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Mentorship in the Military

Posted on January 15, 2009

Her mentors emphasized the importance of leadership, says Jeannette South-Paul (bio).


Now people ask me who were my mentors. They were men. They were white man, which is kind of interesting when you think about it. But the thing that was important that was they cared about me.

One of my earliest mentors who just passed about a year ago, Mike Scotti, was trained as an internist in New York, decided that he really appreciated family medicine, came on board in the military in interviewed me for my internship, and then he only was there for a little while and then went on to bigger and better things and ultimately became Director of Medical Education for the American Medical Association. But wherever he was in the world, and his years as a military officer, and his years as 7th Medical Command Commander, which was our medical forces in Europe at the time, he would call me on the phone. He'd email me, he'd say, "You know, I saw something and I thought of you when I saw that. And why don't, would you like me to put your name in?" Or, most of the time, "I already sent them your name." He didn't usually ask me, "I already sent them your name and I think you would do well at this."

I had women mentors, Nancy Gary, who has also since passed a few years ago, who was one of my deans at the Uniformed Services University, who used to talk to me about opportunities and who was very active, politically. And that, my mentors were the ones who emphasize to me doing things one individual at a time is important but it won't change the world. And they were the ones who inspired me to be active at a political level, at an administrative level, and emphasized the importance of leadership.

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Excerpted from interview with researcher at the 2008 Leadership Training Institute in Bethesda, MD.


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