Mentoring Is a Win – Even if Your Mentee Changes Careers
Finding a mentor is one of the best ways to invest in your professional growth. You willingly ask for, receive and act on advice and ideas to improve yourself and your performance. If your mentor is doing their job, you’ll benefit.
But what’s in it for the mentor – especially if the protégé ends up choosing a different career path?
Take it from me. I’ve been on both sides.
Prior to jumping into agency life, I served as a school PR pro. A local school PR veteran graciously served as my mentor to help navigate the ins and outs of strategic communication in an education setting. I believe education to be a noble profession and have many friends and family members who are or who have been teachers.
But after more than 13 years in both private and public education, I became ready to explore different career opportunities. Balcom Agency was the clear choice due to its terrific people and culture.
I was still so grateful for the work my mentor put into me, and in January of this year, I jumped at the chance to serve as the mentor for our spring client services intern, Danielle Archuleta. I hoped to pour into Dani’s early professional career the same way my mentor poured into my career 15 years ago.
Balcom offers four types of paid internships: client services, design, copywriting and web development. All internships are semester-based and we work to accommodate the interns’ class schedules. The program is designed to provide interns with real, meaningful work through involvement in client projects and opportunities to try something new. Additionally, interns learn Balcom’s six core services: branding & advertising, web development & digital marketing, film & video production, media planning & buying, PR & social media, and consulting & training.
Dani and I met several times during the 18-week internship for project updates and check-ins, as did each of the other interns and their mentors. At the start of their internship, each intern set personal goals for their growth and mentors worked to help ensure they met their goals and explored agency life.
Toward the end of her internship, Dani shared her interest in pursuing education – specifically, her desire to go through the alternative certification process to become a teacher. Education runs in her family, too, and she felt the call to join the ranks.
So we’ve come full circle.
As Dani herself assured us, she learned valuable lessons at Balcom that she’ll take with her into education. She successfully managed the interns’ group project, met her goals and completed her internship, and is working toward what’s next for her.
I’m thrilled for and proud of her, and I feel great about sending someone back into education after my departure.
More than that, I gained so many things by serving as a mentor – here are some of the benefits you’ll see:
- Learn – By serving as a mentor, you'll learn from your mentees.
- Build – Enhance your leadership, coaching and management skills.
- Validate – You'll review lessons learned and/or accomplishments through discussions.
- Satisfaction – You'll likely feel content, proud and even energized.
- Perspective – You’ll get a fresh outlook on your own job, challenges and way forward.
- Payoffs – Mentoring could provide future personal gains.
- Network – You’ll meet new colleagues and expand your professional network.
- Legacy – Mentoring is a chance to give back and leave the world better than you found it.
Check out Balcom’s open internships.