We all have someone we look at and say, “That’s where I want to be in 5 (10, 15) years”. You have an idea of what your end game is in your budding career, but don’t really know how to get there, who to ask or where to start. My advice to you: find someone who is already been there and been successful! A mentor. Cultivating a mentor relationship, whether you are a veteran or a newbie, can help you put a focus on where you want to take your career.
I’ve been lucky enough to have a few mentors throughout my school and work career. The first was Mrs. Janice Shearer while I attended Mohawk. Not only did she run a very engaging Integrated Marketing Communications class, she also shared valuable industry experience with me and really helped me realize where I wanted to take my career. She and I still talk, when we can, and if I’m looking for advice I take no time at all messaging her to ask for some. The other two people I’ve been fortunate to call mentors are Gillan Muise, Group Account Director, and Colin Whitney, Creative Services Manager, at Direct Focus. Each with their own strengths: Gillian has exceptional business acumen and is miles ahead of anyone when it comes to strategy. Colin is a brand guy through and through and a brilliant creative director. Both mentors have traits and skills that I aspire to have – so it makes a good fit!
So, why bother getting a mentor? Here are some of the benefits of connecting with one:
- You can learn from their experience – Mentors are good at what they do and they got to where they are for a reason. Tap into that vast knowledge and soak it all in!
- They can help you define your career aspirations – If you don’t know exactly where you want to go or really how to get there, a mentor can help you define your goals and help put a plan in place to ensure you achieve those goals.
- You feel more accountable – A mentor brings accountability, which breeds responsibility. By having someone you look up to, you slowly start to hold yourself accountable for completing your action items.
- Mentors will keep conversations confidential – There is a level of trust that is upheld. They are there to help you accomplish your goals, but no one said it would be easy. Mentors are there to listen to the obstacles you are facing; and subsequently help you solve those problems.
How can you find a mentor? Chances are you have one right at your work. So, do some research and create a list of people you feel would be a good match with your goals and personality and get talking. Most people who are good mentors are willing (and eager) to share what they know! Good luck!
– Jen Elson
Business – Marketing (Co-op) ‘10
Follow Jen @JenJeae//