Michael W. Coombs

Photo by Steve Cohn Photography
Photo by: Steve Cohn Photography

USC Marshall School of Business

As university professors we find ourselves at the junction of home and school, education and work, youth and adulthood. This vantage point provides us the opportunity to offer guidance and support in understanding the evolving path which lies ahead of our students and colleagues.

This relationship allows us to encourage skill and personal development, building individual confidence and self-awareness. My efforts to inspire and motivate others come from listening actively, asking more than telling, and sharing some knowledge or wisdom from my own varied experience. In these ways I act as an advocate to challenge and prompt others to develop their own effective strategies. In reflecting upon these moments I find I am simply sharing what I previously received from others who took the time to talk with me. From the graduate biology teaching assistant who told us he set his alarm clock to remind him it was time for sleep to long suffering faculty advisors who patiently supported my clumsy efforts at completing a research project—mentors all in different ways. May we all continue our own commitment to be available when others seek guidance and truly become a mentor to others.