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Mentors from Another Planet

Stanley Peter Jaskiewicz


  • Stanley P. Jaskiewicz challenges the conventional view of mentors as older individuals in the same field, recounting his corporate law mentor, but emphasizes more impactful mentors outside business and law in disabilities advocacy, church service, and Scouting, praising their selfless, unpaid service and commitment to passing on expertise.
  • Jaskiewicz particularly appreciates mentors who assisted his son with disabilities, teaching resilience.
  • He hopes to have emulated these qualities in his own life as a nonprofit leader, emphasizing the profound impact of mentors beyond professional guidance, extending into personal growth and a life well-lived.
Mentors from Another Planet Lund

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To me, a “mentor” was always someone older and more experienced than I – and had to be in business.

I certainly found that in my career.

I learned my craft from Steve Gadon, a name partner at my firm, by working closely with him from when I graduated from law school in 1985, until his death in 2014.

He trained me on the technical aspects of being a corporate lawyer.

More importantly, however, he earned my respect as a human being.

He allowed me to decline work at odds with my religious beliefs, even when it came from the firm’s largest client.

He vociferously rejected ethically questionable work that came from “wink, wink, nod, nod” referral sources.

Although he prioritized family, he also led by example, working alongside us on late nights, and on arduous business travel.

Notwithstanding his example, however, my personal mentors, who taught me how to live a life that matters, have all been outside the law, and business.

Whether in disabilities advocacy, service at my church, or youth activities, particularly Scouting, those women and men had many common characteristics:

  • They served long after their personal involvement ended, for example, when a child aged out of a program.
  • Their service was unpaid - except by the admiration and gratitude of those whom they helped.
  • They willingly shared their expertise with new recruits – such as me – to ensure that the mission would continue long after them.
  • The funerals of those who have passed were well-attended by those honoring their service. I will always remember one for a teacher of the deaf – the congregation was full of persons conversing in “loud” sign language.

In short, they had careers of service to others, and to their communities, beyond anything for which they were paid – and all have been richly rewarded for their work, albeit not in anything they could spend at Walmart.

To illustrate this point, let me add my personal appreciation, for mentors who help persons with disabilities, particularly my son.

They taught him how to become comfortable living in the world, without me or his mother, by not allowing him to use us as a support at difficult times.

Although sometimes that meant letting him fail, it also required teaching him to pick himself up, and “try again,” a mantra of my son’s youth.

(One leader explained Scouting to us as “an exercise in controlled failure.”)

As a result, we – and our son – have confidence that he can live in a world without us (although we certainly hope that won’t happen anytime soon).

I can only hope that I have emulated these qualities in my own life, as a nonprofit leader, in using what I have learned from my mentors to help others in turn.