The past couple of months leading into Summer 17’ have been a whirlwind for me. Work has gotten more challenging and new leadership/mentorship opportunities have come to the surface. Honestly, I’ve been having a difficult time accepting and leaning into changes at work and in my personal life so I had no choice but to call on my set of mentors. Yes, I said set. I’ve learned early on in my career that it’s imperative to have more than one mentor to call on for advice. Now that I’m a mentor, I understand on a deeper level how mentorship impacts growth, development and success.
I gained my first mentor when I was interning in New York City at Manhattan Magazine. I was a senior at Sarah Lawrence College and I was nervous for life after undergrad. I remember walking into my mentor’s office asking him if he knew anyone that could mentor me because I was too nervous to ask if he’d be up for the task. He quickly responded with, “I’ll mentor you. You can start by scheduling my calendar.”
Since then I’ve gained several different mentors within my profession and ones that I seek advice for life-changing moments to help solve these questions: What do you do after you get your first apartment? How do you take legal action? How do you invest in stocks and start your 401k plan?
List of my mentors:
- My first mentor-Brandon Hugh Grant
- Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated mentors
- Public Relations & Digital mentors from PRSA
- C-Suite level mentor
- Legal counsel mentors
It takes a village ya’ll.
So how do you find a mentor? Finding someone who can help mold you and help navigate your career path is crucial to success but you want to make sure that the person is aligned with your goals.
Mentorship Takeaways: How to not find a mentor
- Focusing solely on the position and not the person.
- Not tapping your network for mentorship leads.
- Always expecting a relationship.
- Not being patient. If you’re networking correctly, your mentor usually finds you.
Mentorship Takeaways: How to find a mentor.
- Don’t be afraid to ask/a closed mouth don’t get fed: I’ve made the best relationships with people simply by asking in a genuine and transparent way for help.
- Seek out more than one: Curating a board of advisors to help assist you in different aspects of your career and life is key. No one person will have the answer but choosing a number of different mentors with diverse backgrounds and experiences will propel you forward.
- Give and Take. Make sure that your mentor/mentee relationship is mutually beneficial.
Here are a few things my mentee has said about me and her mentorship experience:
What made you seek mentorship? What made me seek from mentorship was the overall need for guidance within professional life. A guiding hand that is there for times of confusion, stress, and just someone who I’m able to converse with regarding Public Relations. Mentorship allowed that conversation to happen and has granted me guidance since.
What qualities do you look for in a mentor? The qualities I look for in a mentor are dedication, eagerness to teach, willingness to help when help is needed, patience, adaptability, and honesty. I feel that a person who embodies all these qualities makes a perfect mentor, as mine does for me.
What do you hope to learn from your mentor? Going into this mentorship with her I was looking to learn how to go about looking for an internship in Public Relations that fit my interests and wants in an internship. At first, I knew I wanted to pursue a career in entertainment PR, but I had little knowledge on how to go about doing so. Dominique paved that road for me.
Have additional mentorship tips? Drop em’ in the comments below!