Last year Peak launched a mentorship program and the results amazed us. Employees with a mentor:
- Identified 20% more in savings
- Actualized 40% more in savings
One thing Peak has taught me is that people everywhere face similar challenges. It doesn’t matter if you work in the public or private sector, for finance or for parks, most of us have experienced a bad leader, a disgruntled team member, a meeting that didn’t produce results, lack of direction, or a loss of comradery and trust. At Peak, we meet people from multiple cities, sectors, and departments and we try to connect them to each other. We do this because they tell us the same stories, they share the same passions, and they are all searching for someone else to lean on.
When I was in college, I studied abroad in Northern Ireland and wrote a thesis on U.S. efforts to negotiate the peace process. As part of my research, I came across a Denver-based attorney who served as the U.S. Economic Advisor to Northern Ireland: Jim Lyons. I cold called him and asked for an interview to support my then scant research. I expected him to say no. I told myself that people like him simply didn’t have time for people like me.
He got back to me within one day. A week later, I was in his office conducting my interview. When I had follow-up questions, he responded. A year later, he gave me my first real job. I spent the next several years working as a research assistant for his book. He became my biggest inspiration for a career in public service.
He never had time. He made time.
When employees go through our Black Belt class, we tell them we will assign each of them a mentor. And they’re thrilled. And I search our networks to find a good match for each student. But most people tell me they are too busy. And all I can think is that people will likely forget all the reports we write, the emails we send, the spreadsheets we update, but no one ever forgets the person who made time to help another.
When there is time to lose, there are still people who invest in others. And the data tells us that those are the people have truly changed our city. We all work in silos, often connecting only with our direct coworkers, but the greatest changes come from those who are connected. If you really want to transform the way we work, make time for someone else.
Melissa Wiley manages Denver Peak Academy. Prior to leading the team, she served as a lead analyst for Denver Animal Protection (Denver Animal Shelter) and the Department of Excise and Licenses. She has taught nearly 150 courses on process improvement and data to employees throughout the City and County of Denver, within the private sector, and in local nonprofit organizations. She has been with Denver Peak Academy since 2012. She previously worked for the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia and the United States Department of State. She holds a Master's Degree from the University of Pennsylvania's Fels Institute of Government. In her spare time, Melissa enjoys playing guitar, yoga, trail running, and leading the Denver Animal Shelter's Jog-a-Dog volunteer program. She lives in a suburb of Denver with her husband Craig. Her mission is to infuse joy into all areas of public service.
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