Harbr recently partnered with Every Child Needs a Mentor, a specialist mentoring organization whose mission is to enable every child to access high quality mentoring and equip young people with the necessary skills for life. Our joint mission is to deliver an innovative mentoring and leadership development program that transforms the lives of young people and builds leadership skills for Harbr employees as mentors.  To better understand what drew the company in this direction, we asked CEO Gary Butler to share his perspective.

What inspires you about Every Child Needs a Mentor?

We are very excited about our partnership with Every Child Needs a Mentor. This is a fantastic opportunity to make a positive impact on someone’s life, especially the youth. It also gives Harbr’s mentors the opportunity to grow themselves as human beings. 

As a company, we want to embrace mentorship and leadership as a value. In order to have these values, we need to actively live by them. Through this partnership we hope to do what matters, not just know what matters. We are very fortunate, at Harbr, to have a company that I consider family, and with people who truly care for each other. We are excited to bring that care and compassion, along with our leadership, to Every Child Needs a Mentor and to continue making an impact in our community. I can’t wait to see what we achieve together! 

What does mentorship mean to you?

To me, mentorship is about looking ahead, not just directly in front of you. Being a mentor isn’t always about having all the answers, just listening allows people to express themselves and gives them clarity.  At other times it is useful for mentors to challenge you on particular subjects and decisions and then sometimes having them support a decision is equally useful.  Personally I have a number of people I consider to be my mentors.  A few of those relationships are informal mentors and others are more formal.  They vary, some I interact with on an almost daily basis, others far less frequently.  In my case, my mentors range from investors, ex-colleagues and friends.  By the way, given the trust you build up with a mentor, don’t be at all surprised if they, over time, become a good friend as well.  

What have you learned on your journey that you share with those you mentor? 

Prior to becoming the CEO of Harbr, I experimented with many different career paths. When I was growing up I was not the best student. I scraped by in high school and was told I had very limited options for my career. However, I didn’t let this stand in the way of what I wanted to do, which was engineering. Learning lessons from my past, I went back to school to then become an engineer. Throughout my career I worked in engineering, computer science, and sales. In hindsight, these careers led me to be able to collaborate and have useful conversations with the teams throughout different departments. However, the greatest discovery I found during these different career paths was to recognize what you’re good at, but more importantly, what you’re not good at. 

Within this discovery, I’ve also realized failure is the biggest opportunity to learn. Instead of getting down on yourself, we have to celebrate those lessons and learn from them. The biggest piece of advice I can give someone regarding failure is to own it. Don’t blame it on other things. Own it, learn from it, and carry on with that lesson, after all, failure is often what makes life colorful.