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In this month’s edition of FO Perspective, I’m glowing in the good fortune of mentorship.

The Wealth Equation attempts to simplify to merely 11 characters the critical idea that your family wealth increases when your resources are applied to growing stronger family members and family culture.

The Wealth Equation: FW = R (HC + RC)

HC – Human Capital

Of the ways I’ve worked on becoming a better person, be it coaching, learning (usually from podcasting and online videos), finding new challenges, etc. my greatest growth is due to great mentors in my life.

With the one year anniversary of Dennis’ passing on October 30th, and recently travelling to Aspen, Colorado to take my menteeship with James E. Hughes to the next level, I’m thinking a lot about mentorship these days.

RC – Relational Capital

Harnessing a close relationship into an effective mentorship relationship is fulfilling for both mentor and mentee. We enrich our lives greatly by finding the time to mentor and be mentored.

Mentorship is a critical skill in being an effective Elder. As the highest wisdom-holder within a family enterprise, but without the control, it is an Elder’s influence that defines her agency. The influence is the action and certainly there has been no greater influence in my life than my mentors.

R – Resources

One aspect of mentorship that I’m fascinated by, because I think understanding incentives is paramount in building strong family office ecosystems, is that mentors are (in my opinion) unpaid.

I don’t think you can pay for effective mentorship. That looks more like teaching or coaching to me – also valuable relationships for sure. But the resource to monitor expensing in mentorship is time, not money!

Time is our greatest resource.

How can we spend our time effectively as mentors and mentees?

Here are my favourite tips from perusing the internet for good advice on mentorship:


  • Frame the time. The mentee should have an agenda.
  • Come prepared. The agenda should be delivered prior to meeting.
  • Get to know each other. The agenda should always include time for getting to understand each other’s worlds.
  • Use effective and increasingly curious questions to gain understanding of each other.


  • Be genuine and direct.
  • Be teachable / look to deliver advice in a teachable manner.
  • Look to the future and action plan; mentorship is not therapy.


  • Goal set effectively and complete accountability check ins.
  • Follow through on the last session’s actions.

Dennis did far more for me than mentor. I saw how he acted constantly. I saw him invest in people every day. I saw him remain calm in adversity. I witnessed his high level of trust, which was was truly unparalleled and resulted in events to his detriment often.

But he always maintained that his trust in people was still worthwhile even though it occasionally burned him.

Dennis was far more than a mentor; he was also a role model.

Geez, I’m “spoiled ripe” in so many ways, and in ways that spoiled rotten people could never imagine.

To the journey,


post-script, a paragraph of a poem by Douglas Malloch:

Good timber does not grow with ease:
The stronger wind, the stronger trees;
The further sky, the greater length;
The more the storm, the more the strength.
By sun and cold, by rain and snow,
In trees and men good timbers grow.

Read the whole poem here.