Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Top biz leaders advise second-stage execs in GR mentoring program

Todd Folkert needed a mentor, if only to have someone to talk to who understood what it’s like to run a growing business.

“You can’t talk to your employees,” said Folkert, the president and owner of Bold Cos., an office furniture manufacturer in Muskegon. “I used to try to talk to my wife. She would listen and say, ‘Todd, I am a nurse.'”

Folkert has that mentor now, thanks to the Jandernoa Entrepreneurial Mentoring program. Some of the Grand Rapids area’s top business leaders are going to spend the next three years mentoring people like Folkert, owners and CEOs of second-stage businesses. The first class of the program graduated in August. Eight of the nine “students” graduated, while the ninth sold his business interest to a partner. The next graduation ceremony, for a class of nine students or mentees, will be in 2014. The program was founded in 2010 by Michael Jandernoa, former CEO of the nation’s largest manufacturer of over-the-counter drugs, Perrigo Co., at the time based in Allegan. The mentors in the Jandernoa program have experience running businesses with at least $5 million in annual revenue. They make a three-year commitment to meet at least twice a month the first year and once a month the second and third years with someone who has been running a $1 million, second-stage business for at least three years.

“Mentoring is very different from being the boss,” Jandernoa said. “When you are the boss, you make decisions. When you are a mentor, you sit back and ask questions, get answers, be encouraging, try to instill real accountability and offer real suggestions without telling them what to do.”

Via Crain’s Detroit Business Journal, See the full article at: