Reflections On the Passing of a Mentor


Don Jones

Leadership isn’t a theory.

It’s an experience.

Throughout your life, you’ve experienced leaders: some better than others.

But have you been lucky enough to experience an off-the-charts, truly exceptional leader?

Someone who radiates both power and humility?

Gravitas and levity?

Child-like wonder, and sage-old maturity?

I have.  His name is Don Jones.

Don passed away last Wednesday at the age of 84.   It says something about Don’s strength that he lived as a cancer survivor for 19 years.

Don led me, taught me, and mentored me.  He listened to me and helped me trust myself, and find my own leadership voice.

In our relationship, Don made me feel so seen and valued.  I felt extra-special.  I felt unique.

The beautiful irony (and testament to his leadership) is that I’m not alone.  Don mentored hundreds, if not thousands of people, and I imagine that each of us feels that we were an extra bit special in Don’s eyes.

Don Jones:  Thank You for your leadership brilliance.

Don’s passing reminds me to do two things:

1.  Reach out and thank the people in my life who have mentored me.  Whether it’s been 1, 5, or 20 years ago, there are people in my life who have really made a difference who I haven’t properly thanked.   The time for appreciation is now.

2.  Make time to reach out and help coach/mentor others, and to be more “Don-like” when I do it:  be gracious, generous, and humble.

I can’t think of a better inheritance to leave behind.


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