As acclaimed actor Denzel Washington once said:
“Show me a successful individual and I’ll show you someone who had real positive influences in his or her life. I don’t care what you do for a living—if you do it well I’m sure there was someone cheering you on or showing the way. A mentor.”
A good mentor makes all the difference, but finding one can be tough. In a 2019 study referenced in the Harvard Business Review article “Great Mentors Focus on the Whole Person, Not Just their Career,” more than 75% of professional men and women professed to wanting a mentor but only 37% had one. For some, mentors are found on the job or in the classroom. For others, finding a mentor requires proactively searching for someone who will volunteer their valuable time and advice. Helping new practitioners more easily connect with senior public relations (PR) professionals is a long-time priority for CPRS Vancouver.
Mentorship makes a difference
I’ve been fortunate to work in some remarkable places and along the way, I’ve met a few good mentors. At my first big agency gig, I had three remarkable managers. They were a trio of the smartest, most focused, and kindest people you could hope to meet. They always took the time to review my work, give me sound advice, and help me navigate on the job challenges. I learned from them the critical importance of exceptional client service, pristine project deliverables, and making the most impossible deadlines look easy. But even more than that, they taught me about being an ethical practitioner, giving back to the community, and living an interesting life away from the office (because as one of them once said to me, “If you don’t live an interesting life, how will you have interesting ideas to bring to our clients?”). Their lessons have stayed with me, and I apply them everyday as I now run my own consultancy.
In recent years, I’m proud to have mentored young practitioners and students alike. I’ve seen first-hand the remarkable impact of giving someone sound advice, celebrating their achievements with a kind word or just listening to their career challenges and aspirations. A mentor can make all the difference to someone’s confidence, their ability to take the next step in their career, and connect with others who may be hiring for a specific set of skills.
The 2021 CPRS Vancouver Mentorship program
At CPRS Vancouver, we believe strongly in the power of mentorship to shape and lift up junior practitioners. We’ve been fortunate to see some of the Lower Mainland’s brightest and most seasoned PR pros give their time and energy to mentor.
On November 2nd, 2020, we’ll be launching the 2021 CPRS Vancouver Mentorship program. Interested applicants can apply online at www.cprsvancouver.com/Connect/Mentors until the closing date of November 30th.
Mentors and mentees will be matched according to their experience, shared career interests and location. For busy practitioners, the time commitment is very reasonable. The program requires participants to meet three times over four months, January–April 2021, and these meetings can take place from a safe, in-person distance, virtually, or via phone. Many of our participants meet more often than three times and several stay in touch long after the program ends.
The results speak for themselves
CPRS Vancouver mentors and mentees report a great deal of satisfaction with the program. In 2020, we had 24 participants. One mentee said of her experience, “Since the first meeting we had a strong connection and [my mentor] was truly interested in getting to know me and what I envision for my career.” A longtime CPRS mentor said of her most recent experience with the program, “I really loved working with my mentee—she’s a lovely, thoughtful person who genuinely seemed to appreciate the input and advice I was able to give her.”
As the Board Director responsible for Mentorship at CPRS Vancouver, it’s my role to match mentors and mentees, facilitate introductions, provide tips and advice, and ensure a positive experience for all. If you’re considering the program or have questions about it, please get in touch with me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I look forward to hearing from you!
Marsha D’Angelo is the Principal of Apostrophe (www.apostrophepr.com), a strategic and communications planning consultancy in Vancouver, BC. With over 17 years communications experience, Marsha is passionate about helping organizations and individuals tell their diverse stories.
Marsha got her start working for some of the world’s biggest public relations agencies in Canada and the U.K. In her current role, she works with clients in education, business and the nonprofit sector to help with planning, stakeholder outreach, facilitation and training. She is also a published writer, a passionate advocate for diversity and inclusion, and an award-winning educator currently teaching part-time in the new Public Relations Diploma Program at Kwantlen Polytechnic University.