Mentoring is a brain to pick, an ear to listen, and a push in the right direction. Lori Marble is co-chair of the PRSA College of Fellows Mentoring Committee which is comprised of about 350 professionals. This mentoring program is offered to all PRSA members. Marble was inducted into the College of Fellows in 2015, and recently reflected on her experience as a mentor in PRSA’s Strategies and Tactics.
“Whether you are a Fellow or not, everyone has experiences they can share with others,” Marble says. We summarize several points she highlighted:
- Any mentor relationship is just that, a relationship between two people. Mentors should of course offer experience and advice, but the mentee should ask questions and direct conversation as well.
- There are no exact qualifications to be a mentor, other than wanting to help others, and having some type of experience. Mentorship should be spontaneous and natural.
- There is no strict time frame for mentoring. The relationship may call for weekly hour-long phone conversations, sporadic coffee chats or frequent emailing. Similarly, it may last one evening, one year, or forever! No two relationships are the same.
- It should be rewarding to witness and be part of the success of others. Relish in this contagious excitement! Mentorship should always be a win-win.
On a personal note, as a rising senior in college, mentorship is becoming more and more relevant to me as I intern, network and interact with my professors. Here are some of my own tips on being a good mentee:
- Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Before tasks become second nature, it is important to know you are completing them correctly. Your mentor would rather you clarify now, than later.
- Listen! It is important to listen twice as much as we speak. Your mentor will give you advice along the way, but also offer hints in between the lines. It’s important to pick up on that advice as well.
- Stay busy. Even when your to-do list seems complete, there is always more to be done. Whether it’s conducting research or keeping up on current events, it’s imperative to keep yourself engaged.
- Have an open mind. After all, being an intern and mentee is all about learning, growing and experiencing new things!