SUFU 2020: Voyage on the Mentor-Ship, The Zimskind Award Lecture

Scottsdale, AZ ( Dr. Ann Cameron introduces the recipient of the Zimskind award, Dr. Anne Suskind. This award is given to young urologist for productivity and research in the field. Dr. Suskind chose to speak on mentoring/mentorship as she credits her successes to great mentorship. Dr. Suskind begins by explaining her qualifications: she is a mentee and mentor and also has certification at her institution's Clinical and Translational Science Institute (CTSI) mentor training program. She outlines her talk and begins by defining the mentor/mentee relationship as it should be a synergistic relationship.


She emphasizes how there are many different types of mentors. She proceeds with explaining the top 3 ways to be a good mentee and Top 3 ways to be a good mentor.

Ways to be a good mentee:

  1. Do your research and choose a good mentor

- mentor qualities include admirable personable quality, they guide your career, they have a strong time commitment with meetings, they support personal/professional balance, leave a legacy

- the best mentor has time for you, they may not be most famous but the quality is more important

- the main mentor should not be your boss

- talk to other mentees

She defines a mentor and sponsor. A sponsor is someone in a position of power and can actively try to enhance or move your career along. A mentor may not be in a position of power. Ideally, the mentor can have qualities of both

  1. Diversify! Find multiple mentors and find a team. She talks of her team of mentors from her two fellowships, currently a geriatrician and a colorectal surgeon.

  1. The mentee should drive the relationship and be proactive by initiating meetings, following up and following through. Self-assessments will help. She emphasizes using the following checklist by Zerzan, Making the most of mentors: a guide for the mentee.

Ways to be a good mentor

  1. Put the mentee’s interest ahead of your own: Do not practice mentorship malpractice: take credit for mentee’s work, making mentees work on your project, slowing the mentee down, discouraging, allowing the mentee to make mistakes over and over
  1. Identify the career inflection points and encourage mentee on how to succeed
  2. Allow the relationship to evolve over time and empower the mentee to be independent of you

She concludes her talk by thanking all of her mentors over her lifetime and a quote from Anthony Tjan, Harvard Business Review 2017: “What the Best Mentors Do, The best leaders practice a form of leadership that is less about creating followers and more about creating other leaders.”

Presented by: Anne M. Suskind, MD, MS, FACS, FPMRS, Associate Professor of Urology; Obstetrics, Gynecology, and Reproductive Sciences, Director, Neurourology, Female Pelvic Medicine & Reconstructive Surgery, UCSF Department of Urology

Written by: Gina B. Carithers at the Society of Urodynamics, Female Pelvic Medicine & Urogenital Reconstruction Winter Meeting, SUFU 2020, February 25 - February 29, 2020, Scottsdale, Arizona