The Magic of Mentoring

January 11, 2022
Marni Gordon

Welcome to Career Chat with Marni!

Career Chat with Marni is a weekly newsletter with the best advice on how to take your career to the next level, master the art of networking, and navigate current career trends.

During COVID, there were many layoffs as well as a huge shift in how and what marketers want from their career.  This led to the “Great Resignation” as many people are taking a step back to figure out how to find their ideal career that aligns with their values, strengths, and passions.  They feel stuck in their current job and are just going through the motions or are in transition due to layoffs and need to figure out their next step.

Regardless of where you are in your career journey, there are skills that any marketer needs to master in order to keep up with this ever-changing world. Career Chat with Marni will provide actionable advice and tips for you.

Navigating Your Own Path

When I was new to the marketing industry, it was very difficult to navigate potential career paths on my own.  I relied on marketing career guidebooks and what I learned from the companies I worked at, but did not have access to a mentor who could provide non-judgmental advice with an open-mind.  Having a mentor would have helped me accelerate my career and make fewer mistakes along the way.  

As John Dwoskin, Business Coach and Executive Advisor, writes in Forbes

As we continue to deal with COVID, it is even harder to figure out how to deal with issues including work-life balance, time management, and setting boundaries while advancing your career.

Mentoring is a Win-Win

According to Forbes, 76% of people view mentors as important to their overall success. Mentoring has been the most rewarding part of my career and working with all of my mentees has been a “win-win” experience.  It’s exciting to be able to pay it forward and teach my mentees about different marketing career paths and connect them to some of my contacts for informational interviews and sometimes jobs! In return, I’m able to learn from them about important issues from their point of view, especially around time management and setting boundaries.  I was also able to practice my coaching skills as I earned my certificate in executive coaching from NYU.

Finding a mentor program is easy and here are three ways to get started:

  • Contact career development centers at universities you’re interested in.   This could be your alma-mater or anywhere in the country (or world)!  It is very easy to mentor virtually as many of us are working remotely due to COVID.
    My favorite is the Baruch Executives on Campus Program and have mentored amazing undergraduate and graduate students there for the last few years.
  • Reach out to your network. In The Power of Mentorship, Dwoskin’s advice is to “look to those you admire, who you trust and just pick up the phone and ask. Say, ‘I am looking for a mentor. Can I call you once a week or twice a month for five or 10 minutes to get advice? And what can I do for you in return?’”
  • Approach your industry trade association. Connect with your member representative to see if they have a mentoring program you can participate in. 

Mentoring is a give and take relationship where you can give and receive advice, encouragement, and introductions.  It's a rewarding experience that helps you find your dream career and manage career transitions.

The Power of Mentorship (Forbes)

Mentees should be in the driver’s seat

Mentors should resist the urge to take control of their mentee’s career.  It is important for mentors to take a step back and listen in order to help guide their mentees depending on what direction they would like to grow their own career.  

5 Ways to Become a Better Mentor (Business News Daily)

Invest in Meaningful Connections

As companies are working in a remote or hybrid environment, it is more important than ever to build one -on-one professional relationships.  Now is a perfect time to actively invest in developing more meaningful and deeper connections with colleagues. It's a chance to establish supportive, authentic relationships and create a sense of community.  

What Great Mentoring Looks Like in a Hybrid Workplace (Harvard Business Review)

Mentor Mindset

Here’s a great infographic on ways to become a mentor including the benefits of becoming a mentor and ways to make a difference.  There are four types of mentors.  I’m a cheerleader and an advocate.  What type of mentor are you?

How To Be a Career Changing Mentor (Marketing Profs)

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Career Chat with....Stu Burkhoff

Each week, I’m going to chat with someone in our marketing community to learn from their career journey.  This week I spoke with Stu Burkhoff, Media and Marketing Executive.  Stu and I are both Binghamton University alumni and have been friends for over 20 years after we met working together in media planning at J. Walter Thompson.

Q: How did you start your career in marketing?

A: I often talk about the immense power of networking, and maintain it’s the most critical tool we have in advancing our careers. For me, this stems back to my entry into the industry. I was an English major, and wanted to be a Creative copywriter. I had a relative at a major ad agency – but in the Media Department – something I didn’t even know existed. Through him, I got an internship in that group – and that was the start of my journey. And for every job I’ve gotten since then – it hasn’t been by blindly sending in my resume somewhere, but rather through connections I’ve made.

Q:  Why did you become a mentor?

A:  I’ve been fortunate to have been exposed to strong leaders and training early on, and have always been committed to paying that forward throughout my career. I’ve served as a mentor (both in a formal and informal capacity) to various people over the years. It’s been rewarding to keep in touch with them and seeing the successes they’ve had in their own careers. While it may sound cliché – it’s certainly true, that I’m confident I’ve gotten as much, if not more, from the relationship as they have.

Q:  How have you created win-win relationships with your mentees?

A:  While it may sound cliché – it’s certainly true, that I’m confident I’ve gotten as much, if not more, from the relationship as they have. For me this has included developing my leadership and interpersonal skills. Just as I encourage mentees to ask questions and share what they want out of the relationship, I do the same, asking for feedback and suggestions.

Q:  What are the top lessons learned that other marketers can take away from your career journey?

A:  As I mentioned earlier, and can’t emphasize enough – so much of your career journey will be influenced by your network. Always be expanding your network, don’t hesitate to reach out to others when you’re in need of help, and be there for others when they need it.

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About Marni Gordon

Marni is an NYU certified executive coach and ICF member with over 25 years of leadership in the marketing, advertising, media and events industries.

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