Portland Leadership Institute
Excellence in Leadership & Teambuilding
Jean Benevento, Soul Mentor
2005 was a year of abundant blessings and “ah ha” moments. It was the year Alan and I married and I travelled to Greece, Peru and China. In 2005 I also reclaimed my Italian heritage and changed my name back to Jean Benevento. For all you Google searchers out there, I was Jean Liston during my 25 years in the Telecom industry.
In the spring of 2005 I hiked the sacred mountains of Peru with the Cueros, or medicine people. Our days were filled with prayer, ceremony and respect. Respect for each other, for nature and life. The Cueros were wonderful hosts; they shared all the work, and the highest “ranking” medicine man worked side by side with the “ranch” hands. They taught us their traditions and shared their food. In Peru no one goes hungry because everything is shared.
Then in the fall when I traveled to China with Alan I witnessed a different culture’s demonstration of respect. In China children are taught not to question their elders or those in authority. Needless to say when Alan tried to engage them in classroom dialogue there was resistance. So when I spoke to them about performance reviews and negotiations I started by asking them to help me out. I invited questions and encouraged them to ask about my experiences in Corporate America. Although I was standing in the front of the class, the place of authority, I removed a barrier when I explained that my success was based on their questions. This simple act opened a door for a different kind of learning, one based on sharing and mutual respect.
From my first job as a Human Performance Engineer at Bell Laboratories to my last one as a Public Policy Director for Qwest, my position required me to listen to one set of clients and “translate” their message to another set. Reflecting back on my years in Corporate America, I realize that most of my jobs and most of my successes came from listening to people, meeting them where they were, and treating them with respect.
I now use the title Soul Mentor to describe my work. Soul Mentor is not a title you will find in Corporate America, so let me explain. A Soul Mentor opens a door so that you can find your path, meets you where you are, and creates an opportunity for your personal growth. So I invite you to join us on a journey to Excellence in Leadership: uncover what your soul longs for and answer the question “What do you want?”
Contact Jean at [email protected]
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