Grafik The Right Idea written on a brick wall


Steven Spielberg

OK. I admit it. I watched the Golden Globes last night- in between checking the scores of the NFL playoffs. I usually hate those shows, but I needed some background noise while I was quilting, so I tuned in. And yes it was as insipid as it normally is, except for one speech that was given by Steven Spielberg. My God, what a classy man he is.

He was being honored with the Cecile B DeMille award, and half way into his speech he started talking about his mentors, and what a difference they have made in his life. He also talked about a trail of mentors- how all the great film producers/directors could be tied together by looking at who mentored whom and that through this transfer of knowledge an extraordinary body of work was produced by different directors. Spielberg was mentored by Scorcese and Francis Ford Coppolla , and in turn he has mentored many young directors like Ron Howard and Drew Barrymore. He talked about that as the power of knowledge transfer, and the debt paid forward so to speak. The trail of mentors he spoke about was pretty long- and I tried to find a copy of his speech but alas Google is not perfect.

A month or two ago I started working with a young woman who is starting her own design firm. She contacted me and inquired if I would be open to answering a few questions. I suggested that we establish a more “formal” arrangement whereby she would be able to have ongoing advice if she needs it. Our first exchanges were emails, followed by face to face meetings. After a few weeks I can report it is a tremendous opportunity for her, and a bigger one for me. She gets to answer important business questions, hopefully avoiding some of the pitfalls I have landed in starting Grafik. And I get to give back to our profession in a way that may have a lasting effect.

Listening to Mr. Spielberg last night, I sensed that he would agree that in mentoring you get back as much as you give. Perhaps even more.

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