By betsy.odonovan / July 22, 2014
When Shea Shackelford lends a helping ear to younger producers, they usually come away talking about his skill as a mentor — which is interesting because, when it comes to that kind of relationship, Shea was an orphan.
“I spent many years wishing I had a good mentor,” he said. “I had people to learn from, I had helpful people around me, but there’s some threshold of learning where you realize you’ve got it, that you are the person you’re looking for. … The way I mentor is based a lot around the sort of mentoring I maybe wish I’d had.”
Shea, a cofounder of Big Shed Audio, was one of the pioneers for AIR’s MQ2 initiative and he regularly helps less experienced producers shepherd a project through AIR’s structured mentorship program.
I had called Shea for selfish reasons. Since 2011, I’ve been working as a volunteer mentor-editor for The Op-Ed Project, which is working to diversify the voices and views on the world’s editorial pages. When people come out of a short-term, formal mentorship inspired, encouraged, and improved, it catches my attention.