University Advancement staff discuss Developing Champions over lunch.

A group of Wake Forest University staff members of varying ages and professions gathered over lunch on Tuesday, April 11, 2017, at University Advancement to discuss developing champions, a Wake Forest commitment that starts with having an excellent coach, mentor or teacher.

We began by sharing stories about a favorite coach, mentor or teacher. Stories about all three were evenly split between all members of our group. We quickly realized that the most memorable coaches, mentors and teachers were very hands-on, made learning a new skill fun and made us work hard.

We began a group discussion about the selfless nature of coaches, mentors and teachers. One particular example resonated with the group: one of us told the story of a trigonometry and algebra substitute teacher who tutored a struggling student outside of class on his own time. After everyone shared their stories, one person inquired about how many of us still keep in touch with our memorable coaches, mentors and teachers, and only a few of us still did. We all thought this was an interesting, and surprising, observation.

We  went on to discuss developing champions both on and off the field, and applied it to the importance of finding and building a community that can support you throughout life.

Our conversation concluded with each of us sharing what we would take away from the conversation, and a clear theme emerged: Working with any coach, mentor or teacher can be scary and intimidating, and the risk of burnout is high, but what we can achieve together – whether it be big or small – is worth it.