I’ve always been a good listener. Everyone in my team says I have this knack of getting them to tell me their life story, even when they’ve just asked for the smallest bit of advice!
Having volunteered as a mentor off and on for a few not for profit orgs (as well as the TEDxGlasgow Youth team last year) I was happy to sign up to The Marketing Society mentoring programme when the opportunity came around.
In February 2018, I was paired with Rachael Cowie from Edinburgh Fringe. Rachael was at a bit of a crossroads with her career and, whilst loved her job, she wanted to look at other opportunities; particularly within events and tourism. I remember being in her position at a similar age, so it was a good match.
Take a risk
The first time I met Rachael (in Burr & Co in case you were wondering – GREAT coffee) she asked about my own career journey. A pivotal moment for me was when I was 27: my Mum died, I quit my job and moved to London. All within 8 months. Looking back, it was the craziest thing I’ve ever done but it was also the best move I ever made. [Hello > #nowrongpath]
Imagine my surprise/delight when the next time Rachael and I met up she told me she’d handed in her notice and was off to AUSTRALIA to work for the Adelaide Comedy Festival! I think knowing I’d made a (kind of) similar move and it all worked out ok helped Rachael make the decision.
See, taking risks can pay off.
With the Marketing Society mentoring programme there’s a commitment to meet your mentee twice throughout the year. I always thought, “how much can you really help someone in this amount of time?” but actually it’s not just the 1-2-1 meetings; it’s the emails, the WhatsApp messages, basically whatever form of communication that works best for the both of you. Rachael was so respectful of my time and never pushed to meet more than three times, but I genuinely enjoyed spending time listening to what she was planning and giving advice on what she could do during the remainder of her time working in Oz.
I always think the success of a mentoring relationship is if you’re still in touch after the official time commitment is up. And I’m happy to say this is the case with Rachael and I. Even although she’s on the other side of the world, we still WhatsApp each other from time to time; last month she asked me for some advice on an application for a marketing position at the Sydney Comedy Festival. Very cool.
It’s such a cliché but you do only get out as much as you put in to the whole mentoring experience.
In all honesty, I enjoy getting out of the office for a couple of hours and talking about someone else for a change! It makes me take a look at myself and how I approach certain situations – be more objective, don’t take things so personally, remember people have different ways of working etc etc. There’s usually quite a bit of reflection on my part after a mentoring session.
It’s also a lovely feeling to think you’ve played a part in someone’s journey, no matter how small, to help them realise what they want out of work/life. We all remember those who helped us out along the way – giving us our first ‘break’, prepping us for that important job interview, and for me more recently, offering advice on (co-)running a business.
I’m so proud of what Rachael has achieved over the past year. She made a brave move and it’s paid off, big style. I can’t wait to see what she does next.
Joanne Lynn is Joint MD at Lux Events, the event partner for The Marketing Society in Scotland.
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For more information on the mentoring programme, please contact Laura.