This past winter/spring/summer, I became involved as a mentee in the Beedie School of Business at Simon Fraser University Mentors in Business (MIB) program. Being a mature student, I was concerned that the program may not be the best fit for me; however, I’m a committed lifelong learner and enjoy every opportunity to learn, share and make new friends. After speaking with a few classmates, I was encouraged to jump in.
MIB’s assessment and preparation process was thorough and encouraged me to do some introspection. I was fortunate enough to be paired with Keith Cerny, Chief People Officer (CPO) at Galvanize (now part of Diligent). While Keith and I are both technology professionals and have a similar number of years of experience, Keith’s experience and knowledge are radically different from mine. His career trajectory had provided him with greater industry diversity and, during his time at Galvanize, he had been tapped for his technical depth and breadth in the cultivation and stewardship of talent. To be paired with a mentor of Keith’s skill, experience, savvy and wisdom was not only a tremendous opportunity, but it also said a great deal about the care, concern and thoughtfulness that Beedie School of Business at Simon Fraser University‘s Career Management Centre put into pairing.
I appreciated Keith’s sensible approach to our relationship. His personal comfort and self-confidence were conveyed through the ease of our conversation and, while I enjoyed the mutually respectful, peer-to-peer tone that Keith imparted on our meetings, he was always ready with a handful of invaluable thoughts, keen to share his experiences, eager to mull over my questions and generous with his time. I left every meeting with some thought-provoking questions and a few gems that I carefully noted and that I continue to reflect upon and digest. What I appreciated most though, was that our conversations were never technical in nature. They focused on magnifying our strengths, personal betterment, career management, and creating prosperous, responsible businesses with healthy, diverse, inclusive cultures.
Reflecting on my conversations with Keith, I must say that I walked away from all of our meetings feeling like I had just met up with an old buddy who had listened carefully, asked good questions, and shared some insightful advice that only a friend could share with you. I’m grateful to Keith Cerny and the Beedie School of Business at Simon Fraser University Career Management Centre for this experience. This was an invaluable addition to my SFU EMBA journey and I encourage all Beedie students to consider the Mentors in Business program.
About the Author
Sean Nardi, PMP is an Executive MBA candidate at the SFU Beedie School of Business and his education and experience are in business management, technology and project management. During his career, he has focused on helping professional services firms become more efficient, stable and profitable through effective management of their technology environments, the creation of formidable technology teams, meticulous cost management, aggressive growth strategies and the development of rich, personal customer and client experiences.