What even IS a “mentor”? | #1

When faced with this prompt, my gut response was, “Yes, of course I have found a great mentor!” My direct supervisor, our senior marketing manager, has been as great of a mentor I could have asked for through these initial weeks of interning.  But when asked to elaborate why or how she has been a great mentor, I was forced to reflect on what I truly thought a mentor should be.  After a few minutes of reflection, this is the definition I came up with:

Mentor (noun): One that…

  •  offers advice
  •  encourages exposure
  •  challenges

Advice is one of the most important tools a mentor can give. My supervisor, having spent a fair amount of time in the field of marketing, has so much information and wisdom to share.  Thus far, she has told me what she love about marketing, the challenges she faces in marketing, and the diversity of marketing forms and foci that vary by company.  This type of information coming from a well-seasoned veteran is giving me insight that would have taken me years to formulate on my own.

Another way in which my mentor has encouraged my growth in this internship is through exposing me to different types of work and new professional contacts. Bringing me along to each of her meetings, asking on my input on a diversity of projects, and introducing me to her colleagues, I am getting exposed to new fields and contacts that will strengthen my understanding of our company.

And lastly, my supervisor has challenged me to take the reins with my work, exercise new liberties, and explore new creative options. Coming from academia (where we have a set syllabus, with set expectations, required in a set format), I felt uncomfortable exercising such freedom.  But this challenge has proved to increase my confidence and efficiency.

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