The Value of Generational Mentoring and Giving

Dr. Mike Pettet & Danielle Pettet
UWS board member and alumnus Dr. Mike Pettet (class of 2001) and his daughter and current doctor of chiropractic student, Danielle Pettet

Charitable giving, volunteering and giving back through mentorship are often values passed down from generation to generation. In the spirit of exploring how giving permeates throughout the family, we sat down for a Q&A with current doctor of chiropractic student, Danielle Pettet, and her father, current UWS board member, naming opportunity donor and alumnus, Dr. Michael Pettet.

Dr. Michael Pettet

Tell us a little more about the positive mentorship experiences you have had with UWS students.

The best experiences I have had while mentoring UWS students were when I had to stretch my knowledge, dust off a few cobwebs to answer a question, or research and learn a bit of new knowledge for myself. The second-best experience is watching a senior student or new associate gain experience and confidence. To see that glimmer of an “aha” moment in their eyes as the pieces fall into place in the real world is what it’s all about.

I make it a point to ensure that the students have a clear understanding of practice management and finances. Too often, new doctors are pulled into contracts with big promises that they can’t afford. UWS offers a free mentor network (Switchboard) that you should take advantage of, just reach out.

We need to be life-long learners and should want to pass that desire on to everyone we come in contact with. We may be considered experts, but you don’t know everything. A mentorship helps keep you up-to-date and keeps the humility real.

Why do you think it’s important for the previous generation of chiropractic physicians to mentor the upcoming generations?

I came to chiropractic after a 22-year career in the U.S. Marines Corps. Mentoring is in my blood (and yes, I was a drill instructor). Through the ranks, you are expected to train those below you and learn from those above. I strive to continue that mindset in this career. We are an evolving profession that has the potential to sit at all of the big tables of health care. To do that, we must share our own experiences, warts and all, with the next generation so that they can do better and go farther than we have.

The word mentor can have a lot of meanings: coach, advisor, counselor, teacher, instructor and more. The biggest benefit is having someone the mentee can meet with to ask questions, be a sounding board, help sort out options and give advice on practice and business matters. Mentoring is a one-on-one relationship where you have the opportunity to provide guidance to someone that could benefit from your experience. 

What would you say to encourage other donors to make an impact such as you and your family did?

I give back to UWS and the profession that gave me the opportunity to be successful and help people as a thank you.

I want to see UWS grow in stature by helping support the next generation of students and alumni. The donation may be earmarked for research, scholarships or improved facilities.

Most graduates give back in proportion to their own gratitude and success. If you fall into the “I already gave enough with my tuition” category, go back and review the mentor comments above or reach out to me and let’s talk about how to be more successful.

What are you most excited about for the new UWS campus?

Everything! The location, design, learning spaces, laboratories, meeting rooms, study settings and don’t forget modern health care facility.

Danielle Pettet

Were you inspired by your father growing up to pursue an educational path in chiropractic medicine?

To be honest, I was actually more inspired by my mom’s theatre background growing up, so I have an undergraduate degree in theatre arts! It wasn’t until I was pregnant with my daughter that I realized just how life changing chiropractic care can be for a patient. After my daughter was born, I had an opportunity to work for my dad as his office manager and saw first had the impact he had on his patient’s quality of life. I was inspired by his ability to make connections with patients from all backgrounds, and provide them with the help they needed to feel better, and get back to doing the things they loved.

Upon graduation, what are your goals as a chiropractic physician?

After graduation, one of my goals is to make a positive impact on my community by educating patients about the benefits of chiropractic care. My other goal is to continue to be a mentor to chiropractic students, in addition to new docs, through the university’s mentor program. I consider myself extremely lucky to have access to so many mentors in this profession, it would be great to have a chance to return the favor.

With your parents being great examples in philanthropy and charitable giving, how do you envision yourself, your peers and others giving back to the next generations? Should that be an area past and future grads should be reminded of in terms of their alma mater?

My parents certainly set the bar high, and they have instilled in my sisters and I the importance of giving back however you can. Whether past and future grads choose to make a charitable donation or to donate their time to mentor an up-and-coming chiropractic student, the next generation benefits. The thing I love most about this school is that no matter what quarter you’re in, everyone is so supportive of one another; it just makes sense to continue lifting one another up after graduation.