From mentee to mentor – an interesting change of pace.

I’ve talked about how important it is to find a mentor, in fact, it happens to be one of my favorite topics. Without the handful of people that are invested in my success, I’m not entirely sure that I’d be where I am today.

I can tell you that without Penelope Trunk, my resume would be boring and plain. Actually, without Penelope, I wouldn’t be sitting where I am right now, because I wouldn’t have gone to SXSW, I wouldn’t have met the people that I met, and I wouldn’t have seemingly stumbled into the amazing opportunities I’ve had since SXSW. So thank you, Penelope.

Without Aaron Strout, I might not understand the business world nearly as much, and I might have fallen down a couple times if he hadn’t been right there with an answer when I needed it. I remember when I met Aaron – we were at the Mashable party at SXSW and I dragged him away from his group to do an interview with me for my blog. Shortly thereafter, he became one of my favorites, responding quickly, concisely and always having great advice.

Without Bryan LeMonds, I would have only had Penelope’s version of my resume, and I’d still think that the point of PR is what I was taught in school, not the very simple answer of “making people realize why they matter”. Meeting him shaped my trip at SXSW, and he gave me a new outlook on the industry.

Without Adam Keats, I’d still be in Florida, probably still bartending and content with half-assing the job search (okay we know that isn’t true, but I’d still be in Florida, for sure). Adam is a man of his word, and I am thankful to have the opportunity to be working with him in my time at Weber Shandwick. I remember when I met Adam, I was rambling like an idiot about what I wanted to do when I graduated, why I love social media and PR, blah blah blah, and he said “funny, that’s what we do everyday where I work”. And the rest, as they say, is history.

So, to be approached by not just one, but three students in PR in the past couple weeks is really exciting, and definitely a change of pace. This time around, I’m the one deciding when and how to respond. I’m the one with answers, and if I don’t have the answer, I have a bunch of people I can call on to get it.

I’m taking all of my mentor-mentee experiences and rolling them into one so I can do a bang-up job at mentoring these up-and-comers. This makes me want to call my mentors and ask them a million questions. While I know there are a lot of PR students out there, there are very few that actually seek out advice, let alone students that follow up. Of course I’m happy to help because I was there not even a year ago, hungry for knowledge and guidance. And I still am. It’s interesting, being the one answering the same questions that I had a year ago. That’s how I know these students are going to do big things. They have the same drive that I did, and I turned out okay.

::note to self, thank mentors and hug them::

It’s amazing how fast my world has turned around from when I started out on this journey. But that’s another post on its own. 

Do you have mentors? Are you a mentor? Have you learned qualities from your mentors that you pass down to the people you are mentoring? What is your biggest piece of advice for mentors? For those seeking a mentor?

  • http://www.dshan.me/blog DShan

    I really dig this post.

    I’ve had mentors in the form of soccer coaches who’ve changed my view on life, dedication, and discipline. I’ve had mentors in my field, and to be very honest, they haven’t been up to par. It’s something I’m seeking change in.

    I think, on some level, I’ve been a mentor in the blog environment, if only due to my insatiable desire to help people understand how rewarding community and engagement can be.

    Mentors need short, clear messages for people to have near their mind at all times. One I have is “KISS, Keep It Simple Stupid”. That was a soccer thing, but I think applies in huge ways to community and careers and progress.

    Mentors need to be available. Reliable.

    And if you’re seeking a mentor you need to do your research. Use a trial period. Think ahead, and use more than one.

    Great post though, really.
    .-= DShan´s last blog ..The 30 Under 30 Twitter List =-.

  • http://dshan.me/blog DShan

    I really dig this post.

    I’ve had mentors in the form of soccer coaches who’ve changed my view on life, dedication, and discipline. I’ve had mentors in my field, and to be very honest, they haven’t been up to par. It’s something I’m seeking change in.

    I think, on some level, I’ve been a mentor in the blog environment, if only due to my insatiable desire to help people understand how rewarding community and engagement can be.

    Mentors need short, clear messages for people to have near their mind at all times. One I have is “KISS, Keep It Simple Stupid”. That was a soccer thing, but I think applies in huge ways to community and careers and progress.

    Mentors need to be available. Reliable.

    And if you’re seeking a mentor you need to do your research. Use a trial period. Think ahead, and use more than one.

    Great post though, really.
    .-= DShan´s last blog ..The 30 Under 30 Twitter List =-.

  • http://sydneyowen.com/ Sydney

    Derek – I have to agree on the bit about you being a mentor in the blog world. Starting a community such as 20-Something Bloggers is a huge impact for not only the blogosphere, but for our generation as well. So kudos to you for that, you’ve got a great thing going there.

    I think “insatiable desire” is a great way to describe what I’m feeling, in not only the mentor realm, but in all aspects of life. I have this insatiable desire to learn the industry that I’m in, to embrace the city of Chicago and to continue to help students that may come to me with questions in the future.

    I’m a huge fan of KISS, though you wouldn’t be able to tell by my novel-like blog posts sometimes. :)

    Thanks for stopping by.

  • http://sydneyowen.com Sydney

    Derek – I have to agree on the bit about you being a mentor in the blog world. Starting a community such as 20-Something Bloggers is a huge impact for not only the blogosphere, but for our generation as well. So kudos to you for that, you’ve got a great thing going there.

    I think “insatiable desire” is a great way to describe what I’m feeling, in not only the mentor realm, but in all aspects of life. I have this insatiable desire to learn the industry that I’m in, to embrace the city of Chicago and to continue to help students that may come to me with questions in the future.

    I’m a huge fan of KISS, though you wouldn’t be able to tell by my novel-like blog posts sometimes. :)

    Thanks for stopping by.

  • http://www.sheemasiddiqi.com/ Sheema

    I love this post! I agree, mentors are such a valuable resource. I was lucky enough to have a fantastic mentor who changed my view on looking for a job and introduced me to some fantastic people. I’ve always wanted to help someone the way my mentor helped me, I hope I get that chance one day like you have! I think you’ll make a great mentor.

  • http://www.sheemasiddiqi.com Sheema

    I love this post! I agree, mentors are such a valuable resource. I was lucky enough to have a fantastic mentor who changed my view on looking for a job and introduced me to some fantastic people. I’ve always wanted to help someone the way my mentor helped me, I hope I get that chance one day like you have! I think you’ll make a great mentor.

  • http://blog.stroutmeister.com/ Aaron Strout

    Sydney – You’ve been a pleasure to mentor and I hope you continue to use me as a resource whenever you need. One of the things that’s helped in our relationship is that 1) you’ve been very respectful of my channel preferences i.e. using Twitter and e-mail with the occasional phone call to convey messages that need a personal touch and 2) you’ve been very direct and specific in your requests.

    I love the idea of you turning around and mentoring others btw. I think you’ll do an excellent job at it. If you ever need tips on mentoring, I’m always happy to help.

    Best,
    Aaron
    .-= Aaron Strout´s last blog ..The Best of Quick-n-Dirty =-.

  • http://blog.stroutmeister.com Aaron Strout

    Sydney – You’ve been a pleasure to mentor and I hope you continue to use me as a resource whenever you need. One of the things that’s helped in our relationship is that 1) you’ve been very respectful of my channel preferences i.e. using Twitter and e-mail with the occasional phone call to convey messages that need a personal touch and 2) you’ve been very direct and specific in your requests.

    I love the idea of you turning around and mentoring others btw. I think you’ll do an excellent job at it. If you ever need tips on mentoring, I’m always happy to help.

    Best,
    Aaron
    .-= Aaron Strout´s last blog ..The Best of Quick-n-Dirty =-.

  • http://edcabellon.com/ Ed Cabellon

    Sydney, what a great post! In Higher Education, this is what we encourage our students to do and I plan on sharing this with our top student employees. It is so important to find mentors AND thank them often.

    Best wishes in all your future endeavors!

  • http://edcabellon.com Ed Cabellon

    Sydney, what a great post! In Higher Education, this is what we encourage our students to do and I plan on sharing this with our top student employees. It is so important to find mentors AND thank them often.

    Best wishes in all your future endeavors!

  • http://patrickrelations.wordpress.com/ Patrick

    Great post Sydney! I too have had mentors in sports and things, hopefully will find one in PR soon! But before I ramble about anything I’d like to say thank you! I know you’ve been able to help me with anythign I’ve ever came to you for. Whether it was when I first met you my JOU 2100 class during your panel experience or even just the interview you did for my blog! You’ve been a lot of help. Hopefully everyone else I met while immersing myself into this profession will be as helpful to you. Talk about paying it forward, you’re a great example!
    P.S. this is another awesome post
    .-= Patrick´s last blog ..Vick’s Timely Return, and the Media’s Coverage =-.

  • http://patrickrelations.wordpress.com Patrick

    Great post Sydney! I too have had mentors in sports and things, hopefully will find one in PR soon! But before I ramble about anything I’d like to say thank you! I know you’ve been able to help me with anythign I’ve ever came to you for. Whether it was when I first met you my JOU 2100 class during your panel experience or even just the interview you did for my blog! You’ve been a lot of help. Hopefully everyone else I met while immersing myself into this profession will be as helpful to you. Talk about paying it forward, you’re a great example!
    P.S. this is another awesome post
    .-= Patrick´s last blog ..Vick’s Timely Return, and the Media’s Coverage =-.

  • http://www.alwaysjacked.com/ Alan

    Mentors come in all shapes and sizes. I’ve had a couple of the “traditional” mentors, those people who pushed and nurtured me and instilled some lessons I still carry with me. (One of them, Jill, lived by this clean desk policy. I used to work awash in a sea of papers and Post-It notes.)

    But mentors can come in all shapes and sizes. I’ve been “fortunate” enough to have a pair of truly awful bosses early in my career. I think I learned more about how to be a manager from them, because I was bound and determined not to follow their example.

    Point being, everyone can be a mentor if you’re truly open to learning something.
    .-= Alan´s last blog ..Five Top Book To Movie Transmorgifications =-.

  • http://www.alwaysjacked.com Alan

    Mentors come in all shapes and sizes. I’ve had a couple of the “traditional” mentors, those people who pushed and nurtured me and instilled some lessons I still carry with me. (One of them, Jill, lived by this clean desk policy. I used to work awash in a sea of papers and Post-It notes.)

    But mentors can come in all shapes and sizes. I’ve been “fortunate” enough to have a pair of truly awful bosses early in my career. I think I learned more about how to be a manager from them, because I was bound and determined not to follow their example.

    Point being, everyone can be a mentor if you’re truly open to learning something.
    .-= Alan´s last blog ..Five Top Book To Movie Transmorgifications =-.