Looking for a New Year’s Resolution?: Try Mentoring

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We are still in the early stages of the new year, a time when we all aspire to make changes; work out more, eat healthier, get organized.  Well if you’re still looking for a way you could make a real change, not just for yourself but for someone else, we have a recommendation.  

Become a Mentor.

In 2016, Fuzzy Duck’s founder, Eddie Ulrich, was given the opportunity to mentor through a program called COMPASS. COMPASS is an experiential professional career studies program for highly motivated high school juniors and seniors. Students enroll in the program, earn high school and college credit, and explore career paths by working side- by-side with professionals in the workplace.

The program coordinator, Scott Tordeur, was initially referred to Eddie because he was creating a curriculum around branding and design. Students would be creating a brand to represent themselves and he was looking for speakers that could visit the class and give a “real life” perspective on what the design and branding industry is like. 

Unfortunately, by the time Scott and Eddie meet in person, the branding unit was already wrapping up. Scott shared that the next unit would be a “Children’s Story Unit” where each of the students would actually work to write and create a children’s story book. Given that Fuzzy Duck had worked directly with authors (including children’s authors) in areas of written story, intellectual property and character development as well as on projects that included everything from concept illustration to full-blown book design, there was still a possibility for mentorship. 

Scott later learned that Eddie himself has been busy developing several personal projects including writing and illustrating a children’s picture book entitled “A Mother’s Dream.”  Allowing for Eddie to speak from both a professional perspective of servicing an author and the process involved as well as a personal perspective of developing a children’s book himself.

During the presentation, Eddie shared a specific example of how Fuzzy Duck worked directly with Belinda Jensen during the early development stages that lead to her publishing a series of children’s books related to weather. Along with the example of “Slingshot; Jupiter Conspiracy” where Fuzzy Duck helped take a science fiction story idea from concept to a published book. Eddie also shared his own personal journey and the steps taken so far in developing his own children’s book which will hopefully be self published sometime this year.

Eddie admitted than when Scott first approached him his first thought was that he was too busy and there simply wasn’t enough time to get involved at that level – but after the first presentation, he found that he got a lot out of the experience and he was pleasantly surprised at how much the students seem to get out of it too.  He said,

it was great to hear the questions from the students and see the level of excitement and interest in the art of storytelling – especially the visual aspects.”

Eddie was invited back for some small group and individual guidance for the students book cover development once the students reached that point and was able to work one-on-one with the students and provide feedback and suggestions.

So, we ask that you at least consider mentoring at some point in 2017. Whether you grab a coffee with a junior employee at your company, reply to the email of a younger alumni seeking advice, or get involved in the COMPASS program as they always need more professionals who are interested in working with high school students. This way you can be sure to check off at least one New Year’s resolution on your list.