Golden Journey – Our Story of High Impact Mentorship
June 28, 2021
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Free Livestream with Pierre Thollot and Grace Watt Hunt

Date: 1 July 2021

Time: 11:30 AM – 12:30 PM EST

Register here to receive an email reminder 15 minutes before the broadcast.

 Here is what Grace says:

“As a graduate student and now, a young professional, I feel the constant hum of professional insecurity. While I consider myself a confident person, there are questions about my professional life which are difficult for anyone to answer, but especially in the early stages of career-building; how much time should I spend each week on work? 35 hours? 45 hours? 65 hours? Is the work I produce perceived as valuable and deserving of recognition? Are my bosses satisfied with my work ethic or am I falling short of expectations? Will I be able to choose future roles that fit my interests and desired lifestyle? As I interact with others farther along in their career, I often feel an urgency: they may have the magical words or may be able to open a magical door if I could ask just the right questions or if I could just impress them with my curated LinkedIn profile. This insecurity can weigh on me.

On the other hand, I can call to mind specific conversations with mentors or with more advanced professionals that gave me peace, confidence, and determination in my career; during these conversations, a desperate need to impress fell away as I listened to their stories and their advice. Whether from an established mentor, or in a one-time conversation, the words of those farther along in their careers can ground, inspire, and change us. While I do not believe there is a magic formula, I have found magic in relating to people in professional or personal stages different from my own. I am thrilled to share one of those relationships, my relationship with Pierre, and describe the small steps I took to find a high-impact mentor in the upcoming virtual live stream.

A common theme in my experience with mentors is that they rarely provide a straightforward overview of their career and lay out a 1-5 step plan for how one could follow in their footsteps. The same is true of my relationship with Pierre. Over the last 2 years, I feel I am slowly learning more and more about his career which is and was compelling, nuanced, and what seems to me, incredibly rewarding.”

In Pierre’s words:

‘”Power Electronics“; I must acknowledge, has been a very dynamic and influencing ingredient throughout the journey of my professional and private life.  That might seem to be weird, but it is true. My challenge now is to provide you with the when, where, how, and why that is true. Sunday afternoon, December 7th, 1941, in the living room of my mom and dad’s house, I was listening to the radio and President Roosevelt was declaring war against Japan. At the age of 7, I was mystified, how can a piece of furniture, plugged into the wall be to do this.

By the time I was 16, I was removing vacuum tubes, testing them at the local drug store, and replacing the bad ones. Following my graduation from high school, I began night college, served two years in the Korean war, discharged, and continued in day college and graduated with a BSEE in 1962. My, unknowingly, introduction to power electronics was taking a newly available extra credit course titled, (don’t remember the exact title), “a new semi-conductor The Transistor invented by GE Research in 1957”. My first job was with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, (NASA), Lewis Research Center in Cleveland Ohio.

My work at NASA focused on researching better ways to collect, save and process electrical power for spacecrafts. During one of my early annual performance reviews, my supervisor asked me if I was a member of the IEEE. When I said no, he suggested I look into it. I joined the IEEE in February 1975. My early involvement in IEEE activities was limited to attending power electronic conferences. That led to my becoming a member of the power electronic council. I quickly realized that the connectivity with other engineers and academic leaders in the field of power electronics research was extremely beneficial and a major contributing factor in my NASA career growth. (a section leader to the Manager of a newly formed Power Electric Branch of the Electric Power Division). And in the second phase of my professional career, working for the Sundstrand Corp. I retired as Director of the Electric Research Division.

I’d like to share with you the when, how, and why being a member of the IEEE has contributed to a successful professional and private life’s journey, including co-authoring a book about “Aging”, with my co-presenter Grace.’

Register and tune in at 11.30 AM EST to be inspired by their interesting journey.

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