Why We All Should Be Mentors

My neighbor, Christina, is about to begin her junior year at the University of South Carolina as a public relations major.  For the last couple of months, she’s come into work with me here at iMedia Public Relations 1-2 days per week, to get her feet wet at a real-life public relations agency.  While it was hard to give her major responsibilities on an account, since she was not in for a full week, I was able to assign specific tasks and roles for her to play.

Before she left, she thanked me and told me how much she learned, which made me feel good.  No matter if it’s one college intern or a group of seasoned employees, they should be placed in a position to learn, not only from the expertise you can extend them as their supervisor and through your relevant experience, but also from their own mistakes.

One of the things I’ve taken pride in has been the opportunity to work with young publicists and help shape their direction and growth.   I made plenty of mistakes in my early years and always respected the mentors that took time out to coach me on the proper way to do things and not write me off as a piece of cattle that could be ground up and spit out when things went wrong.  I’m looking forward to serving as a mentor in the Women in Sports and Entertainment program called W.I.S.E. Within.

As communicators, it is our responsibility to convey the proper way to do things to newcomers looking to prosper in this profession.  Throwing them to the wolves is not the way, nor is it fair to them and the clients whose programs they are working on.

By having a little patience to coach them through their assignments, recognize their shortcomings and help them get better, you can foster their growth.  These interns and entry-level staffers deserve more than to just be treated as an extra tool at your disposal.  Listen to them. If you do, they surely will provide some important mentoring to you as well.

Tom Cosentino

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