A Mentor for Life
Jennifer Benyard is an Executive MBA student at Kennesaw State University. As
part of CEO Netweavers’ EMBA mentorship program, she writes about her recent
experience with Bob Kilinski, CEO Netweaver, her mentor in the program.
How It All Began: When Bob and I met, it was the fall 2020. A health pandemic was
raging around the world and affecting our local communities at alarming rates.
Bob is an established retired chief executive officer in the real estate industry. His
wealth of knowledge and success has endured many ebbs and flows in the
marketplace. I was a very busy, career minded, focused candidate at Kennesaw State
University’s Executive MBA program. The prior months had required intense pushing
and mask-wearing perseverance. I admit during the beginning preview of our
mentor/mentee partnership, I wondered how we would fit together and grow.
However, Bob began with his powerful questions around my personal value
proposition and encouraged me to build comprehensive goals for personal and
professional growth. During our monthly meetings he advised me not to limit myself
to where my strengths are, but to push towards where my purposeful work drives
me to excel next! We regularly talked about how to adjust to life and keep a balance
in Family + Purpose + Career!
Career advancement: During the mentorship, Bob shared knowledge in his
experience living and practicing the growth mindset, recognizing strategic
competition and tips to formulating an All-Star Team. The viewpoint of visualizing
and planning for retirement as more of succession planning was a stellar concept
that Bob introduced to me. The succession planning view of retirement opened
mental doors and has helped prep me to walk into multiple career facets of life
while actively growing in my career, although my retirement is potentially decades
away. Shortly after our mentor/mentee relationship began, I received a promotion
at work and was promoted to Senior Vice President.
I am grateful to CEON for the ongoing partnership with KSU, which links diverse
groups of C-Level professionals to Executive MBA students. As I reflect on the
diversity in thought, ethnicity, and multi-generations, this program has created a
well stitched knowledge share that radiates through the mentor and mentee
relationships! I have grown my network both internally and externally with
Key Learnings that Bob I solved for were:
- Exploring both internal and external networking opportunities.
Intentional focus and framework to continue success post-graduation in
years 1-5 and beyond.
- Discussed and diagramed the five personal key areas of comprehensive life
- Prepping, learning and growing, from the now and the unknown.
During our explorations I reflected on the African Proverb noted in “Never Eat
Alone,” as the book dives into the art of building life-long relationships. The quote
states: “ If you want to go fast, go alone, if you want to go far, go with others.”