WORTH KNOWING: Alchemist & Mentor

by | Apr 1, 2011

Black Eyes - Loving Eyes

Black Eyes - Loving Eyes

Who She Is

Rays of warmth float across the air from Black Eyes, the one who is listening, to me, the one who is talking. Black Eyes speaks her words in Latin rhythms.  She is


Lisa Brown

My first mentor

Lisa mines with her eyes, polishes her discoveries, and makes them shine. Her special formula?



She, the alchemist, works with ingredients of seeing, listening, appreciating, investing, taking risks, and providing opportunities.

What She Gives

Lisa is building organizational development capacity in manufacturing. She approves my graduate studies at American University to help with this effort.  I immerse myself, learn, return, share and practice. It is a natural fit. She, the alchemist, knew it would be so, try as she did to steer me towards an MBA.

Several years later, the company experiments with self-managed teams building whole products instead of doing repeated piece work. Teams of technicians build the whole computer, learn each other’s skills, reduce errors and communicate directly with the customer who receives the fruits of their labor.

We, the consultants, suggest we too should run as a self-managed team. Lisa agrees. We became managers.  It is a rich learning experiences and forever bonds are formed.

Reorganizations lead to the end of the team. We each move on to manage other teams and functions in the company - Engineering, Customer Service and more.

I am pregnant. Lisa plans and hosts a baby shower. How do I convey the depth with which her caring and generosity touch me. It is not a familiar feeling. My appreciation goes beyond what words can express.

Paying it Forward

Years go by. There are women’s leadership conferences. A second child for Lisa. I leave the company and begin my doctoral studies. The company is sold. Lisa works for the new company and then the next new company after that. I complete my doctorate. I become founder and president of Germane Consulting.

We stay in touch, although sometimes years go by without a call or a lunch date.

Lisa’s daughter is in college and finally an opportunity for me to pay it forward. She needs help with her final thesis, a research project on the effects of television on girls’ identity formation.

Eric, Lisa’s son is starting a business. “How can I help?” Introductions to venture capital persons, entrepreneurial experts. What a delight. I am mentoring and coaching the Alchemist’s son. He was 5 years old the last time we met and played.

Lisa emails “reserve the date” for her retirement party.  I am co-founder of 3Plus International with two European partners, Lise Moen and Dorothy Dalton. We will advance women to senior leadership roles by matching them with the right mentors, sponsors and networking support, and

Black eyes





Is Back

Post Script

Lisa sent this post to her employees to encourage them to mentor others. To her surprise, they responded to her and about her. With her permission, I share the their comments.

What a lovely article that succinctly articulates your magic touch and supportive bond. I just re-read the book "The Alchemist", finishing it about a week ago, so it couldn't be more serendipitous. "The universe conspires to help one reach his/her personal legend."  You truly help all of us find the magic within to find our direction.We are lucky to have you in our lives.


WOW – what a beautiful poem and sentiment….and the Pay It Back mentality…..

Wish I had had the chance to meet the Black Eyes in Person :)

What wonderful closure for you.


This makes me even sadder to not be able to work with you for a longer period of time.  Being a mentor takes time and commitment to another person that not many people are willing to give, so I think this is a very large honor and speaks very highly of you.  Thank you for sharing with us and Congratulations!


One of the true signs of a “GREAT” leader is to not only provide the guidance, training, “shoulder”, to their employees so they can reach their potential, but to also embrace the moment when they receive a promotion or perhaps an offer for a role greater than even the leaders holds.  There is a poem about the mom eagle who “pushes” her babies off the cliff when the mom feels they are ready to “fly” on their own.  Yes, the babies are scared but they not only fly on their own, but they SOAR to new heights.


To use that story, you have prepared so many people to “soar” Lisa and that you should be proud of………………


Thanks for everything you do for all of us.


This is just another reason we know you are special !!!


This is wonderful. You should feel so good!   I think you have found your next calling.


Hi Lisa,

You do make a difference in the lives you touch. What a wonderful gift you have.


I totally agree...Lisa, you are truly a very special person...we are all so fortunate to have met you and worked with you.


Lisa, you have touched so many lives in such a positive way.  I hope that the blessings that you have provided to so many come back to you a thousand fold.


Lisa Brown joins 3Plus International as a mentor-sponsor in September, 2011. Lucky is the woman who works with her.

Dr. Anne Perschel Subscriber
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