AT: You have a real passion for helping junior compliance professionals develop in their career. You and I got to know each other over three podcasts we recorded together on the topic. What fueled this passion in you?
JP: Much of what I have learned in my career has come from others who were willing to take me under their wing and mentor me. This has been particularly helpful in navigating sometimes difficult waters in working with other people. We can learn much about compliance requirements in the law, but the law doesn’t tell us how to most effectively get people to comply. Those are the skills I have learned most effectively from others who have walked the path before me, and I hope to return that favor by passing along to others the things I’ve learned, the approaches I have found most effective, and the pitfalls to avoid. We are largely a product of those who have come before us, and hopefully with each generation of mentorship, the wisdom we pass on becomes more meaningful and useful.
AT: As your career was developing, who were some of the notable mentors you met along the way to guide you?
JP: Very early in my career, I was fortunate to have worked for a gentleman who took the time to mentor me. The most valuable lessons I learned from him were not only how the industry works, but more importantly how to work with people most effectively. He taught me how to read the room to better understand my audience, anticipate people’s needs, answer questions before they get asked, do my homework, come prepared to defend my statements and recommendations, and effectively prepare myself for difficult conversations. These early lessons were invaluable to me in my future career in healthcare compliance.
AT: What do you think makes for a good mentor?
JP: Some elements that are important to being a good mentor are time, patience, and a willingness to take calculated risk. Supervising people is simply making sure they do what they’re told. Mentoring, on the other hand, takes time to discuss alternative approaches, identify best practices, and provide good advice on overcoming potential barriers to success. It takes patience to allow mistakes to happen and then give room for reflection on those experiences for future improvement. A good mentor will also allow their students to spread their wings by giving them opportunities to grow, even giving them a chance to fail, which is often the most valuable and effective source of growth.