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Posted on: Friday - Jan 6, 2017

January is National Mentoring Month. Mentoring is close to home for many people, including Commissioner Boyd. One thing you may not know about Commissioner Boyd is that mentoring is something that he is very passionate about. He is involved in several mentoring organizations including Counting Scouting, the Boyd Venture Fund at UT, tnAchieves and Big Brothers Big Sisters. He encourages everyone to get involved in mentoring whenever they have the opportunity. Giving back to your community is a crucial part of making Tennessee the best place to live and work.

In honor of National Mentoring Month, we sat down with Commissioner Boyd to ask him some questions about his mentoring experiences.

1. When did you first get involved with mentoring?

 Informally, I think we all mentor in small ways every day. More formally, being a Cub Scout Den Leader for ten years was my first real mentoring role. I followed that by becoming a Boy Scoutmaster for seven years. A leader’s job is to mentor young boys to learn about values, leadership, self-reliance, service to others and a love for the outdoors. For the last eight years I have been a mentor for four to five students per year in tnAchieves, the support organization for the Tennessee Promise. In this role, my task is to insure they complete the FAFSA, register for college and get off to a successful start. I’ve been a mentor and “Big” to Joseph in Big Brothers Big Sisters for five years. Throughout my career in business over the last 25 years I have been an eager mentor to any entrepreneur wanting to start or having started a new business, along with being a mentor to some of my teammates within the company.

2.   What made you want to be a mentor?

I have been blessed with many great mentors.  My father taught me the value of hard work at an early age and my mother still stresses the importance to always be learning. My first Scoutmaster taught me about leadership and a love of the outdoors. I’ve had a dozen Board members who have taught me countless lessons on how to build and sustain a great company that makes a difference in the world. Now, Governor Haslam has taught me the impact that public service can have. I am indebted to so many for so much, if I dedicate the rest of my life to paying them back by mentoring others, I will still die in debt.

3.   How long have you been mentoring and what organizations are you involved with?

Counting Scouting, I’ve been mentoring for over 20 years. I have mentored entrepreneurs that have gotten grants from the Boyd Venture Fund at UT, students involved in tnAchieves and one young man, Joseph, in Big Brothers Big Sisters.

4.  What is the most rewarding part of mentoring others? 

Mentoring gives us the opportunity to pay forward and pass on all the lessons we have learned in life. One hopes and one can expect that some small word of advice or encouragement can positively change the direction of someone’s life, and in turn make the world a better place.

5. What advice would you give to somebody considering getting involved in mentoring?

At the very next opportunity you have to mentor, just say yes! Every great accomplishment and every great adventure begins with saying yes. Like other forms of giving back, you will receive more than you give. 

6. Why do you think it’s important to be a mentor? 

 It is the essence of the progress of mankind: one generation passing on its knowledge to the next.