BestMentorsFountainBlue’s mentorship and coaching program works with growth-minded enterprises and start-ups to recruit, retain, advance and promote leadership and innovation.

FountainBlue regularly works with start-ups through our advisory services, and with enterprises through our coaching, training and mentorship program development activities. Please join us for our monthly mentorship awards event will launch on November 1, 2019. To register, visit

This annual program is part of our annual When She Speaks program, and includes our corporate partners and the larger FountainBlue community. For more information, e-mail us at


Friday, November 1, 11:30 1.m. – 1:00 p.m.

First Annual Mentorship Best Practices Panel

Lam Research, 4650 Cushing Pkwy, Fremont (Building 1)

Invitation details at

If you have a dedicated, hard-working and intelligent employee, Mentorship becomes THE difference-maker. Sure, education and experience matter, but Mentorship can frame that education and experience and make them into learning opportunities.

Sponsorship is important, but without Mentorship, it’s hard for the sponsor to make a business case.

Culture is important, but mentorship helps mentees (and mentors) succeed and even thrive in existing culture. Indeed, mentees and mentors can together even shape the culture so that more people benefit.

For this year’s first annual When She Speaks Mentorship Program, leaders from the FountainBlue community will share their best practices and advice in an interactive discussion.

  • Facilitator Linda Holroyd, CEO, FountainBlue
  • Panelist Amber Barber, Sr. Manager Business Operations Management, Lam Research
  • Panelist Serpil Bayraktar, Distinguished Engineer, Chief Architect’s Office – Development, Cisco
  • Panelist Christina Lewis, BU Controller/Director, Enterprise Finance, Western Digital
  • Panelist Ronit Polak, VP, Quality Assurance, Palo Alto Networks
  • Panelist Kavita Shah, Senior Director, Strategic Marketing, Nova Measuring Instruments

With introductory remarks from Erin Yeaman, Managing Director of HR, Lam Research and Mike Snell, Vice President of Operations, Global Operations, Lam Research. 


FountainBlue’s September 1, 2019 Blog: An Ode to Mentors, by Linda Holroyd  

Mentors come in many shapes and sizes, from many backgrounds, with different interests. But in my experience, the best mentors have some key qualities.

  1. All great mentors have the type of broad and deep experience, preferably in a range of products/services/industries/markets. This doesn’t mean that every experience that a mentor had was successful, just that there are learnings from every experience. Indeed a mentor can’t effectively share their suggestions and insights with wisdom. 
  2. Successful mentors generally have their own successes in business and in life. ‘Success’ is loosely defined, but suffice to say that the mentee must respect the mentor as ‘successful’ in ways which are important to him or her. Indeed, it would be difficult to respect a mentor unless the mentee respects the successful experience of that mentor.
  3. Mentors are viewed as ‘influential’ in specific ways, as defined by the mentee. The mentor might be influential for specific niches of people, or across broad groups of people, depending on the needs and interests of the mentee. 
  4. Although there have been good mentors who are less than humble, I find that those who are humble are more modest, more unassuming, more clear about their contributions and abilities, while also being more open to helping others also succeed.
  5. Most successful people, including successful mentors, are focused and goal-oriented. A great mentor knows how to make the mentee more focused and goal-oriented, while helping her or him keep an eye on the longer-term objectives, and helping him or her feel supported and balanced. 
  6. Great leaders have displayed perseverance and commitment, often overcoming extraordinary circumstances to achieve outrageous goals.  Great mentors help their mentees to do the same.
  7. Great mentors are principled, honorable and respectful leaders who teach others how to conduct themselves in the same manner.
  8. Great mentors are Self-Aware – they know their weaknesses and strengths and appreciate the strengths and weaknesses in others. They encourage and support others in being increasingly more self-aware.
  9. Great mentors make a point of including others in projects, successes and challenges. They know that added new and different perspectives will better benefit all participants.
  10. Great mentors are Life-time Learners who relish the opportunity to keep learning, and help mentees and others around them to embrace those learning opportunities as well.

Thank you to all great mentors who have touched me directly and indirectly. You helped me to better understand myself, and raised the bar so that I can be a better version of myself.



FountainBlue Oct 1, 2019 blog: ‘What the Best Mentors Teach Us‘, 

Last month’s post was an Ode to Mentors. None of us could be where we are without them. It celebrates who mentors are as people and why they are so inspiring and necessary for those around them.

This month, we will build on the topic, and discuss What the Best Mentors Teach Us. Again, these are my thoughts from decades as a mentor, mentee, and bystander. I’ve learned from the best, and even when they weren’t any good, I learned even more about what works for me and why.

I’ve organized my thoughts in three areas:

  • Personal qualities: versatility, resiliency, emotional intelligence, resourcefulness, ‘hungry’
  • Communication qualities: clarity and directness, empowerment, mediation/moderation
  • Network/Connection qualities: empowerment, grow and establish network/community

Your thoughts will vary, but I hope that this summary is thought-provoking.

Personal Qualities– 

1. Versatility – 

      • The best mentors teach us to be versatile, to adapt to different people, cultures, technologies, industries. 
        • The more you adopt an open and embracive mind set, the better you’ll understand others around you, the more likely you are to succeed on a grander scale.

2. Resiliency – 

      • The best mentors teach us that nothing worth having is easy, and also that the best lessons are often the hardest lessons. They help us pull ourselves up by our bootstraps especially when all seems lost. 
        • With a combination of humor, wisdom, strength, advice and connections, they help us pick ourselves up, shake ourselves off and ask ourselves, ‘What’s next?”

3. Emotional Intelligence – 

      • The best mentors help you understand what you’re feeling, what others are feeling, the reasons for these reactions, the motivations of yourself and others etc.,
        • Understanding your own emotions, and that of others will help you be more compassionate while also being more likely to produce better plans and better results.

4. Resourcefulness 

      • The best mentors help you be more creative, more flexible and more adaptable around problem-solving.
  • Seeing the problem from a larger and different point of view helps mentees better address opportunities and challenges.

5. Hungry (Lifelong Learners) –

      •  The best mentors know that life is a journey, not a destination. They teach us to ever reach higher and wider, never settling, never accepting complacency.
  • Going out of the comfort zone and embracing new learnings make life a more interesting, satisfying and entertaining journey.

Communication Abilities

6. Clarity and Directness (of Communication) – 

      • The best mentors help their mentees better understand their own communication styles, and that of others. They challenge us to be more clear, more precise, more inspiring, more diplomatic, more gracious, and more transparent in our communications.
        • There are so many ways to get communications wrong. Mentors help us head off communication traps while helping us better understand how we are coming across to others, and improving the results of our communication overall.

7. Empowerment 

      • The best mentors empower their mentees to solve their own problems, to reach for more than they think they can reach. This is not just a confidence builder, it also opens up a broader, larger view of possibilities for their mentees.
        • As mentors empower their mentees, they, in turn, often consciously or unconsciously empower others around them.  

8. Mediation and Moderation – 

      • The best mentors help us better understand conflict and the motivations of all parties. 
        • They may teach us how to better mediate between parties, how to moderate responses between extreme points of view, and even how to improve the chances of collaboration and consensus.

Network and Community

9. Network – 

    • The best mentors know how to grow their network, and support mentees in growing theirs. 
      • Having a broad and deep network is key to all the other qualities taught by great mentors.

10. Community –

    • The best mentors help their mentees connect with the people closest to them, and also to the community around them. 
      • The challenge and joy of building close relationships and community helps us all feel fulfilled, challenged, accepted, and understood.