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Expert Roundup: 9 Industry Leaders Share What Makes a Great Mentor

The transformative power of a great teacher or mentor is something most of us have experienced and understand on a personal level. Take a look at our own influential and technical minds at Harbour.Space University, as they share their opinions on what it takes to be a great teacher and mentor.

You have brains in your head.

You have feet in your shoes.

You can steer yourself

any direction you choose.

You're on your own. And you know what you know.

And YOU are the guy who'll decide where to go.

-Dr. Seuss, “Oh, The Places You Will Go.”


The transformative power of a great teacher or mentor is something most of us have experienced and understand on a personal level. We know when reading the great American author, Dr. Seuss ,“Oh, The Places You Will Go,” in the lines above, we can recognize a person or people who have made an impact on our personal, educational and professional lives. When Seuss said, “you can steer yourself any direction you choose,” it’s because we had these people who invested their time while teaching us. 

To reach success, it took many hours of hard work, perseverance and patience from our educators. They continually challenged us, helped us think deeper and inspired us to be creators of our own imagination. This type of inspiration developed a feeling of magic around us. That type of magic makes us believe Dr. Seuss was right, we will decide where we go. This leads us to reach new heights, filling us with joy and helping us reach a new level of consciousness. 

To have this impact on someone’s life doesn’t come easy. At Harbour.Space, we have the luxury of working with some of the most respected figures in the industry, who take the time and effort to help our students find their paths, on levels beyond their professional careers. To celebrate this, we asked them what qualities they felt makes a good teacher. 

So, take a look at our own influential and technical minds at Harbour.Space University, as they share their opinions on what it takes to be a great teacher and mentor: 

Jessica Best (Digital Marketing)

VP Data-Driven Marketing, BARKLEY

“I'd say a good teacher is one that can get students excited and interested to learn the things they can teach. It's not just someone who is smart or who has done it, but someone who can share it/teach it/communicate those smarts well and in a way that keeps people who aren't nerds for it (yet) interested in it and engaged. 

I also think that hands-on is THE best way to learn, so anything a teacher can do to let students try it and get confused, test ideas out and see what works... that's all the best way to learn :)”


Marybeth Sandell (FinTech) 

CEO of Jamp Media, Partner at Content Pixies

“A great mentor knows how to listen and ask questions. This is necessary to learn what the student doesn’t know, and what interests the student. These insights help an instructor deliver information that is relevant to the student’s interests but also pushes the student into new and challenging territory.” 


Po-Chen Chia (Interaction Design) 

Freelance Animator

“I think the success of a mentor or instructor is not only in passing on a certain skill set or specific knowledge, but also trying to push and inspire the students beyond just the subject they are learning. It’s about building a relationship. It’s to be able to see what they are passionate about and provide them with guidance and resources so that they are prepared to accomplish it on their own. As a mentor you can only teach so much - the rest is up to them.”


The most effective approach is being hands-on while sharing passion and excitement. This allows the students to try on their own, test out ideas and see what works. In return, students feel more confident, even those who don’t have the desire to pursue the subject.

Charles Farina (Digital Marketing) 

Director of Analytics at Analytics Pros

“Passion and excitement can often be very contagious and I believe those are what often separate an average instructor from a great instructor. Having passion around a certain subject, topic or profession means you likely have poured years of work into becoming an expert in that and even more important that you continue to dedicate significant time in your craft in continuing to be that expert. The excitement I think is natural for great instructors, it will come to light any time you have an opportunity to talk about or better yet give the opportunity for others to learn and possibly even jumpstart careers in these areas.”


Irene Pereyra (Interaction Design) 

Co-founder, Anton & Irene

“A good teacher is fair, enthusiastic and a good storyteller, presents material in a way that makes every student understand, creates a sense of community and belonging in the classroom, instills confidence, sets high expectations, doesn't take any bullshit, and really, really, really cares.” 


Being a valuable teacher and mentor doesn’t mean being the smartest and brightest or the one who has the most experience. This person is someone who can communicate their intellect in a way that keeps people interested and engaged while creating a sense of family within the classroom. 

David Zmiaikou (Maths as a Second Language) 

PhD, Lecturer at the Educational Centre of the Belarusian State University

“A talented teacher would have the three following qualities: intelligence, kindness and patience. First, one should have a profound understanding of the material to be able to teach it correctly, as well as a realistic estimation of the level of the students. Second, one should care about the students by taking into account their needs and by building a course that would benefit them the most. Third, one should always remain calm and positive even if the way students behave and learn doesn’t meet one's expectations.”


Don Ritzen (High Tech Entrepreneurship) 

Co-founder, Rockstart

“Great teachers make you think, see and experience things from a different angle. They have lived the situations and challenges you’re facing many times before and know that the best way to teach is not to tell you what to do, but to ignite your creativity, strengthen your analytical skills and give you the confidence to take on projects and experiences outside your comfort zone.”


Andy Crestodina (Digital Marketing)

Co-Founder / Chief Marketing Officer, Orbit Media Studios

“The best teachers are practitioners. They are out in the world, working, solving problems. They teach, but they don't spend all of their time in classrooms. This lets them bring real-world, current challenges and solutions into their teaching programs.”


Takuji Okubo (FinTech)

Managing Director and Chief Economist, Japan Macro Advisors

“I think a good teacher is passionate about the subject he/she is teaching, considerate of the difficulty faced by students, and always willing to learn on new developments in the subject he/she is teaching.”


Integrating wisdom and support will leave the biggest impact. Remembering Dr. Seuss - guide those to have the best brain, feet in shoes, and where they can steer themselves in any direction they choose. 

Inspired to work with these great minds? We hope so. Head over to our website to see how you can make that a reality! Also, get in touch with us at to let us know what you thought!

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