Monday, January 17, 2011

National Mentoring Month - Give As Much As You Get

Not only is January a time for resolutions, it is also a time for giving back and re-evaluating what you’ll be working on this year to “do your part.” Here’s one thing to think about – January is national mentoring month! If you’re up for the challenge of serving as a mentor, what better time than the month of January to kick off this initiative?

Here at our agency, we’re regularly engaged in the mentoring process, intermittently hosting college students to shadow us for the day and learn about a day-in-the-life of a PR agency. We also have a student intern work with us each semester. Serving as a mentor for these college students is extremely rewarding knowing that we’re passing along all the knowledge we can to help shape this student’s future, which also indirectly impacts the future of the PR industry. On the other hand and much to our benefit, our interns serve as mentors for us from time-to-time, teaching us about the latest and greatest in social media. (Be sure to refer to our previous blog post for more on this reverse mentoring process we have “resoluted” to maintain in spring 2011).

But apart from the mentoring process in the professionalism realm, I would encourage you to consider being a mentor outside of work. I know we are all busy professionals, but one skill set all PR pros in the agency world possess is the ability to multi-task and juggle many activities at once. Why not put that skill to good use and consider becoming a mentor to someone in your community? As we all know, it’s important to practice what we preach which is why I want to share that I am involved in Big Brothers Big Sisters. I have served as a Big Sister for nearly six years, and I have become a constant force in my Little Brother’s life, helping to positively shape his future.

My time as a mentor has helped to shape who I am today – my Little and his family have become a part of my life and it has been one of the most rewarding experiences for me. So, what are you waiting for? It’s time to figure out how you can help change someone’s life… or maybe the shoe is on the other foot, and you need to find someone to help provide guidance. If you are that “mentee,” then get out there and figure out who can be that positive force in your own life.

Either way, it’s time to figure out how you can get involved in the mentoring process. Not only will you feel good that you’ve ticked one thing off your resolution list, but you can also feel good knowing you’re taking a step in the right direction as a mentor or mentee. Even President Obama has asked all of America to take action now and issued this proclamation in honor of National Mentoring Month. Take a clue from our President – Start Something!

This post was contributed by Leah Ekmark