Unveiling the MENCH Behind ME&A's Viral Website Blog Posts on Leadership – ME&A
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Unveiling the MENCH Behind ME&A’s Viral Website Blog Posts on Leadership

Unveiling the MENCH Behind ME&A’s Viral Website Blog Posts on Leadership

“What is a MENCH?” is the title of one of several ME&A website blog posts by ME&A Vice President Emeritus for Learning Technologies Donald Smith, PhD, to go viral over the years. In it he coins the terms MENCH as a blend of MENtor and coaCH also embodying integrity, honor, and decency as a play on the Yiddish word mensch.

“I’ve always believed the terms MENCH and MENCHing, coined by Don, actually describe him and his role at ME&A. We’ve gained so much from his commitment to MENCHing our teams over the years,” said ME&A President and CEO Teresita Perez. “We are also pleasantly surprised our decision to share his leadership expertise with the wider world via the ME&A ‘News and Views’ blog has touched and resonated with so many.”

As of today, the “What is a MENCH?” blog post has achieved almost 24,000 views, which is more than the ME&A’s website’s “Careers” or “News and Views” pages, the third and fourth most viewed pages site-wide since a website redesign in 2018. Only Dr. Smith’s “A Perspective on Globalization: Responsibility to Help Each Other”  blog post at more than 61,000 views garnered more. A dozen or more of Dr. Smith’s other blog posts went somewhat viral at between 2,000 and 7,000 views.

Donald Smith, PhD.

“I never expected that reaction. I’ll read a book on leadership and capture ideas from it, blending it with information from the internet into my blog posts,” Dr. Smith said. “Writing leadership blog posts has proven to be a godsend, keeping me active and fulfilled in my retirement. If they helped ME&A and people around the world, that’s truly gratifying.”

Dr. Smith has an interesting background. In 1962 he was ordained as a priest and sent to the Dominican Republic to serve as a missionary. In 1967, however, he decided to leave the priesthood to first work as an education specialist in schools in Puerto Rico and then as an educational specialist on management for both the U.S. and Canadian governments serving the global aviation community. Then he obtained his doctorate in Adult Education and began splitting his time as a consultant for the global aviation community while joining ME&A to lead the company’s programs in learning, leadership, and performance enhancement while also working part-time as a professor at the University of Ottawa.

“I was fortunate every career change I made inspired and motivated me to perform at my best as I leveraged transferrable experience and skills in pursuit of a broader sense of purpose. I’ve done things and seen things I never would have thought I would,” he said. “Reflecting back, it’s remarkable to think that my mother once envisioned me as a lineman at Bell Canada, following in her footsteps as a phone operator. Little did we know the extraordinary places life had in store for me.”

Dr. Smith has conducted training in more than 50 countries for the global aviation community and ME&A. He was still working part-time into retirement conducting in-person trainings until the pandemic hit when he was 84. The need to social distance as high risk for COVID-19, however, had him stop. Thankfully, practicing social distancing the past four years has kept him and other high-risk members of his household safe from COVID-19 so far. He sees remaining COVID-19 free – when most people have had it by now – as just one of many ways he has been an outlier most of his life.

“My life as an outlier shows people can experience success taking unexpected turns and forging their own path,” he said. “Using my management experience and love for books to write blog posts about leadership during my retirement is the latest example of me, as an outlier, grabbing opportunities. I was fortunate to be able to continue to impact others during the pandemic.”

Said Ms. Perez, “MENCH or outlier or both? We can just let the readers of the ME&A’s blog decide, especially in the years ahead. The backlog of leadership posts Don produced during the pandemic likely will keep running and going viral long after his hands cease to pen them. Thank you, Don.”