Sarah E. Bonner

Photo by: Steve Cohn Photography
Photo by: Steve Cohn Photography

USC Marshall School of Business

In my mentoring of graduate students, I am attempting to pay back and emulate my primary Ph.D. mentor – Bill Kinney. Bill still calls me “kid” even though I’m now over 50. That’s OK by me – I still need his wise counsel. His most important lesson to me was that one must do things the right way, and do so the first time. I pass this insistence on to my Ph.D. students. I also learned from him that mentoring can take place in the classroom. I often break away from course material to discuss issues that fall under the rubric of “tacit job knowledge,” e.g. dealing with journal editors and reviewers.

I encourage students to ask questions of this type during class given that not all of them are my direct advisees. Finally, Bill taught me the most important lesson a mentor can learn. Because he was not my formal advisor, he never has received credit for mentoring me. In this day of ratings and competition, and the constant pressure to self-promote and garner credit for every moment spent in an evaluated activity, this is a particularly difficult lesson to keep putting into practice. For teaching me this and for all the time, caring, concern, support, and assistance, I thank Bill. And, to my mentees, I say: “Be a good mentor. Pass it on.”