Thanks to my colleague and friend, Shweta Kesarwani, for including me as part of the “Blog It Forward”campaign. I’ve long believed in the power of community, but this effort is a unique way to make it personal and as a result, I’ve taken a step back to look at what community is all about.

Every day I have the opportunity to meet and interact with SCN members – some I know quite well, but most are only names (and profile pictures). Beyond understanding what topics interest them, I realize I know very little about what drives them, who they are, and the stories that formed them. That’s why I love this “Blog It Forward” concept – it gives me an opportunity to do what I’d do if we met at a cocktail party – “I’m Pat, this is what interests me and here’s what my world is about”. But it also let’s me listen to you…to get to know you…and to realize that among the millions of members of SCN, we each bring our story to the table.

Shweta asked a few specific questions, which I’ll try to answer here:

What would I have done if not doing what they are doing now – professionally?

I would be a teacher. In fact, in my first career I WAS a teacher. I can think of no better profession than to teach, to educate, to mold, to model, to listen, to impart. Don’t you all have examples of teachers who got you to be better? I did, and that drove me to get in front of a classroom. I don’t teach formally any more, but I do try to use those classroom skills when I do a training or conduct meetings.

Which is their favorite place in the whole world and why?

The beach. I’m not choosy – I just need fine-grained sand, blue water, and the sun.

What keeps them motivated?

My family and the hope I have for my kids.

Now, I’m going to forward this on to some of my homies in SCN so they can introduce themselves:

Christine Merten who is a thinker and doer extraordinaire;

Matt Loewe, who can hit the curveball AND deliver at the office;

Chrissy Bryant, who can accomplish anything, and do it with grace and style.

Inquiring minds want to know…

1. If you had to go without one thing that you do, eat, drink, or say every day, what would it be?

2. Who was your favorite teacher, and why?

3. Who is your hero (besides me)?

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  1. Gali Kling Schneider

    Thanks for blogging Pat!

    I’m still in touch with 2 teachers who influenced me (FB is awesome!) although there are those who got away 😉

    I don’t think teachers get enough credit and respect today for the hard role they play. They help shape future generations.


    PS I love the beach too! One reason I love living in Israel 😆

    1. Patrick Flanders Post author

      Thanks for your nice note, Gali. Yes, I still think that teaching is one of the most important professions…we all must remember that we have an opportunity to teach in so many ways (with kids, friends, colleagues, etc).

      See you at the beach!

  2. Audrey Stevenson

    Hi Pat,

    I think it would be great if you’d let the community know what role you play at SCN, as you are part of our central team.  🙂

    It’s always nice to see Blog It Forward posts from our SCN team members!


  3. Mariana Mihaylova

    Very nice blog Pat!

    Teaching is an absolutely noble path which takes a lot of courage. I could not agree more that it’s one of the most important professions. Everyone wants the best teachers for their kids.

    I will always remember my first teacher and a few more from years after. May be not the faces after so many years but certainly the presence and inspiration they have been spreading into the room 🙂

  4. Tim Guest

    Hi Pat – Thanks for getting involved, it is interesting to hear about your past life as a teacher! I’m doing some Mentoring of 17 year olds and they are a scary bunch!

    Good luck with everything and I hope to read more from you on SCN in future.

    1. Patrick Flanders Post author

      Good for you, Tim! I figure that as long as I can quote hip-hop lyrics, I still have a chance with the teenage crowd. Keep up the mentoring…the world needs people like you showing others the way!

  5. Marcia Walker

    Greetings Pat!  This was a rare instance where I “met” you on the phone before reading your “Blog it Forward”.  This is a great initiative to get to know our community members better.  I absolutely agree with you on the teaching skills – early in my career I earned a certification for technical training and the techniques I learned as part of that program have served me very well not only in meetings, but also in how I develop marketing programs.  The essential element for me is the realization that if the student (customer) doesn’t “get it”, then it is not THEIR fault.  It is my responsibility to present the material in a way that is meaningful for them.

    I’m mentoring university students now to “paty it forward” (I had great mentors in my career), and am encouraging them to engage on SCN as well.  And incidentally, I agree with Audrey – we’d like to hear more about your SCN work!

    1. Patrick Flanders Post author

      Hey Marcia! It’s funny how much teaching most of us do, sometimes without even realizing that it’s impacting others. It seems to me that it’s the little things we do and that are done without a second thought – whether by example, or simply a kind word. The impact is huge and usually way beyond what we will ever know. It’s like a gift that you never get to see opened…but you have to have faith that it’s reaping benefits for others. Keep teaching, training, setting an example!

  6. Marilyn Pratt

    It’s wonderful how the teaching theme resonates with so many here.  I have deep respect as Gali said, for the profession. I taught middle school kids computer skills many years ago and found it the most challenging experience of my professional life.  I taught ABAP for SAP to adults a few years later and it seemed like a privilege in that most people were in the classroom by choice.  I’m sure we could improve the way we learn and teach in the western world.  I know Mark Finnern had some innovative ideas around that.

    I can imagine you being a patient, respectful and thoughtful teacher Pat.   And what Marcia says is awesomely true.  It is our  responsibility to present material in a way that is meaningful for our student/customer/audience.  I didn’t understand that when I was teaching middle school kids.  And I join Marcia and Audrey in the plea to hear more about you and from you Pat.

    1. Patrick Flanders Post author

      I agree…I love hearing about people’s experiences teaching and mentoring. I find that, in any relationship (and think about the number of relationships that we’re involved with in this community), there’s always an element of teaching and learning. When I listen (truly, truly listen), I learn so much – not just about CRM, Mobility, etc, but also about how people use this community, what trends they think are important, and what experiences they bring to the conversation. And I also find that people are receptive to learning on their end. There are so many opportunities to learn…David Foster Wallace perhaps said it best:

      It is about the real value of a real education, which has almost nothing to do with knowledge, and everything to do with simple awareness; awareness of what is so real and essential, so hidden in plain sight all around us, all the time, that we have to keep reminding ourselves over and over:

      Marilyn, I appreciate your kind words. I loved being a “teacher”, and I continue to volunteer in my local elementary school and through coaching. I tend to teach kids – and kids are, at times, hair-pullingly maddening. But they are also receptive, responsive, and don’t accept being spoken down to. I’m energized by what they teach me!

  7. Suseelan Hari

    Hi Patrick,

    Good Day!

    Thank you so much for sharing about you and your experience. It was very interesting and different to read you BIF. Keep up the good work. Thanks for sharing exceptional blog. Keep rocking and sharing new innovation and ideas. I love to read your blogs and happy to comment it.

    Have a Wonderful day!


    Hari Suseelan


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