Dylan Dreyer: I never knew I needed one so I never searched one out, but when you find a mentor it will change your life. We all have something we’re interested in, something we want to pursue. For me, that was meteorology.
I went through the necessary steps: Graduated Rutgers University with a B.S. in meteorology, moved away from home to work in a small market as a meteorologist in Erie, PA, moved to a medium-size market in Providence, RI, then BAM! When I was least expecting it, I met a meteorology legend: John Ghiorse. He built his reputation talking New Englanders through the Blizzard of ’77. I didn’t quite know who he was when I first met him because I grew up in New Jersey (and I wasn’t even alive in 1977), but he soon became the man who would shape me into the meteorologist I was to become.
I emulated his style because I saw myself in him. He was calm, kind, and smart; he gave people the weather information they needed and let them do what they wanted with that information. No hype, no buzzwords, just told it to them straight with all the knowledge he had in his arsenal. With that standard, he built up people’s trust in him.
For me, he took me under his wing and shared everything he knew about weather and secrets to forecasting New England weather specifically. He invited me to spend holidays with his family, as I was living in Rhode Island on my own. He made me laugh and became my great friend. A mentor and friend is the best combination and at the time, I don’t even think he knew I considered him my mentor.
My advice for finding the ideal mentor is to find someone you want to be like. You won’t become them exactly, but it will help you take the actions necessary to get where you want in your particular life’s path. Be a sponge and soak up any ounce of advice that person is willing to provide. It doesn’t have to be much… little bits here and there that will help you through the hurdles.
A mentor should be a sounding board to vent frustrations and share accomplishments. A true mentor will guide you through the best and worst of times because that person has been through what you’re going through. And in the end, you’ll appreciate what that mentor has taught you, whether he or she (or you!) knows it or not.
I’m so grateful for John and how he played a role in my career. I’m not sure he’s even aware of how much impact he has had on me. I’ve had a lot of luck to get to where I am as the meteorologist for NBC News’ “Weekend Today,” but I also know my hard work ethic, being true to myself, being kind to those around me, and listening to advice from someone in the know had a lot to do with it too.