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Get to know Kent Summers — Director of Training and Development

“We’re all supposed to use good judgment, but the way to get good judgment is from bad experiences.”

Kent Summers

Kent Summers has seen a lot of ups and downs in his 35-year career. After being laid off from his first job as a project manager at Thiokol in 1992, Kent went on to quickly develop a talent in reinventing himself. Throughout his career, he has worked in a variety of positions across a wide range of industries. Whether he was managing leadership development at call centers across the world with AOL, working at Blackberry as a training coach, teaching students as an adjunct professor, or training employees as a learning specialist at Microsoft, Kent has always been good at using his natural talent as a leader and mentor in whatever role he finds himself in. As of today, Kent has been laid off from 10 different positions, however, he makes up for these losses by continuing to expand his professional experience and education. With a masters degree in business education, bachelor’s in business administration, AAS in sales and retailing, and post graduate certificate in industrial training, Kent currently uses his well-rounded set of skills as a director of training and development at North American Services. 

Q: What made you interested in becoming a LevelNext mentor? 

“It looked like a fun opportunity to take what I’ve learned and share. We’re all supposed to use good judgment, but the way to get good judgment is from bad experiences…So my goal is to allow people to become self aware and point them in the direction that they want to be, and make sure that they understand all the landmines and problems with that choice. If a person wants to be an entrepreneur, that’s great. I can tell them all the good things about that, but I’ve also experienced all the bad things.”

Q: Have you ever been mentored by someone? How did that mentorship impact your career or shape you as a person? 

“Carl Grunander was the teacher for all of my classes one quarter at Weber State, and we got to be more friends than student/teacher. In that relationship, I relaxed because he was my bud and I turned in an assignment one day that he looked at and said ‘Is this your best work?’ I said ‘probably not’ and he said ‘Then why are you wasting my time?’ That affected the rest of my career and is a one-liner I have used often in my coaching of others. 

Q: What qualities do you think make a good mentor? 

“A mentor has to be the one in the relationship that has some discipline and be able to have the hard conversations and then go have lunch afterwards. They need to be very sharp and direct, but also not be judgemental…I’m a boomer and have worked with every age group, and when you get into a real mentoring relationship, none of that matters. Everybody brings something positive to the party, everybody brings something that’s less than positive, and everybody has blind spots.”

If you want to get mentored by Kent, click here to apply and sign up with LevelNext today.

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