Twenty-two years ago, Robert (Bob) Dayton founded the Mentoring Partnership of Minnesota. When Bob passed away last month, the business and mentoring communities in Minnesota lost a dear friend. When I joined IWCO Direct in 1999 as President & CEO, I became active in the Minnesota Business Partnership. It was there I met Bob and quickly learned that his involvement in mentoring went far beyond asking CEOs to support mentoring by writing a check.
It’s often been said that no voice was stronger than Bob’s in advocating that mentoring was not just something that was nice to do. In less than five minutes, he could persuade you that mentoring was a “must do” for your business and your community. He would rattle off statistics that were shocking and compelling. Shocking to hear there are more than 250,000 youth in Minnesota who could benefit from a positive mentoring relationship. Compelling to hear about the impact mentors have on young people. These include improved self-confidence and attitudes, increased interest in staying in school, improved relationships with peers and families, and reducing the likelihood of getting involved in drug and alcohol abuse and delinquent behavior. As Bev Lohs wrote last month, mentors help kids make better choices every day.
Many of Minnesota’s largest companies including 3M, Target, and General Mills continually invest in mentoring because of Bob Dayton. IWCO Direct is not as large as these companies but our commitment to mentoring, which started with a conversation with Bob Dayton, is as big and will endure as part of his legacy.
To read more about Bob’s amazing life about and find details on his family’s request to consider a gift to the Mentoring Partnership of Minnesota in lieu of flowers, click here.
We will miss you, Bob. Rest in peace.
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