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Reflecting on Mentorship: A Tribute to "Hero"

As Memorial Day approaches, today at Namaste Brows and Boutique has been unusually quiet. The shop is peaceful, and we’ve had only a few customers stop by. I am thankful for the blue sky, the sunny day, and a happy heart. Every time I have some quiet time, I make it a point to write my blogs. Today, as I decided to pen down my thoughts for a post to be shared at the end of the month on our website, one person comes to mind—my mentor, whom I will call "Hero."

In the journey of entrepreneurship, many people have come and gone. Each person has taught me something valuable, both what I must do and what I must not. Two weeks ago, Hero stopped by the boutique, and it was a very special time. I have known him for almost two years now. He has always been there to share in my excitement and to answer my curious questions.

This visit was different. Hero came with a big smile on his face, relaxed and fully himself. We both listened to one another. Hero knows how hungry I am to be a successful businesswoman, but this time, he made time for me to share about him, his life, and what he sees in me. He said, "Jeena, I will always be your mentor." Given that he is in his 70s, I asked if he was retiring. He said no but added, "You are growing, and more opportunities are going to come for you. I want you to know it's because of your willingness to go above and beyond that you will achieve all your goals and aspirations."

Hearing those words made me emotional. In my culture, we don't often hear such affirmations from our parents. Hero then shared more about his personal life. He is a man of faith and has a deep love for his family, but he wasn’t always like that. He credited his transformation to his wife, saying she made him a better man. He shared how he used to be in gangs, had many girlfriends, and didn’t know himself. After meeting his wife, he found the right path, wanting more for his family and future. With an entrepreneurial spirit, he opened several nonprofits, admitting that his ego played a role in those early days. Today, some of those nonprofits are thriving, and he is very happy. He said that in his hard times, his faith helped him make the right decisions.

Hero has 13 grandkids and 13 great-grandkids. He said he would do everything for them. While some of his children are thriving, others still need his help. When Hero speaks about his family, he becomes a different person. His eyes show worry, pride, and joy as he talks about his great-grandkids. I asked him for advice on how to keep going, and he shared the following: don't let others bother you, don't lose your faith, take risks, and love your family.

We spent almost two hours talking about family and life. I respect him for sharing his weaknesses and vulnerability with me. I am a lifelong student, and today, I humbly share that I am a mentor to a few. My time with Hero has taught me to remain human even in a superior position. He also shared about his health, and it’s hard to hear about the decline of our loved ones. However, I am grateful he shared with me, encouraging me to spend more time with those who truly care.

With this blog, I want to encourage all of you to thank the mentors in your life. You are who you are because of every individual who has intentionally helped you grow, learn, and become the person you are today. Thank you, Hero, for being a hero in my entrepreneurial journey.

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