As I’m gearing up for a business trip out of town, I just said goodbye to the last of my summer interns. As she thanked me for the opportunity to work with me and build her portfolio, I started thinking about the important role we play as mentors to our interns.
I honestly can say that I wouldn’t be at this point in my career today without the support and knowledge I gained from my mentors. From my parents to high school teachers to college internship supervisors to supervisors, friends and colleagues – there are so many people who have shaped me and cheered for me, I couldn’t name them all for fear of leaving someone out.
The lessons you learn from your mentors and from internship experiences and entry level jobs are priceless and they truly make a difference in the professional you become. I have been incredibly lucky and am grateful for the vast network of friends, colleagues and professional peers who challenge me everyday. Now I’m in a position to shape the lives of others and I really believe in the importance of paying it forward.
I’ve had many interns in the last few years and each one has taught me something. I hope I have left them with some valuable lessons. My goal is always to share my knowledge about the industry, helping gain the real-world skills and the confidence that will help them land a job post-graduation. Aside from interns, I also have a mentee who is a PR student at FSU and that has been an incredibly rewarding experience. I was able to help her with her application to the College of Communication and was able to celebrate with her when she was accepted. These experiences make me a better professional and make me appreciate all of the successes I’ve enjoyed and the people who have helped me along the way.
As humans, we should never stop growing and learning and finding people to inspire us. There will always be those who are more successful or have more experience, but wherever you are in your career, think about serving as a mentor or friend to a younger person who may be in school or just starting their career. We’ve all been there and we should never forget it!
Great post, Ivette. A good reminder to all PR professionals to pay it forward and give the guidance and insight to the next generation that we so desperately needed when we were starting out.