The Power of Mentorship

Professional Headshot of Mike Terry - Director of Operations at Discover Financial ServicesProfessional Headshot of Thomas Schlick, Author, Operational Consultant, and Adjunct Professor at CO2 Partners and Schlick Consulting

Mike Terry, Director of Operations for Discover Financial Services, and Tom Schlick, Business Operations Executive, share the dynamics of their successful executive mentoring partnership through a compelling narrative that serves as a blueprint for building trust and unlocking the full potential of mentoring partnerships. They provide practical tips and insights, highlighting the unique dynamics of cross-company mentor relationships. Through their candid dialogue, they exemplify the power of courageous conversations, offering an inspiring glimpse into the transformative possibilities when two partners forge intentional and holistic connections.


The Power of Mentorship: Insights from a Mentor and Mentee

In today’s dynamic professional world, mentorship has emerged as a cornerstone of personal and career growth. This podcast conversation highlights the profound experience of a cross-company executive mentoring relationship through Menttium. Their dialogue underscored the transformative impact of mentorship, revealing lessons in leadership, trust, and personal development.

Key Takeaways

A Holistic Approach to Mentorship

One of the key themes of their conversation was the holistic nature of effective mentorship. Tom emphasized that mentorship goes beyond professional advice; it involves addressing the emotional and personal challenges that mentees face. He applauded Mike’s openness and authenticity, which allowed them to navigate deeply personal topics, such as building self-confidence and self-awareness. This holistic support system creates a safe space for mentees to discuss not just their careers, but their lives, leading to more meaningful and impactful guidance.

Building Trust and Authenticity

The foundation of any successful mentorship is trust. Tom and Mike highlighted the importance of creating a judgment-free zone where honest conversations can thrive. Mike shared how initially, he was nervous about the mentorship, but Tom’s friendly and unassuming manner quickly put him at ease. This immediate sense of trust allowed for candid discussions, making their relationship incredibly strong and effective. Tom encouraged Mike to shift from making statements to asking questions, as questions are inherently disarming and foster deeper understanding. This approach not only builds trust but also opens avenues for richer, more meaningful conversations.

The Importance of a Personal Brand for Career Advancement

Tom stressed the significance of developing a personal brand. He shared his own journey of defining his brand as “transforming organizations to drive profitable growth” and how this clarity boosted his confidence and professional identity. For Mike, this exercise was transformative, enhancing his self-awareness and career trajectory. A well-defined personal brand helps professionals articulate their value and navigate their careers with confidence.

Passing the Torch

The beauty of mentorship lies in its ripple effect. Mike expressed his intention to mentor others, inspired by his experiences with Tom. This passing of the torch ensures that the wisdom and insights gained through mentorship are perpetuated, benefiting more individuals and creating a culture of continuous learning and support. Tom and Mike’s story is a testament to the profound impact of mentorship. Their journey highlights that effective mentorship is built on trust, authenticity, and a holistic approach that addresses both professional and personal aspects. As they shared their experiences, it became evident that the true essence of mentorship lies in the mutual growth and the lasting bonds formed along the way. For anyone considering entering a mentorship, their conversation serves as an inspiring guide to building meaningful and transformative relationships.


About Mike Terry

Mike Terry is a Director of Operations for Discover Financial Services. He began his career at Discover, beginning as a front-line phone agent, and he gained rich experience over the years in a variety of areas that included sales, customer service, collections, acquisitions and fraud prevention. This background provided him with a broad view of operations and strategy and allowed him to successfully develop a Lean-based operation management system. Mike holds a Bachelor’s degree in Business, Management, Marketing, and Related Support Services from Westminster College; and an MBA in Business Administration and General Management from the University of Utah.


About Thomas Schlick

Thomas Schlick is a Business Operations Executive, known for his unique ability to lead organizations through transformational change (and growth). He developed this strength over the course of his career, holding a number of senior executive roles (including COO, SVP and EVP) with P&L responsibility at small, medium and large corporations – both public and privately held. Companies that included Johnson & Johnson (Steril-med), Emerson Electric and others.

Tom started his own consulting firm in 2017, as well as joined CO2 Partners in Minneapolis as a Leadership Coach. He is a committed leadership coach and mentor, who has been partnering with Menttium since 2003. Tom is an active volunteer in the community, as well as serving on several professional advisory boards. He is also an Adjunct Professor at Hamline University School of Business in St. Paul, MN. Tom received his B.S. in Electrical Engineering from the University of Minnesota; and his MBA in Finance/Management from the University of Minnesota – Carlson School of Management. Last, but certainly not least, he is the author of Jumpstart Your Service Revolution: Transform Your Company’s DNA and Thrive in an Age of Disruption.