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Perspectives on Mentoring

 

Welcome to our bi-monthly blog where members of the WISE Within community share insights and their WISE Within experience.


 

July 1, 2012

Step Back to Step It Up


We all commit to mentoring for different reasons. My interest developed from my first internship after graduating from college at a sports marketing agency. I had just been declined for a volunteer internship position at another agency in my hometown and found myself relocating to tackle this new opportunity, a three-month internship in Atlanta.

I was eager and determined. On my first day, I was the first person at the office. With that enthusiasm, I started to develop key relationships that helped mold and develop me as a person. Fortunately, several people took an interest in helping me. One in particular, Kelly Feilke, became a mentor who coached me through the next three years at the agency as I turned two intern stints into a full-time position.

Kelly gave me time, and I soaked up each and every word he shared like a sponge. I recognized almost immediately the importance of his guidance. Just as quickly, I realized that I was not in a position to reciprocate, particularly the amount of help he had given to me. I remember asking once, “How can I pay you back for all you’ve done?” He simply replied, “Return the favor to someone else.”

WISE Within is one way I am repaying my debt.

WISE Within brings WISE’s mission of networking to a more personal level by providing the structure to connect with other members. We are all busy. WISE Within provides a turnkey program. I have participated in the program in Atlanta since 2009. My pairings have provided fulfilling and unique connections I would not have otherwise experienced while the group sessions with all the mentors and mentees provided a contagious energy. WISE Within has introduced me to people I knew (but not well), someone I would have probably never met and another who was able to offer me a different perspective on my day-to-day projects.

Committing to mentoring gives me an opportunity to step away from my work and have a greater discussion or debate a challenge. When I meet with my mentees, I use my brain differently, and these conversations keep me sharp. I don’t want to speak for anyone else, but I fall into ruts from time to time. When I mentor, I talk about other projects from a new perspective and am able to bring that fresh perspective back with me to my world. New approaches and new ideas become easier for me to consider.

Although I have been the mentor, I view the pairing as a partnership from which I can also learn and improve myself. Through my conversations, I have gotten new ideas, reconsidered old methods and validated what I already knew. I would even go so far as to say that stepping away and into the mentoring role makes me a more productive employee and person.

I have benefited greatly with each pairing and have maintained those relationships beyond the program. Return the favor? The pleasure has been all mine.