Men Who Mentor

We hope you enjoyed our March profile series “Women Making a Difference”. We received so much positive feedback from both men + women alike, that we wanted to feature more awesome individuals from Vancouver!

Men Who Mentor is a profile series we will run in April and May. Do you know a man who is impacting his community in a positive way – mentoring both men + women and helping others to reach their potential? Please send us recommendations, either by tweeting us @networkinginvan or emailing us at jen at networking in van dot com.

Check out Past ‘Men Who Mentor' Profiles

Friday, May 18th

Name + Work: Jon Festinger, Q.C.
Centre for Digital Media; Festinger Law & Strategy LLP

Author of “Video Game Law, 2nd Edition” (with Chris Metcalfe & Roch Ripley; published April 2012)

Currently developing course & related materials on “Digital Ethics.”

Twitter/Blog: @jonfestinger; @gamebizlaw

What mentorship means to you: “Mentor” is a word I feel most uncomfortable with. That is because what happens is not, in my experience, mentorship – just a conversation between two people who care. The dialectic inevitably always goes to the same place; that we all must find the courage to do what we are truly passionate about. Deep down, we all know what we really want to do (whether we admit it to ourselves or not). Dig deep to identify what you really care about. That is, of course, what you will be best at.

Who is/was an important mentor or role model to you: Susanne Boyce, Ian Macnaughton, John Sanderson, Q.C.

Best career advice

“Follow your bliss.” – Joseph Campbell

A Jewish story that amplifies: “The Query of Queries: Before his death, Rabbi Zusya said “In the coming world they will not ask me: ‘Why were you not Moses?’ They will ask me: ‘Why were you not Zusya?’ – From “Tales of the Hasidim”, Martin Buber

Jon's Rules to Live By:

A few months ago I wrote out some rules to live by. My initial thought when asked to provide something to include in this profile was to make those rules generic so they might be seen as applying to others. The problem that became obvious is that I don't much believe in telling others how to live personally. It's quite an achievement if we can figure out those things just for ourselves, even a little bit.

Accordingly this list has never been seen by anyone except me (until now). Though they don’t apply to anyone else, they may inspire others to do something similar. They are in the order I wrote them, which is to say that they are in the order they came to mind.

The idea to do “My Rules to Live By” came from an article about legendary UCLA basketball coach John Wooden which included his rules – which were truly fantastic ones. The problem was,that as fantastic as they were,they were not quite my rules. A few weeks later, I managed to write mine. I refined them a bit over the next few days and that was that. Here they are (unchanged & unexpurgated – some typos corrected):

“My Rules to Live By”:

1. Live in the world, not my head. Be present.

2. Love my wife and children. Unconditionally.

3. Under no circumstances lose my humanity, humility or vulnerability.

4. Make the world a better place.

5. Always be completely myself (and check in with myself after interactions to ensure I was).

6. Be there for others; remember them, think of them and reach out to them. Love.

7. Be fair; be honest; be kind. Good intentions may not be enough, but they are the prerequisite to everything.

8. Stand up for & protect others.

9. Always see & seek the humanity in others

10. Work hard. Give everything my best.

11. Teach, write & create – do what I love.

12. Avoid sugars. Avoid white flour if possible.

13. Pray.

14. Spirituality & symbolism, not superstition.

15. Don't be or act angry. Don't be reactive, ever.

16. Don't manipulate.

17. Don't “create” enemies in my head.

18. Deep constant awareness that how I do things is as important as what is done. Lead by example.

19. Know that every one of the billions of people on earth is truly unique. Allow mind to be blown by that.

20. Go deepest within. Doing so brings me closer to others as it accesses the collective unconscious we all share.

One postscript. At roughly the same time another personal list was created. It was called “Things to Improve” and was about areas in which I want to do better as a person. Forgive me for not including that list.


Tuesday, May 8th

Name + Work: Bill Gibson
Board Chair, Mountain Equipment Co-op
Chair, Western Executive Network
Board Member, Forum for Women Entrepreneurs

What mentorship means to Bill: You can see a lot of grey hair in my picture. Every hair represents a mistake I have made in my career. So you could say I am trying to help people avoid going prematurely grey. In a more serious vein, I mentor because I have learned a lot in my career and if I can help others learn from me and avoid some of those mistakes then I have accomplished something.

Important mentor or role model to Bill: My first boss in my part time job after school during university showed me how to love your job, no matter  what it is, and how to approach your work with enthusiasm and energy. I mentor women entrepreneurs and love to see the energy they bring to their businesses. You can't teach energy but there are lots of other things you can help with.

Best career advice: Whatever you choose to do, do it with all your heart and when you figure out where you'd like to retire, move there as soon as you can.

Check out If you need a “sleeves rolled up” executive to fill a gap for awhile.

Check out Past ‘Men Who Mentor' Profiles