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It may not come as a surprise that many successful people have achieved their success through the knowledge and expertise of their own mentors. Many celebrities, politicians, musicians and historical figures not only have been mentored themselves but have gone on to mentor others.


Read on to find out more about famous mentors and mentees.

1. Oprah Winfrey

Many people may recognize Oprah as a mentor herself, to the likes of Reese Witherspoon, Lindsay Lohan, and Rachel Ray. Oprah has mentored people from all different industries and backgrounds, including media, lifestyle, healthcare, spirituality and so much more.


Oprah herself notes that one of the biggest influences in her life was her own mentor, the late poet, singer, and civil rights activist Dr. Maya Angelou. Oprah describes Angelou as her ‘mentor, mother/sister, and friend.’



2. Elton John

Singer, songwriter, pianist, and composer Sir Elton John is known for his famous hits such as ‘Tiny Dancer’ and ‘Your Song’, but he has also been instrumental in guiding the careers of many other famous artists, such as Ed Sheeran and Lady Gaga.


Elton himself was mentored by Leon Russell, who he constantly notes as an inspiration. The advice that he provides to his mentees shows that sometimes tough love is the way to go forward as the most notable told Ed Sheeran that ‘his popularity won’t last forever’ – something that Sheeran notes as something that has helped him maintain a level head in the music industry.

3. Richard Branson

Sir Richard Branson is perhaps one of the most prominent and successful business magnate, investor, author and philanthropists of our time. As an entrepreneur from a young age, Branson is the 8th wealthiest British billionaire, owning over 400 companies under the Virgin Group.


Branson owes the success of the Virgin Group to his mentor. When struggling to get his company, Virgin Airlines off the ground, Branson asked the advice of airline entrepreneur Sir Freddie Laker. Branson himself admits, “I wouldn’t have got anywhere in the airline industry without the mentorship of Sir Freddie Laker”.


4. Michelle Obama

Michelle Obama is most notably known for being the first African-American first lady of the United States of America, and wife to President Barack Obama. What many people don’t know is that she is a lawyer, author, and founder of a teenage mentoring program in the US. Michelle first met her husband Barack through becoming his lawyering mentor at a Chicago law firm in 1989.


Following this, Michelle Obama urges others to embrace the role of mentor, kickstarting her program which pairs disadvantaged African-American teens with some of the most influential and powerful women in the country. She states the goal of this as “to open a secret door for others that hadn’t been opened for me”.


5. Martin Luther King/Nelson Mandela + Mahatma Gandhi


Perhaps one of the most prominent mentoring partnerships of all time was that of Mahatma Gandhi and both Nelson Mandela and Dr. Martin Luther King. Under Gandhi’s mentorship, both Nelson Mandela and Martin Luther King changed the shape of history and inspired millions of other people into justice and change.


Gandhi himself was mentored by Gopal Krishna Gokhale in his formative years. Prior to this, Gandhi’s lifestyle of non-violence and celibacy was inspired by his early mentor, Shrimad Rajchandraji.


6. Harry Potter + Dumbledore


Perhaps one of the world’s favourite (fictional) pairings from the imagination of J.K. Rowling, Professor Dumbledore – The greatest wizard, and Harry Potter – the boy who lived. Through both books and film, Dumbledore mentored Harry through the defeat of Lord Voldemort, guiding him through trial and tribulation as well as facing them himself.


From placing him with the Dursley’s to advising him during his death vision, Dumbledore has been looking out for Harry from the very beginning through to the end. It’s safe to say that without the help and guidance of Dumbledore, Harry Potter may have never defeated Lord Voldemort.

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