Mentoring often can be this elusive concept and a lot of people don’t really understand what is it to have a mentor. I have been lucky enough to have two mentors in my professional lifetime. People that helped shape who I am in business.
My first mentor came when I was still in college. I went to work as an unpaid intern in the marketing department for a local aquarium. The man I worked for provided me with a great deal of instruction and guidance. This was a tremendous opportunity for me being that I knew I wanted to go into marketing at that point but I needed a better understanding of what that would look like and what it would feel like to be a part of a marketing department. He gave me just that opportunity. I was able to attend marketing meetings, sit in on strategy sessions, and have projects that were mine to manage. This particular mentor helped me for many years. In fact, he helped me get another internship when I went back to college. He hired me the following summer as a paid intern. And he even helped me land my first full-time job out of college in the marketing department of the bank.
My second mentor came later in my career. When I oversaw product marketing, customer service and distribution for a national nonprofit. In my role, I often became involved in projects along with a key member of the senior leadership team. Over time we developed an excellent working relationship and formed a friendship and bond that continues to this day. She has a completely different background and experience set then I do. She showed me a different way to look at things that was really eye-opening. She exposed me to areas within the organization that I otherwise would have stayed pretty removed from. And later she became one of my first clients for AMI.
To sum it up my mentors helped shape my career in many ways. They helped me understand the business world and what it meant to be a part of it. They helped me chart my course for where I am today. And their teachings still aid me today as I grow my business.