My Business Mentors and What Set Them Apart



A Moery Company LogoThere have been many professional influences throughout my career – but, I have three business mentors, in particular, I’d like to tip my hat to.
The first is Tom Donohue, president and CEO of US Chamber of Commerce. He is arguably the greatest association executive ever. His ability to provide energy to an institution is truly unmatched. Donohue’s skill in fundraising is legendary in that the willingness of a CEO to put himself in the middle of the business model and raise money is a game changer. I think those who’ve adopted this approach have been more likely to succeed because they have the resources to put against the mission and objectives of their association.
Donohue is tough. Frankly at times, I felt the tasks were out of my league (my former colleagues may agree!).  However, I’ve rebounded from that sense of insecurity and hold his leadership lessons above all others.
The second person is Suzanne Clark. I worked with her at the Chamber and the American Trucking Association. There are a couple of reasons she was so important in my career: her characteristic drive and focus made a huge impression on me. She flourished from an administrative assistant to one of the most powerful and influential women in Washington, DC. To this day, I am motivated by her diligence toward execution and process. As I’ve mentioned before – these have never really been my strengths.
She remains absolutely dedicated to the people she’s worked with over the years. In fact, she will often start a conversation with this question, “What can I do for you?” That is a wonderful quality.
And, the third person is Gretchen Deo. I hired her at the US Chamber after an open job fair. And, here is what I learned from her: how you can be really effective at a job and be one of the kindest individuals around. Gracious, positive and giving, she’s now a successful young lady working in Seattle for Microsoft in Community Affairs. What a great alignment. I’m not sure she knew she was teaching me, but she did.
There are so many other people that I could mention, but these three folks stick out – they helped me overcome fear, gave me confidence, and taught me to be a better leader. I hope they are okay with me mentioning them.


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