Each month, Look Who’s Talking features voices from across BWH answering the same question. This month, BWHers share meaningful advice they have received from mentors, parents and others.  If you would like to add your voice to the conversation, please submit a comment at the bottom of the page.

The best piece of advice I ever received was from my father.  My father always told me to balance life in every aspect.  I find that balance in all domains of my life is truly the key to my success and that notion has resonated with me from the day he told me.  While my family is first, I have continued to maintain a healthy and constant relationship as well with my career.  At times I have felt consumed by my career but always come to realize how important it is for my mental health to maintain a balanced life between work, education, fun, friends and family.  During my graduate career I spent an inordinate amount of time working and studying but was always able to find time to have fun and let myself relax.  I think allocating the time to enjoy yourself and those around you is an invaluable use of time because it allows oneself to think clearly and cogently.  Overburdening oneself with continued work and an overwhelming amount of expectations for yourself can be mentally draining and debilitating.  I watched graduate students fully capable of completing their degree who became too consumed with their work and thus dropped out.  Balance is important and I intend to continue to instill this notion in my children as well.”

-Luke R. Pezanko, BA, MA, Clinical Research Technician, CCI Department


“My dad shared his wisdom not through words but with his kind and generous actions with his family, friends, colleagues and anyone who met him. These are the three most meaningful pieces of advice I learned from him: Believe in yourself. Be kind to others. Be grateful for the people in your life.”

-Katherine McManus


“I have been very fortunate to have great mentors at the Brigham and elsewhere. The one who has been my most influential mentor and strongest supporter is Dr. Marshall A. Wolf. He told me two things I always keep in mind. The first was to love what you do, and don’t be shamed or pressured into doing things that may look good on paper but are not something you’re passionate about. Because if you’re not passionate, it’s hard to wake up early and work hard every day; if you do have that passion, you can find the energy go enormous distances and smile along the way. He also told me that no matter how successful and enthusiastic you are, you have to learn how to gracefully but firmly decline opportunities that may not be a good fit. He actually sat me down and asked me a series of questions, and I had to practice declining his offers by saying, ‘While I am flattered, I am afraid that there is no possible way that I can do that.’ His advice has served me very well over the years.”

–Joel T. Katz, MD, director of the Internal Medicine Residency Program, Department of Medicine


“The best advice I’ve ever received is: “listen first, then breathe, then speak.” I got this piece of advice from a mentor when I was first in a leadership position. I can’t say that I’ve always followed this advice, but when I have it has always, always worked!”

-Miriam Greenspan, RN