Cincinnati Bengals offensive coordinator Hue Jackson visited ESPN’s Bristol, Conn., campus earlier this month to speak to employees about mentoring and the role it can play in their lives and careers.
Jackson, the former head coach of the Oakland Raiders, was an invited guest of ESPN’s Human Resources department, which oversees the company’s internal mentoring initiative, Open Access. The program provides access to mentoring for employees at all levels of the company.
Jackson, whose resume also includes stints as quarterbacks coach for three other NFL teams, talked about the role mentoring has played in his life. He stressed what the elements of successful mentor-mentee relationships are. Jackson also recognized important personal mentors, including Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis, Baltimore Ravens head coach John Harbaugh, and the late Al Davis, the former owner of the Raiders.
After speaking with ESPN employees, Jackson spoke with Front Row about why he’s sharing his perspective on mentoring.
What has been your experience of being mentored?
Being a mentee has played a huge role in my life. It has helped me to have the opportunities I’ve had in my life. I’ve become an offensive coordinator because of it. I’ve become a head coach because if it. I’ve gotten back up off the ground because of it.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever received from a mentor?
Be you. Don’t try to be someone you’re not.
What was your relationship with Davis like?
Al Davis was one of the greatest mentors I ever had. He believed in me and I believed in him. There was a shared respect and a common goal, which was to bring Raider Nation back to where it needed to be. I did the best I could and that was because of him. He set the tempo. He set the environment. He taught me the “Raider Way” very quickly. There was a good marriage there.