Mentor Monday: 5 Reasons to Have a Mentor

Photo cred: Timothy K Hamilton
Photo cred: Timothy K Hamilton

If you didn’t already know, mentors are the single most valuable resource a young professional could hope to enjoy…aside from actual experience.

Starting off isn’t easy.  Mentors make it easier.  If you are able to create meaningful relationships with older, more experienced professionals, you’ll certainly have a leg up on your competition.

A mentor provides you with…

  1. Their experiences. Now nothing can replace the value of actually experiencing something yourself, but it’s also extremely valuable to have the advice of someone who’s been there before.  Your mentor has seen what works and what doesn’t.  Let them help you make some right decisions.
  2. Their network. If you have a mentor, it’s because they believe in you and they want to pass on their experience and knowledge to a worthy younger professional.  This means that they’ll probably trust you enough that they’d be willing to recommend you to their connections.  Their network is probably much greater than yours, and can be invaluable to a young professional.  Remember though, sometimes you have to ask.
  3. An “in” at networking events. Working off the last point, if you’re in the same area as your mentor, as I currently am with two great ladies Beth Harte and Gloria Bell, your mentor is a HUGE resource when it comes to networking events.  Those events can be awkward for young professionals who don’t know that many people.  Beth and Gloria have both been amazing to me, introducing me to everyone they know at networking events in Philly.
  4. Their knowledge. I don’t know it all.  Shocking right? Especially while working for a start-up, I’ve been asked to do things that have just drawn a smile and a nod from me while thinking “how the crap am I going to do this?”  Well amazing mentors like Arik Hanson, Danny Brown, and many others have always been there to teach me the things I need to learn.
  5. Their support. This may not sound like a great resource, but for me, it’s been amazing.  Starting off in your career is tough.  You always feel like you’re catching up to learn as much as others, you often don’t have the answer, and you’re afraid to do or say anything wrong because any misstep could destroy your career (not true, but the thought occurs).  Having an older, experienced and respected mentor there to support you and reassure you of the things you’re doing well helps you get through some of the tougher times.

How have your mentors helped you?

You can view all Mentor Monday posts here. It is a series where I feature people that have helped me when I needed it, whether or not I asked for it, and whether or not they even realize it.  I am extremely thankful for these people, and would not be where I am today, or where I will be tomorrow, without them.

BUT since I’m starting to run out of mentors, I will also be mixing in posts about mentorship in general…

Feel free to join in and thank your mentors for everything they’ve done every #mentormonday.

Mentor Monday: Chris Brogan

Mentor Monday is a series where I feature people that have helped me when I needed it, whether or not I asked for it, and whether or not they even realize it.  I am extremely thankful for these people, and would not be where I am today, or where I will be tomorrow, without them.

Feel free to join in and thank your mentors for everything they’ve done every #mentormonday.

The Brogan.
The Brogan.

Chris Brogan

His Blog.

His Twitter.

Chris definitely falls under that “whether or not they even realize it” mentor category.  He had no idea who I was, but had such an enormous impact on me.

I began reading his blog a little over a year ago when I was doing an internship at Ruder Finn Interactive and first started getting my hands dirty in social media.  As his blog was highly recommended by others in the space, I subscribed, and followed him on twitter.

I quickly found myself overwhelmed with excitement and passion as I read his blog, and found that he was writing about things that I understood almost too naturally, and could completely relate to.  His ideas and concepts hit home with everything that I wanted to build in my career.  I began to look up to him as a role-model, and a mentor.

Completely unrelated, I also had the absolute pleasure of connecting with Kathryn Jennex, Chris’ assistant, who is an awesome lady that has helped me a great deal, especially when I was first getting started blogging.  So I know Chris surrounds himself with great people.

Chris inspired me to start blogging, to get into “social media” and to strive to be a better professional.  Though we’ve only actually begun communicating recently, he’s been helping me for a long time, and I hope to one day be return the favor.

Thanks Chris.

Mentor Monday: Beth Harte

Mentor Monday is a series where I feature people that have helped me when I needed it, whether or not I asked for it, and whether or not they even realize it.  I am extremely thankful for these people, and would not be where I am today, or where I will be tomorrow, without them.  If you know what’s good for you, you’ll connect with these individuals as well.

Feel free to join in and thank your mentors for everything they’ve done every #mentormonday.

This is Beth.
This is Beth.

Beth Harte

Her Blog.

Her Twitter.

Beth is awesome.  She’s been teaching me long before she even knew who I was.  I’ve been reading her blog for a long time, and can’t remember a single time that I’ve read one of her posts and didn’t come out learning something, or looking at something differently.

Being a great role model, Beth is always confident in her words, in person and online.  She knows what she’s talking about, and it shows.  She’s never afraid to challenge and question her community.  It’s something we can use more of, and as you may have noticed, many of my recent posts have had a similar goal in mind, much inspired by Beth.

As a mentor, Beth has been amazing.  After connecting for a short time before I moved to Philly for the summer, she was always responsive and willing to connect.  Now that I’m in Philly, I’ve really had a chance to get to know Beth a bit more and it’s been an honor.  She’s taken the time out of her busy schedule as the Community Manager for Marketing Profs, to sit down and give me advice online, she’s helped me set up Sweetups, connected me to the rest of the Philly social media community, invited me to Social Media Club events, and has just been very supportive in general.

I know I’ll always have a good time hanging out with Beth, whether in a professional setting or in a “social” setting (if that’s different anymore).

Thanks Beth.  Tweet that shit.

Mentor Monday: Dave Fleet

Mentor Monday is a series where I feature people that have helped me when I needed it, whether or not I asked for it, and whether or not they even realize it.  I am extremely thankful for these people, and would not be where I am today, or where I will be tomorrow, without them.  If you know what’s good for you, you’ll connect with these individuals as well.  Feel free to join in and thank your mentors for everything they’ve done every #mentormonday.

The Brit-nadian
The Brit-nadian

Dave Fleet

His blog.

His Twitter.

I’ve looked up to Dave for a very long time now.  Like many of my other mentors, Dave was one of the first people in the PR/social media space that i started following right when I first joined twitter.  He was, and continues to be, a well respected professional for his knowledge and expertise in everything that he does.  Being one of the first people I connected with on twitter, he had a very big hand in driving my passion in social media.

Dave won’t bullshit you.  He has a strong grasp of social media and PR concepts as he draws from a great deal of experience.  I’m honestly not sure I’ve ever disagreed with something that Dave has said, and that’s not something I can say for a lot of people.  He chooses his topics wisely and won’t bore you with filler posts on his blog.  He makes sure that his content is valuable.

So someone who has a good deal of power in a community, with such great expertise and who is known for his savvy is probably too big and busy to pay attention to new, young professionals right?  Wrong.  Dead wrong.  Dave is one of the most humble and kind people you’ll interact with online.  He has been very supportive of me and continues to teach me new things every day both directly or indirectly.

Thanks Dave.

Mentor Monday: Lauren Fernandez

Mentor Monday is a series where I feature people that have helped me when I needed it, whether or not I asked for it, and whether or not they even realize it.  I am extremely thankful for these people, and would not be where I am today, or where I will be tomorrow, without them.  If you know what’s good for you, you’ll connect with these individuals as well.  Feel free to join in and thank your mentors for everything they’ve done every #mentormonday.

"The Flirty Nerd" -RockstarJen
LAF

Lauren Fernandez

Her blog.

Her Twitter.

Her Reputation.

There are so many things that Lauren has done for me both directly and indirectly that has made her such an amazing mentor.

She is as humble as she is friendly as she is smart, and she’s not afraid to share any of her talents with anyone deserving of them.  Lauren was one of the first people I connected with on Twitter and right from the get go, she was supportive, kind, and really helpful.  She makes me a more confident professional.

From the day I connected with Lauren I feel like I could ask her for anything, short of rooting for the Vikings, and she would help to the absolute best of her ability.  She’s given me advice, walked me through tough situations that I’ve faces, supported me (way too kind), helped me with my blog during its really early stages, and continues to inspire me every day.

Indirectly, I’ve observed Lauren and her interactions for some time on twitter.  She’s able to approach the professional world with a sense of fun and informality that I try to practice in my own endeavors.  She’s able to create a really comfortable atmosphere, without ever being inapproprite from a professional standpoint.  (Good post by Lauren on this topic recently).

By example, she has shown me that it is possible to be yourself, while still being a hardworking and successful professional.

Anyone, especially students looking to get into PR, needs to connect with Lauren.  If not for career value, then just for the fun of it, as the “flirty nerd” (see RockstarJen’s review) never fails to entertain.

Mentor Monday: Yan Shikhvarger

I didn't get him that coffee (=
I didn't get him that coffee (=

Mentor Monday is a series where I feature people that have helped me when I needed it, whether or not I asked for it, and whether or not they even realize it.  I am extremely thankful for these people, and would not be where I am today, or where I will be tomorrow, without them.  If you know what’s good for you, you’ll connect with these individuals as well.

Yan Shikhvarger

Where He Blogs.

His Twitter.

Many of you probably haven’t met Yan.  He was my manager when I interned at Ruder Finn Interactive.

There were a few reasons why Yan was a great mentor.  To name a few, he was always willing to help, share his talents and created a really comfortable atmosphere.  The reason I appreciate most though was his willingness to grant me with opportunities and responsibility.  This is something that every good mentor must be able to do, but many managers fail to accomplish.

As an intern, I was able to work directly on projects for clients, doing everything from creating detailed landscape and research decks to reviewing and analyzing analytics.  Never once did I feel like the coffee fetching, copy machine slave that you hear about so often with internships. The experiences i had at Ruder Finn were priceless and most of them wouldn’t be possible without Yan.

Yan was always supportive, but wasn’t afraid to give me a wtf? if I needed to step up my game.  Connect with him and you’ll see how savvy he really is.  He always has unique ideas and has a great ability to see the bigger picture, something that he showed me is extremely valuable in all business campaigns.

I consider myself extremely fortunate to have worked under Yan, and would not be anywhere close to where I am today if it weren’t for him. Quite literally actually. I’ll never forget the day he asked me to check out this “twitter” thing and let him know what it is.  I came back in his office and said “uhh I don’t really get it…you post short messages about what you’re doing, or something”…and that was the day I signed up for Twitter.

Mentor Monday: Danny Brown

Mentor Monday is a series where I feature people that have helped me when I needed it, whether or not I asked for it, and whether or not they even realize it.  I am extremely thankful for these people, and would not be where I am today, or where I will be tomorrow, without them.  If you know what’s good for you, you’ll connect with these individuals as well.

Danny Brown

Badass hat.
Badass hat.

His Blog.
His Twitter.

If you’ve already connected with Danny Brown, you probably don’t even need to read this as you’ve probably experienced the same things that I have.  That’s because that’s who Danny is.  He doesn’t take any individual community member for granted.  He treats everyone like a friend and it’s an amazing thing.

Danny, much like Arik who I discussed on my first Mentor Monday, is one of those people that I looked up to a great deal when first getting involved in the community.  Everyone knew him and he knew everyone.  It seemed though, that no person was too good for Danny’s attention and that held true when I first began connecting with him.  He took no hesitation to connect with me and give me a chance to engage.

I’ve learned so much from Danny just from observing him.  The way he engages with others, the way he writes blog posts, the way he approaches tough decisions etc… Then, on top of that, Danny is always the first guy to take time out of his day to give me advice when I’m in need of it.  The man is incredibly busy and will give me (a new, hardly “popular” community member) time out of his day to help.  Truly amazing.

It’s people like Danny that inspire me to become a better person, and a better professional.  I observe and learn from what he does every day, and apply it to my own practices.

Thanks for everything Danny, I’m proud to call you my mentor.  Cheers mate!