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A Tribute to Mentors: The Helpers Behind Career Success

Man and woman meeting in a professional setting

Very few people succeed without the support of others. We could all use a little help from time to time, and the workplace is no exception.

Research suggests that the mentor-mentee relationship is responsible for 80 percent of on-the-job learning. Few careers are untouched by valuable contributions from mentors.

In celebration of all the people who’ve taken time out of their schedules to guide others towards a more successful and rewarding work life, we asked some of Aerotek’s top staff to identify and thank their most important advisors.

Josh Rainey, Recruiter Lead:

“My mentor, Eric Thurman, gave me the best advice that I’ve gotten: that success and position in life is all about mindset. He treats his job like it is a business that he runs, and that entrepreneurial frame of mind keeps him focused every day. In any job, there are going to be highs and lows. Eric showed me how to avoid overreacting to the highs or the lows, and to just attend to what you can control. When you do that, and continuously self-develop by taking on new challenges, you develop a more positive mindset.”

“Eric is constantly sharing what he learns through podcasts and books with me and others in our office. I aspire to be as focused on personal development as he is, and to share the lesson with others.”

Matt Wiehe, Senior Professional Recruiter Lead:

“My boss in my first sales job out of school taught me everything I know about reading people and listening to them rather than trying to impose my will or wants on them. He taught me that by actively listening to what someone wants, you usually find that you are better able to serve both their goals and your own. I’ve carried those early lessons I learned from him for my whole career.”

“I try to carry that forward. I love to teach and train new coworkers how to focus on a candidate’s needs from the very start.”


Julie Lewis, Recruiter Lead:

“I worked with a manager who took the time to help educate me not just about my position and job duties, but about the industry as a whole. The knowledge that I gained through our research and development sessions helped me to be more precise with my work, ask the right questions and gain credibility. Not just that, but through getting a bigger picture understanding of the industry as a whole, I was able to see how the work I was doing could have a positive impact beyond just my own position.”<

Kate Schendel, Senior Recruiter Lead:

Todd Kappelmann helped me tremendously when I got my first promotion by being honest with me about what it means to be a leader. After I got the new position, Todd very frankly told me that I’d need to be able to provide people with real feedback and stop worrying about everyone liking me. He told me that being a leader means taking responsibility for the success of others, and that to be good at it you might have to sacrifice your own need to become best friends with the people under your care. It was definitely an eye-opener.”

“While I still strive to be a friend and colleague people can lean on, I always remember this lesson and am not afraid to have difficult conversations with my peers. Todd taught me to make sure people know that even tough feedback comes from a good place.”

Jackie Ross, Senior Professional Recruiter Lead:

“When I was young and got my first job, my dad told me to make myself indispensable. He encouraged me to learn as much as I could, and take every opportunity to train on new jobs and tasks. He also led by example. He taught me what a great work ethic was by consistently having a full-time job, running his own business and providing a great life for his family.”

“As I’ve grown up, I appreciate my dad’s advice and example more and more, and try to impart his wisdom to everybody I work with. It’s become a habit, not just professionally, but even in my personal hobbies. Thanks to my dad, I’ve found that anything you do turns out better when you take that extra step.”

Pay it forward

As these incredible mentors demonstrate, a little good advice can go along way — not just in the lives and careers of those immediately exposed to it, but also in the lives and careers of their peers. Start your own cycle of great advice now by reaching out to a mentor of your own. You’ll find expert helpers in every Aerotek office across the country.

If you’re looking for a job, visit our job board to find your next great opportunity. Create a free career account today to customize your search. And consider contacting an expert career advisor: Our recruiters are available to provide advice you can use.