As we finish one year and head into the next, I thought it would be appropriate to recognize some of the key mentors I have had that have shaped my career. So, this 4-part series focuses on those who have helped me along. A big thank you to each and every one of them.
First on the list is my college professor, Kooros Mahmoudi.
I distinctly remember the first time I met Kooros Mahmoudi. I was 29 years old and had recently made the decision to go to grad school. I just spent the morning at Northern Arizona University’s business college, as I was interested in getting an MBA. But the scheduled meetings at the business school were disappointing. The MBA advisor told me I had to retake a year of calculus courses before I could apply to the MBA program. So, I went across the street, discouraged, and walked into the Sociology college and asked if there was anyone around to talk about getting a Master’s in Sociology. They pointed me to Kooros’ office and I let myself in. The conversation went something like this:
Me: I’m interested in doing a master’s in sociology, and just wanted to know if you’d require me to retake a year of calculus courses?
Kooros: Why would anyone ever want to retake a year of calculus courses?
I knew I was going to like Kooros right away.
Kooros ended up becoming the Chair of my master’s committee and helped me to get a full-time graduate assistantship with the College’s research lab. But more than anything, Kooros became my mentor and friend.
I loved grad school. After being a so-so student as an undergraduate, I ate up coursework and for the first time in my life, and became an A-student. I give the credit to Kooros, who was super encouraging to me every step of the way. One should never underestimate the critical importance of regular encouragement.
Kooros retired a couple of years ago and splits his time between Flagstaff, Arizona and San Diego, California. We still connect a couple of times a year and I continue to appreciate his counsel. Thanks for your investment of time, your encouragement and for seeing something in me that I myself was unaware of. Your mentorship has made a difference in my life.