My Mentor, His Mentee, Our Legacy.
Through a fortuitous twist of fate, I was named Divisional President of the Supply Chain and Logistics Association of Australia (SCLAA) at the beginning of the year. A great responsibility fell upon me to advocate for the progression of an industry I have grown to love, and to help the wider supply chain community bolster their own expertise amid changing times.
As many of you may have read, my place in the world of supply chain and logistics was seemingly preordained by my father’s own experiences in, ironically, Northern Ireland’s potato distribution network. Nevertheless, I am still young, and though it might seem like I know the direction of my career and life at large, I require guidance and wisdom in equal measure to everyone else. Lifelong cultivation of knowledge is crucial since, to paraphrase a well-worn saying, if I am the smartest person in the room, then I am in the wrong room.
The term ‘mentor’ is a buzz-word thrown around far too often, but it should not dull what mentorship is and can be. The mentor-mentee relationship provides a sense of stability in one’s professional and personal future, i.e., looking at what has come before to best inform what lies ahead. It involves reaching out to, and heeding the advice of, a specific individual to help develop industry-relevant skills and broader humanistic qualities to realise your goals and maximise what you are capable of.
In the photo above, you can see me in my grandfather’s hands, with my father working in the background. Throughout my childhood, I watched my dad build a business from the ground up, overcoming challenges as they arose, particularly during a tumultuous time in Northern Ireland’s history, to ultimately care and provide for his family. At this point in my life, reflecting on where I came from and where I am going, I can see that my dad had a vision for his future and a fullness of life that he endeavoured not to waste. Unfortunately, he was taken too soon, and while it takes a lot to share this with you, to omit such a detail would be to ignore a formative part of journey—a journey forever guided by my father, my greatest mentor. If you are seeking growth, the right person will always appear when you need them most, even if they seem beyond your reach.
Legacy is at the heart of mentorship, i.e., watching the ripple effects that one’s character, when channeled correctly, can have on another’s life. It can be quite challenging putting myself and these articles out there for the world to see. Yet the words I speak and write are not only the beginning of my legacy which future generations may observe, but also an extension of my father’s legacy. Though I am no longer close to home, working in the family business, the best thing I feel I can do is acknowledge my roots and carry on the legacy of my father’s knowledge and experience in laying the foundations for my life and career today.
Since arriving in Australia four years ago, I set myself the goal of becoming a leader, a voice in the logistics and supply chain industry. Many people have helped me along the way, and it is time that I start giving back by positively impacting the life of somebody else—whoever that may be—so they can, in time, pay it forward.
With all of that in mind, in less than a month, I will take the stage at the upcoming ASCI2019 Supply Chain Leaders Summit where I will be exploring the critical importance of mentorship in developing the supply chain leaders of tomorrow. Perhaps I am too green to speak on such a topic, but I will let you decide.