Thank Your Mentor Spotlight: Sally Wiggin

Someone who has been a mentor to me...

I have had many mentors -- parents, high school teachers, friends.  But two became an important part of my life when I accepted a reporter position at WTAE-TV in Pittsburgh.  One had nothing to do with television news. Dr. Edward Anthony was, at the time, the director of the Asian Studies program at Pitt University's Center for International Studies.

The second was my agent, Carole Cooper, co-president of the news talent agency, N.S. Bienstock, now part of United Talent Agency. Both of them had life-changing impacts on my life.

These people have had such a big impact on my life because...

My graduate degree had been in Asian studies, but a desire to be a sports reporter caused me to leave the field. In 1981, I was planning a trip to China, so I visited Pitt to get some pointers.  I met Ed, a nationally respected linguist who had been in China as one of the first foreign experts from the United States. Our friendship lasted until he died at the age of 92 in 2015.

He introduced me to Asian studies events at Pitt and to a community that became like family. It kept me in touch with the academic life I had come to miss. He and his wife Ann were one of the reasons I came to love Pittsburgh.

Carole Cooper was one of the reasons I stayed here. She was so much more than an agent. More like a big sister. She, more than anyone, made my career in Pittsburgh what it was. She was my champion and protector.  When a big bump changed my career path, she made sure, no matter what my job description was, that I would continue to host our Steeler specials. I did, until my retirement.  It was one of my great joys.

Why is mentoring important for everyone?

In such a complicated, competitive world, mentoring is crucial in navigating a rapidly changing educational and professional landscape.  I think it is as important to be a mentor as it is to have one.  How else can we build a community of kindness and understanding?

A message for my mentor...

Ed and Carole, thank you for making me the person I am today, and for making me feel safe in a strange new world.  You inspired me to be a better mentor.

As community leaders and as servant leaders, we are heartbroken by the recent tragedies and know that a genuine and ongoing commitment to real change is necessary to confront and combat racism.  We stand in solidarity with our peers, our neighbors, our colleagues and our friends with an even stronger resolve to be present, to listen, to learn and to act.  If there’s one thing we’ve learned in our 25 years of serving the community, it’s this: 

We are stronger together

We are committed to actively fighting racism and to using our voices for better.  We will continue to bring strength and hope; to foster meaningful conversations around change; to deliver services that are inclusive and will support all.  We encourage you to join us and find ways to improve race relations in our community and beyond.  Let’s all work toward better – better connection, better allyship, better love for one another.  Let’s work together to make this world a better place for our kids.  Now is the time and they’re depending on us.