26_What It Means To Be a Great Mentor with Bert Thornton and Mort O’Sullivan
What makes a good mentor? Bert Thornton, former President and COO of Waffle House, and Mort O’Sullivan, former Managing Member of the Gulf Region of Warren Averett, have the answers to this question on this week’s episode of The Busy Leader’s Podcast! The two dive into the importance of having a mentor and how meaningful it is to be one. They explain that asking for mentorship can be a simple as asking someone to join you for a cup of coffee. Mentoring is more than just business advice, it is coaching, training, and valuable life lessons. Bert and Mort share how the most powerful mentoring tool is merely asking an instructive question. With the extensive knowledge and experience that these two have, you will be sure to have some great takeaways from this episode!
About: Mort O’Sullivan
Mort O’Sullivan, of Pensacola, retired as the Managing Member of the Gulf Coast Region of Warren Averett, LLC CPAs & Advisors in December, 2017. He worked in the management consulting practice, served as a member of the Firm’s Executive Committee and led the Firm’s Gulf Coast BP Claims Disaster Recovery Team. He currently serves in a mentor role for The Spring, a division of the Studer Community Institute.
O’Sullivan attended Washington & Lee University and ultimately earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in Accounting from the University of West Florida in 1973. He became licensed as a Certified Public Accountant in the state of Florida in 1975. He began his accounting career with the international accounting firm Deloitte Touche in Atlanta.
O’Sullivan’s professional civic affiliations include: Board Member, Institute for Human and Machine Cognition; Board Member, Ascension Florida and Gulf Coast; Board Member, Studer Community Institute; Advisory Board Member, Pensacola Blue Wahoos; Past Board Chair, University of West Florida Board of Trustees; Past Chairman, Greater Pensacola Chamber of Commerce; Past Board Member, Florida Chamber of Commerce; Past Board Member, Gulf Power Company; Past Board Member, Community Foundation of Northwest Florida; recipient of Pensacola Chamber of Commerce, Professional Business Leader of the Year Award; and recipient of Pensacola Chamber of Commerce, Pioneer Award.
O’Sullivan has been married to his wife Nancy for 49 years. They have two sons, two daughters-in-law and six grandchildren.
About: Albert S. (Bert) Thornton
Albert S. (Bert) Thornton was born in New Orleans, LA in 1945 and grew up in Tampa, Florida. He played football at T. R. Robinson High School, where he was President of the Student Body and attended the Georgia Institute of Technology on a full football scholarship. Bert was a member of the Alpha Tau Omega fraternity at Georgia Tech and graduated in 1968.
Bert served two years as an artillery officer in the United States Army and served one tour with the 5thBattalion, 2nd Artillery in South Vietnam.
Upon separation from the service, he worked as a systems analyst and salesman in NCR’s IT Division, and in 1971, Bert joined Waffle House as a manager trainee. Four years later, he became a Vice President. In 1994, he was elected to the Board of Directors. For over 40 years, Bert worked with both Company and Franchise Operations in Waffle House and in 2004 was named President and Chief Operations Officer of Waffle House, Inc. Today, he is the retired Vice Chairman Emeritus of Waffle House.
Bert is also very active at Georgia Tech, serving from 1996-2000 as a member of the Alumni Association Board of Trustees. In 1999 he chaired Tech’s highly successful $7.8 million dollar annual giving “Roll Call” initiative, and was named President of the Alumni Association in 2001 and 2002. He has been a member of the Georgia Tech Foundation Board of Trustees since 2001 where he has served on the Finance, Development and Stewardship Committees. In 2016 Bert received the Joseph Mayo Pettit Alumni Distinguished Service Award, the highest award conferred by the Georgia Tech Alumni Association.
Bert is a member of the board of directors of The Studer Community Institute in Pensacola, Florida and is an Entrepreneur in Residence at the University of West Florida, College of Business- Center for Entrepreneurship.
Bert also has an Advisory Board role with The Museum School of Avondale Estates, a charter public elementary-middle school in DeKalb County, Georgia. He is a former trustee of the school and was honorary chair for The Museum School’s successful 5 million dollar expansion capital campaign.
He is the recent author of the book Find an Old Gorilla, a handbook for the development of emerging leaders.
Bert lives in Perdido Key, Florida with his wife, Kathy, who devotes her time to several “not for profit” organizations. Kathy and Bert have three daughters: Aspen, Chaice, and Mayson. All three girls are very successful graduates of Georgia Tech and members of the Alpha Delta Pi sorority.