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August 2013 Articles:

Unfair Advantage is a newsletter for current students written by members of the National Professional Advisory Board and their colleagues. It provides insider advice, insight and inspiration so that, when our graduates enter the real world, they are ready to rock it.

Get a Mentor
By Joe Fairless
Joe Fairless

Joe Fairless

Want a remarkable career?

Become remarkable by modeling after people who came before you.

Find people who are doing what you want to do, approach them, and stick close. Ask questions then actively listen. The majority of the relationship is listening and acting on the advice. A very small portion is actually asking the questions.

Joan Mazzotti, director of Philadelphia Futures and former legal counsel at Aramark was one of the first two women to get into the senior management group at Aramark. “I managed to flourish at a time when women weren't moving into management positions,” she says. “I did well because of hard work and having a very strong mentor who also happened to be my boss. He was brilliant and taught me how to be a strong in-house counsel. He helped me get pushed forward.”

Amanda Steinberg, serial entrepreneur and founder of Dailyworth.com takes it a step further. “I collect mentors. I let them tell me how to do it then I go do it so they know I mean business and then come back for more advice.” She lets them know she means business and is constantly acting on their advice. And, as we learned earlier, taking action is something all remarkable people do. In fact, she took so much action on the advice that her mentor actually wrote a story about her in Inc. Magazine.

The 5 steps in a mentor/mentee relationship are:

  1. Ask
  2. Listen
  3. Say thank you
  4. Take action
  5. Repeat

The most important step in that process is taking action. Without acting on the mentor's advice, the value of the relationship between the mentee and mentor diminishes, and eventually becomes non-existent. Mentors want to help others succeed and, they know how to do it. They get satisfaction when their mentee reaches their goals.

If the mentee never acts on the advice, the value exchange isn't there. Not to mention the mentee doesn't get any value from hearing advice, and never acting on it. It can be extremely frustrating to mentors when they give advice only to have it never be acted on. Conversely, when it is acted on and the mentee comes back to report progress it energizes the mentor, and motivates them to continue to help.


Joe graduated with an advertising degree in 2005. He moved to New York City right after and worked his way up to become a vice president at an award-winning ad agency before his 30th birthday.

He decided to leave the ad agency world last January and started a real estate investing company, Fairless Investing. In just six months it has more than $6,000,000 worth of assets and growing.

His new book will be out in 2014. You can preview at www.jointheremarkables.com.