very, very influential mentors who were men over my career and so I didn’t only have women a mentors. But sometimes you get to a point, and I’ve seen this happen with people that I’ve mentored, you just get to point where they’re on their own, you wish them good luck. You might continue to work in the same firm, maybe, or they go somewhere else, and that’s kind of it. You leave it and you’ve given them what you can and they’ve taken what they can. So you get to a point sometimes where mentor wants to be too involved and you have to say to them, kindly, “Thank you. Thank you for everything you’ve done for me but it’s time for me to leave the nest now.” And that was a hard thing.
Sundae: I think it’s a breach of how you would define a mentor. Because when you start telling people what to do, you’re consulting. A mentor helps you find your answers and provides obviously direction and support–
Terri: Fair enough.
Sundae: They’ve started to go too far.
Terri: Yeah. And I guess it’s that boundaries that all of us have difficulty with. And I think it’s even harder in this world where boundaries are so fuzzy. But I found it important – I always like it when people reach back out to me to say, “I just wanted to thank you for what you’ve done.” I always felt it was important for my mentors.
Every time I was in New York after I left New York, I would call up my mentor from Paul Weiss and and take her to lunch and just it was just fun to connect with her. And just kind of remember the wisdom I had learned from her. I once was giving a talk and I wanted to just pick her brain about something. So I said, “Let’s go out to lunch. What do you think about X?” So you have to work hard though to keep those people in your life because if they’re the right kind of mentors, they don’t stay in your life. They just don’t, they don’t. And that’s what I think part of being a good mentor is you just have to let the people that you’ve helped go.
Sundae: And that’s where I think when we spoke last, I had this idea of you should nurture a mentoring relationship and keep them in your life. And actually, what we’ve just talked about now is grow through the mentorship.
Terri: Right? I think so. And I think so.
Sundae: And start another relationship.
Terri: Yeah. Somebody else. Yes. Because I think what happens is the idea with the mentor is that you’re going to grow. Mentor sees you at often at the place you came to them and I think it’s hard for them to realize sometimes you’ve grown. It happens pretty naturally if you just let it. In a law firm for example, you’re second chairing, a deal or a case and you get to be experienced enough where you’re not working with that person anymore. You don’t need to be a second chair. You’re now a first chair. So sometimes it just happens naturally.
But I think it’s hard for a mentor often to take you out of kind of that role they first saw you in. And so my view has been, you learn what you can from them and then you move on. And mentors can go any way up and down, you can have younger mentors. You can have – when you’re younger, usually they’re more experienced. But I’ve learned a lot of things from my younger colleagues as well. There’s a wonderful saying in the Talmud, “Much I have learned from my teachers, much I’ve learned from my colleagues,” but the most I have learned is from my students.” And so, you learn something as a mentor and then it’s just time to time to bring,
Sundae: Right? So it makes me ask, what do mentors get from the relationship? And I think you’ve already begun to answer that.
Terri: Yeah. Yeah and it’s funny because I was always very interested in this issue of mentorship at my law firm and just in general. I think what you get from it is a relationship and an ability to in an informal way teach somebody your craft. What we do in my world when I work when I’m a mentor to somebody, they’re an apprentice essentially. And so you’re really trying to pass on how you do things. And I think what I encourage my mentees to do is to take everything they’re hearing and learning and seeing and make it their own. Figure out how to make it your own style. You’re not going to be a Terri and you’re not going to be a so and so, you’re not going to be a so and so, but your negotiation style will be an amalgam of the people that you meet.
Sundae: So I wanted to go back to advice for people who are in the mentee position, and one of the things when I was listening to you, I reflected on my younger self. And I think the advice that I would give is to slow down. I think when I was in a situation where I had these amazing people in front of me, I was very focused on the task or tasks during the knowledge. Or this skill. And in that speed in that hyper-focus, I might have missed the relationship aspect of it.
Terri: Well, I think that’s true, but I’m just wondering if that’s the way it is. I mean, I think about it, and generations are always off from one another, right? Like, all the dodge about saying to your kid, “You’ll know this when you’re a parent.” I mean, they do right? And Sundae, you’re giving good advice. I’m not sure how possible it is, right? I’m not sure your younger self could have been less focused on the tasks and more focused on sort of the people whose footsteps you were sitting at. I’m wondering if you can only do that in retrospect.
Because when I think about Judith Helpmann, who was truly the first woman Talmud scholar, I didn’t know what to do with that, except learn from her, right? So she was my first Talmud scholar, she taught me what Talmud was. And so part of it, I hear what you’re saying, I’m not sure how possible it is.
Sundae: I don’t know if it’s possibly either. This is the question that plagues me, right?
Terri: Yeah, I agree.
Sundae: So I have this project called Wisdom Fusion, it’s a group of intergenerational women from 20 to 75 plus and we’ve committed together in this learning experience and shared. And my question is, “can we come together and share in a way that we can help one person, avoid a trainwreck that others have had? Or take more out of a situation than they would if left by their own people.” That’s all.
Terri: I see. The answer to that is probably, “Yes.” Because if you had a little person sitting on your shoulder, during those times when you were sitting at the feet of these people, the person whispering on your shoulder would say, “Take her to lunch and just let her tell you about her life and what was important to her? How did she get where she is today?” Those were the things we didn’t do and maybe those are the kinds of things – that’s the being so focused, right? “I want to get my senior thesis done. I want to make sure that I learn everything I can.” I didn’t want to go to her office hours my Talmund teacher and talk to her about her life. I wanted to talk about the page we’re doing today and why I didn’t understand the commentary.
Sundae: Yes. Yes.
Terri: And so maybe that can be changed. But it has to be, I think somebody like you’re trying to do saying, “Take stock of this now, because later on, you don’t want to have missed opportunities that you had earlier.” And yeah.
Sundae: Or like that moment that I had and Dr. Karlyn Kohrs Campbell’s office where I was able to hear something from her private life that was so profound and see her in a new way. And I’m shy to even talk about this because she’s still alive, I’ve reached out to her to try to reconnect and I don’t want to be talking behind her back. So if she’s listening, I want to honor you. I’m not trying to talk behind your back. My point is, in that moment, she set a precedent for what was possible that shifted my life entirely.
Terri: So, that’s yeah, I hear you. I hear you. You know it’s almost any time you run into somebody who is sort of is a mentor in the grocery store, or you see them jogging in the morning. This is a such a funny memory. So I was in college when there was a Subway strike in New York that caused women to start wearing sneakers, and sneakers to work. And I remembered that, and it was a mess. People lived all over. Nobody could get anywhere. The woman who was my professor, and my thesis advisor and it was during the strike. And I remember her wearing sneakers with her more formal clothes because she had walked to work from the Eastside that day. And I walked into her office, and she was on the phone with her husband asking him to take some cheese out of the freezer, because they were having company for dinner. And I remember thinking, “Oh my God, she eats too.” You know what I’m saying?
And I remember, I mean, how many years ago that was 40? It made me realize that she’s just a real person. So I guess the message is find these people and invite them to share more things with you.
Sundae: Yes, absolutely.
Terri: Right. That’s I think what it is. Identify them. Find them. Learn from them. And try to get them in some informal situations where they can just, “I want to hear about your life,” because that’s where you learn. And just ask those questions even though you don’t realize you should. I don’t you know somebody had said to me, “Take Judith Helpmann to lunch and just ask her to tell you about why she decided to become a Talmud scholar.” I would have looked at them and said, “Are you out of your mind?” But I think I think our younger generation is more brash probably and a little more willing to take some of the some of those sorts of risks and can learn a lot, so yeah.
Sundae: I think it’s fascinating. I think it’s the whole point for me is about, how do we be intentional? And how do we be intentional about nurturing a relationship? How to be intentional about, also not exploiting a relationship. One is, “How do I nurture this relationship? But then how do I not exploit it?” Because one of the things for example, in my business mentoring, would be very would be interesting because I am a coach and a consultant. And I’m also a certified Mentor Coach for the Coaching field.
So when are you asking someone for a service and when are you nurturing a relationship? I think that is interesting. The other point that I think is interesting, is when is it imbalanced, right? Because you’re busy. Even with you, I was like, “Do you have time?” I didn’t want to assume that you could hop on a call or that you would do an interview because you have so many things in your life. Can you tell me a story, maybe about a time where you felt like the mentorship was imbalanced? And a time where it felt right? Like, what did the person do? What did the mentee do well? And maybe what are the other mentee not do well?
Terri: Oh, I see. Okay. So let’s do what they did well first because that’s going to be easier for me to think about. It is so rewarding for me to see lawyers that I would say I’ve nurtured as they’ve been kind of going through seeing them progress to leadership roles. And then what I love is, when they call me to say, “I got to pick your brain about this.” I love that, right? I’m proud of them. And there’s one mentee and I have we have a call every Friday. It’s at 1:30, it’s just supposed to be like a five-minute kind of, “What are you working on? What are you working on? How can we help each other?” It usually evolves into something else, so that’s intentional. It doesn’t always happen. Friday I was visiting my grandchildren, we didn’t meet. But it was the setting of a time and she’s well into her career now. So part of it is just connecting, right? So I like that.
Sundae: What I’m hearing is you said the criteria that came out for you that I heard was:
- It’s intentional.
- It’s predictable in terms of like we know about accountability, if you schedule it and it’s shared in advance, you’re more likely to hold that.
- The third one is, it’s flexible. So if you are doing something else, you’re not going to let it dominate your day.
So, those are some things that I’m hearing from you work with that mentorship. I’ve also heard that it’s grown into support, mutually support because she’s well into her career. So the mentorship dynamic has also grown as she’s grown as a professional.
Terri: Yeah. And I only have one person that that’s happened with really in that way. I guess they’re doing wrong is and I’m not criticizing my mentees for this. I struggle when I work very hard with them and then they leave my firm. That’s been hard for me over the years. There have been two or three that, you know, I wish them well, I hope they do well. Nobody likes to get rejected. And so, I’m not saying they could have done anything differently. And it’s hard to know when you invest in someone at the beginning, where’s that going, right? And I’m never a person that likes to think about that.
So, I would say that I don’t know if it’s a failing or just a challenge for me to figure out how to – and it’s not that I didn’t want them to do what they’re calling was. It’s just that you spend a lot of time investing in people and sometimes the parting is difficult.
Sundae: I hear that. It makes me think about with this idea of mentorship. We talked about both directions that you’ve said you’ve learned as well from your mentees, and that’s part of this whole thing that I do with Wisdom Fusion, I think that we are taught that wisdom is always from the elders to the youngers. Especially not true now with our technology changing, everything changing. What I’ve realized is so interesting. Those who wear mentoring me when I was in my 20s, now I’m in my 40s., like I’m a grown-ass adult now. I might have learned something and have expertise in something that now I could actually teach the people that were teaching me then. That the age difference feels big when you’re 20.
Terri: Oh, yeah, it gets smaller.
Sundae: It gets so much smaller, right? I think people need to keep that in mind, too. Also, as a mentor but also as a mentee that in the beginning, when you’re mentoring younger people, they grow up and that gap minimizes.
Terri: Well right, and I think the other thing is, there’s this whole concept of, “Mentoring up” or, “Managing up.” I like to think that I’ve spent a lot of time trying to suggest things for other people to think about that, I don’t know if it’s mentoring or not, but it’s just trying to share what I know. But I think that’s right. It’s a whole different world now. I think it was starting to get there before the pandemic and that just like put it on steroids and now we’re there.
Sundae: And that’s why I want to have this kind of conversation because I think we need to keep looking at old topics in new ways and new topics in old ways, right?
Terri: Agreed, yeah, totally.
Sundae: How can we look at mentorship with fresh eyes, that’s, “You and I didn’t have any of this thought out in advance. We’re working through this together right now.”
Sundae: It’s also an invitation for people who are listening to think about how do they want to be showing up as a mentee or as a mentor? What are some other ways I can look at it? Whom am I selecting as mentors? Is that the best people to learn from?
So, I think it’s important, I think it’s time to just put some fresh eyes on it because everything has been shifting in might as well use it as an opportunity.
Terri: I agree.
Sundae: So do you mind if we shift know a little bit more to you? Because I’m curious, your journey, where you’ve come from to where you are now. I would love to hear, you mentioned the last few years what transitions, I have this thing called ATT, Ambitious Transformation in Transition. What transitions are you feeling right now? Regardless of whether it’s professional or personal, I’d love to hear from you.
Terri: Well, so part of it is, I think what I realized professionally was that I wanted to do more of what I like. And so I have really thought about, what are the parts of my practice I really enjoy? And what are the parts that I want to refer to some of my other colleagues? And I went so far as to revise my bio and I decided I wanted to become a mediator, and did that as well. And so I would say a transition is to put just very specific words on it, I used to do a lot of general counsel work, which means people would come to me and I would help them with all their different things in their business. I enjoyed that, but I didn’t enjoy it so much I wanted to continue doing it. So, there are other people that I can send that sort of work to and I’m really trying to focus on the things that I really like. So which is merges and acquisitions, and helping people buy and sell businesses, helping people solve conflict within their companies, help them restructure, help them align their goals with how they want to grow. And really helping them solve problems through mediation.
What I like to say is that I’m pretty good at solving conflict as long as it’s not my own. Cobblers kids have no shoes. But I’m kind of kidding about that. But I don’t mind many people mind conflict and I don’t mind it at all. What I like to do is dig and get underneath it. So, I think the transition that I’m seeing in myself as how I approach problems, whether in my work life or in my personal life. And trying to kind of take a step back and really look at them and be more intentional about how I’m dealing with all the things that are going on in my life.
Sundae: That’s so interesting. When we think about so those are the things that are moving and changing where do you feel called?And maybe transformation does it fit where you’re at right now. But if you were to pick like, are you feeling pulled by something internal, something external, like all the things are happening in the world? Or even a performance goal. Are you feeling one of those types of transformations in your life?
Terri: Well, for me, it’s usually internal. My husband will tell you, you’ve spoken to my husband. I’m a very competitive person, it’s just part of who I am but it’s mostly internal. I compete with myself. I’m a very intense person and so part of it is sort of trying it. So it’s always internal. I would say it’s always – I’m really not driven ever by what other people think of me. Thank goodness. I’ve just never been driven by that. It’s really more, what do I want to be doing now in my life? And what do I want to be focusing on? And how do I want to look at that, landscapes?
Sundae: Right? I love that. You said, “In competition with myself,” because that is 100% how I see it.
Terri: Yeah, yeah.
Sundae: There’s a song. This gorgeous song is called, “Da Da Ding” And I have to think about who the artist is, but it’s one of the lines in there, it’s like, “I am in competition with myself,” and I don’t know if people can understand that. People, I think often misread that is competitive with others, but not like you’re not in anybody else’s lane.
Terri: Like, “What do you mean I can’t do that?” Well I’m trying to – if I want to do this, how am I going to do it, and if I’m if I think I can do it then gosh darn it, I’m going to just go full steam ahead and try and get it. And get it done.
Sundae: Yeah, you’ve obviously proved that to be true.
Terri: Yes, I guess.
Sundae: Yeah, yeah. So when I talk about ambitious transformation, for me and then this might be similar to you, it has to be your own definition of ambition outside of the scope or scale of someone else, right? For me personally, I always give the example that doing less is ambitious for me.
When we’re recording this, I’m trying to calm down in my business for nine weeks because I have a lot of other things IN TRANSIT in my life right now, including a global move. So doing less is ambitious, and it’s like every day, I have to wake up and say, “It’s okay. You’re not doing more,” that’s the hard thing for me. So what is ambitious for you right now?
Terri: Yeah, that would be ambitious for me also. I’m probably not there yet. What’s ambitious for me? I’m very focused on my Talmud – do you want me to tell you specifically?
Sundae: Or just generall, whatever makes sense.
Terri: Well, I have some new things I’m really interested in that I want to pursue, like I said, I’m a lifetime learner. So, I want to do more mediations. I’m developing some – I keep looking for a study source I want for my Talmud learning and I can’t find it anywhere. So I said, “You know what, I can do this.” All the pieces are there. It’s just a matter of putting them together in the way that will help me as I’m learning because it’s such a very fast-paced kind of study.
What’s ambitious for me is to also think about how to take more time? How to be less distracted?
Sundae: So interesting. So right now, what is it that you’re working on with intention that you’re excited about right now?
Terri: My husband and I have a place in Israel, and we can finally travel there again. So, I’m excited about kind of spending more time there and trying to kind of see what that’s going to look like. So yeah. And spending time with my grandchildren.
Sundae: So wonderful, thank you so much. Thank you for being here.
Terri: My pleasure.
Sundae: Just reflect on everything that we’ve talked about today. It’s been interesting to focus on this idea of our own personal, professional transformations, and the roles that people have had, that are either intentional and clear or people who’ve come out of or come into our lives in ways that we didn’t realize would have such a profound impact. So I love that. My ask or invitation for the listeners is to think about what you and I did, Terri, the first time we spoke, is to go back and look at who are the people that you have been mentored by, whether you have it or not yet. Because that’s meaningful and I think it gives us something.
And also, I think if you are a mentor, be mindful of how you have shown up for other people intentionally or consciously or not, that has been meaningful. The other thing, what I did right before we got on our call is I looked up my mentor from my thesis. And I’m so grateful she’s much older than she was then when I met her and so am I. And I’m grateful that I reached out and said, “Hey, I have something I want to tell you. About 25-30 years ago,” and so hopefully she’ll get the message. I actually teared up when I wrote that message because I want to make sure that she knows the profound impact she had on my life.
Terri: Right. Well, that’s the thing. I don’t think the people who have had a profound impact on us will ever know to that extent. And anytime we can tell them I think it makes them feel wonderful.
Sundae: Yeah. So that’s my homework assignment for everybody listening.
Sundae: Okay everybody. Thank you for listening to IN TRANSIT with Sundae bean. I am so grateful you’re here. I will leave you with the words from Simone Sinek: “A mentor is not someone who walks ahead of us and tells us how they did it. A mentor is someone who walks alongside us to guide us on what we can do.”
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