Why I mentor: Beth Finn, manager of retail services at Staples

January is National Mentoring Month, and we are highlighting a number of perspectives on mentoring, events, and ways you can get involved in the field. Today’s blog is a Q&A with Staples’ Manager of Retail Services, Beth Finn, a mentor to an 18-year-old high school senior at the John Andrew Mazie Memorial Foundation in Framingham. Staples is supporting a statewide mentoring public awareness campaign for the third consecutive year.

  • Why is mentoring important to you?
  • I have personally benefited from being mentored, and I continue to benefit every day. Learning from others is one of the best ways to grow!

  • What is the most rewarding experience you’ve had mentoring?
  • My mentee and I love spending time volunteering, hanging out and having fun. Here are some highlights: creating cards for soldiers and working up a sweat cleaning the Broadmoor Wildlife Sanctuary at the Audubon Society in Natick. Through our mentoring program, we need to complete a number of volunteer activities, and even though we had volunteered already, we were short one volunteer event with an approaching deadline…so we did an impromptu park cleanup one Saturday. We picked up trash and loved it! Both of us really enjoy doing these activities together. Also, my mentee and I attended the Mentoring Night at Fenway last year. It was Dianna’s (my mentee) first time at Fenway, so it was great to bring her. The highlight came after the game. We took one of those bicycle pulled carts back to my car. We laughed hysterically as we sped around corners in Boston on the back of that bike. Neither of us had been on one before and we really loved it.

  • What piece of advice do you find most helpful for the people you mentor?
  • Work hard at things that will allow you more options in life. For example, if you put hard work and effort into school, it can pay off by giving you more options on where you go to college. It might open up opportunities for scholarships and will ultimately put you in the driver's seat of your life.

  • What advice would you give to other adults looking to become mentors?
  • If you are thinking about it, just do it. You don’t have to be perfect, you don’t have to be their “parent,” you just have to be there. It is pretty amazing to be a part of and have an impact on another person’s life.

  • Who has been a mentor in your life? What are some of the lessons they taught you?
  • My best mentor ever, hands down, is Dave Larochelle. I was “assigned” Dave as a mentor on my first day of work at Staples, and we have continued to meet on a regular basis for the last six years. Dave helped me transition from college student (extraordinaire) to Staples corporate office employee. He has patiently listened to, channeled, and encouraged my enthusiasm during my career here. Dave has helped me through challenging work situations, encouraged me to push harder, and at times, he just sits and listens to me. The best things Dave has shared with me is his perspective and time. I have learned so much from just listening to him share his experiences and how he has worked through obstacles. Also, Dave was awarded the Staples "Silver Stapler" award.

  • What inspired you to become a mentor?
  • My experience with Dave.

  • What mentoring programs have you been involved in?
  • The John Andrew Mazie Memorial Foundation.