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Mentors in Your Mind

Thursday, January 25, 2018  
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By James Walker

Happy New Year! There are many things to celebrate with the start of a new year, and at the top of my list is the ability to push forward with our Mentoring Committee efforts in 2018. In case you didn’t know January is National Mentorship Month, and there is no better time to reach out and start building relationships that can change your life for the better, both personally and professionally!

At our speed mentoring events, we talk about a range of things from finding a mentor and starting the conversation to staying engaged with them and getting career advice. One thing that does not usually come up is how to engage the mentors in your mind.

If you are anything like me, you have a few people in your life that you look to as mentors, and then you have people with meteoric career status who you read about and ponder how they would handle things when major life and professional decisions arise. I’m not afraid to say that some of the mentors in my mind include Marc Benioff, CEO of Salesforce, and Bozoma St. John, Chief Brand Officer at Uber, and I add a few more every year when I see the latest PRWeek 40 under 40, Adweek 50, or Forbes top 20 CEOs list.

I pore over their successes and criticisms in the media and marvel at their strategic moves, but I also try to think about how they would navigate today’s landscape. In those moments, I feel sharper, more empowered, more poised for tackling my daily to-do list and vision board. Basically, I feel everything you should after a great conversation with your mentor. Well, at a certain point, mentor in my mind status was not enough and I decided to reach out to Marc. Bold, right?

Would you be surprised if I told you I actually heard back from him? In addition to receiving a nice note from him, he sent me a copy of his book detailing his start with Salesforce and some of his journey since then. He is still a mentor in my mind for now, but I am speaking into existence the fact that I will have the opportunity to meet him in person to continue the conversation and perhaps even work together.

I am sure that I am not the only one with a few mentors in my mind, so this year do us both a big favor by doing three things:

  1. Reach out to at least one mentor in your mind. Thank them for inspiring you and try to glean a piece of advice.
  2. Sign up to be a PRSA-NY mentee.
  3. Start living a personal and professional life that will make you a mentor in someone’s mind in due time.


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