Leaders and doers driving social good

Mentor Profile

Margot Fass, M.D.

Profession/Passion: Psychiatrist/Artist/Author/Frogs
Business Name: Margot Fass
Location: Rochester, NY
I don’t have enough words to thank you for educating me on the importance of frogs in our world. At the beginning of your journey I was in ‘tourist’ mode; now I eagerly await each issue for an opportunity to learn more about the ecosystem and environment.
—Lynne Alcock

Mentor Introduction

Martin Fass

Margot Fass, M.D. by Martin Fass

How did you first encounter this mentor, and what made them stand out?

First saw her on April 22, 1963.

What continues to make this mentor stand out? About what are they most enthusiastic?

Margot and Life enhance each other with every breath.

How has/does this mentor made/make a difference in your life and/or the community, locally and/or globally?

She is a prime example of a caring person.

Which core values does this mentor apply personally and/or professionally?

Honesty.

Does this mentor further your creative/innovative thinking? How?

Yes, by her probing inquiries.

How does this mentor influence others to be the best version of themselves?

Through personal encouragement and inspiration, as well as honest enthusiasm.

How does this mentor exhibit humility in elevating others?

Recognizing humans are imperfect.

In which areas would you recommend this mentor as a mentor?

Arts/Entertainment, Education, Engineering, Entrepreneurship, Environmental Stewardship, Government/Policy, Journalism, Law, Mathematics, Medicine/Dentistry, Nonprofit Leadership, Philanthropy, Science, Social Justice, Technology

Margot Fass, a board certified psychiatrist in private practice, loves frogs in every form. In her free time from work and family, she spends much of it learning, painting, writing, and teaching about frogs; and more recently, visiting them. Her biggest frog project to date has been a children’s book called Froggy Family’s First Frolic, published in 2013. This book has served as an introduction for her to her local community, at art clubs, schools, and in the United States in general.

Margot  has connected with the environmental organization SAVE THE FROGS! After taking an eco-tour with this group, she has been offering a weekly blog, Ecuador Adventures and Frogs. on her Frog Artist website.  

Margot never stops learning. For example, in preparation for her next SAVE THE FROGS! eco-tour to Costa Rica, although she already can speak Spanish quite well, she is striving for excellence in translation.  

Martin Fass, husband, introduces Margot Fass:

Margot first appeared to me on April 22, 1963.
She and Life enhance each other with every breath.
She is a prime example of a caring, honest person.
She furthers creative thinking by her probing inquiries.
She influences others to be the best version of themselves through personal encouragement and inspiration, as well as honest enthusiasm.
She recognizes that humans, including herself, are imperfect.
She can mentor in the following subjects: Visual Arts, Writing, Speaking, Teaching, and Psychiatry.Margot delights me with her surprises. That shirt in the photo above reads: “This is my human costume. I’m really a frog.”
She got the shirt, frog eyes, paws, neck bow, and green tights for the Brownie occasion to go along with her frog scarf, which accompanies her everywhere.

Margot writes about Martin:

Martin Fass is currently full-time retired, and if not mentoring me or helping out with house and home, is reading and writing. He has extensive knowledge in so many areas that I am proud to have him as my date on the rare occasions when we are out with others; his wisdom makes him a great conversationalist. While raising our family, Martin worked at Xerox, both as technology film director and as a recruiter of PhDs.

Before moving to Rochester, NY, he worked as an educational film director at the University of Illinois, where he met Margot. Between his graduation from the University of Southern California in Cinema and that fateful move to Champaign Urbana, he had his own film company. Sometimes he pretends he, too, is an explorer, which he is indeed, in the worlds of books, movies, and ideas.

Martin Fass, exploring the kitchen

Minda T., a dear friend, introduces Margot Fass

Everyone who has experienced the pleasure, and the joy, of participating with Margot Fass in any of the myriad communities of which she is an integral part—medical, arts, spiritual, environmental, civic—can attest to the depth and inspiration she brings to everything she does. My own experiences of this pleasure and joy take a different form: that of a longtime friendship that began with long walks through the woods and talks between two college freshmen entrusting each other with the dreams they hoped one day to fulfill, and carried these women across all the years following, as they supported—mentored, actually—each other across the dangerous, exhilarating cliffs and crags that face all of us, but perhaps particularly women, as we try to negotiate between the lives we dreamed of and the lives our time in history and place in society will allow us.

Margot has outstanding abilities for leadership and mentorship in many areas, but on the basis of my own experiences with her, over many years, I would say that the greatest gift she could bestow on others is as a life mentor. In her own life, she has demonstrated an exceptional ability to keep her own deepest dreams alive, nurturing them, refining and sometimes redefining them, until the right moment—something only a very wise person perceives—arrives for their realization. All of us need mentors throughout life. But it may be that because women, in particular, have often had to put their dreams aside to further those of others, the example of someone who has shared that experience and seen her own dreams finally come to fruition can be especially inspiring.

It has certainly inspired me. Those long-ago walks and talks between the young women we once were have resonated in my mind so strongly over the years since then, enriched by continuing dialogues into the present, and have inspired me to take back and realize a dream of my own. Imagining how many others will benefit from Margot’s unique ability to listen, attend, remember, and remind them of what they most want to achieve, I am thrilled to think of the futures about to reveal themselves.

Mentor's Insight

Question:

How do we spotlight the role of frogs in educating the world about a big problem like pollution, which causes global change?

Solution:  
First: Humans tend to love animals. I love frogs. They are my friends. If I can help others make friends with the idea of frogs and learn about them, that will be my little ounce of strength added to solving a big problem.  

Second: Knowing the biggest threat(s) to the world’s current frog population (and life in general) will inform action:

  • Diseases spread by humans and other animals need to be identified and contained.  
  • Global warming causes a loss of wetlands and necessary rainfall, and must be slowed.
  • Habitat destruction from building, mega-agriculture, asphalt, and concrete effects entire ecosystems.  Sustainable, environmentally compatible housing will help all of us.
  • Invasive species, such as American Bullfrogs, eat native frogs on their way across the USA. As much as possible, we need to maintain the natural fauna and flora of our world.
  • Overharvesting for pet and food trades.
  • Pollution and pesticides, causing death, altered sexuality (eg non-fertile eggs in a male frog) and birth defects (extra and/or missing limbs).

Third: As imperfect people, ordinary individuals can help frogs and the whole human race by:

  • Avoiding pesticides
  • Building frog ponds, preserve wetlands and public lands
  • Conserving water: turning off the tap; insisting on clean water in the community
  • Driving slowly on wet nights
  • Eating locally grown organic foods emphasizing vegetables and fruit, instead of any animals, especially frogs.
  • Giving frogs and all life the right to live freely in their own environment rather than as confined pets (except our dog).
  • Reducing, reusing, recycling
  • Studying amphibians through environmental science, biology, biological engineering, and other fields.
  • Using rechargeable batteries and less plastic
  • Voting for the environment

SAVE THE FROGS!  is a group to join where you can donate, educate yourself, instruct others, organize events, join eco-tours, enter art and photo contests, and much more.  

In practice:
When I was in medical school, people (patients, staff, students, faculty, doctors, nurses) smoked everywhere. I was part of a small committee to try to raise awareness, and get at least some non-smoking areas in the hospital. After turning ourselves into pretzels, we finally were able to get one non-smoking table in the cafeteria near the doors to the hallway. It was a joke! Did our efforts have anything to do with the world today? Now, there is no smoking on any hospital campus in New York state, or in many other public areas in the United States and the world. The ocean is formed of an infinite number of drops, and so, I believe, is change. Every effort towards whatever we believe in counts, whether we see the results immediately or not.

Positive feedback helps, and Stephanie has included some comments regarding the blogs below in her Mentor Engine Interview.

Also, it was fun to hear once at the Memorial Art Gallery that a teacher in some school had used the SAVE THE FROGS! art contest poster she had gotten at my studio to design a whole educational unit for her students.