“Some executives credit one or two key people for coaching them to success, but I believe effective mentoring takes a network.” – Mary Barra, CEO of General Motors (*)
In the era of the modern individual, it is ironically the role of collaboration that is key to success. Mentoring is a key component to collective learning and should be a mutually beneficial relationship. Advanced Marketing Strategies’ President and host of The Show Runner Marketing Podcast
, Kathy Cunningham, sat down with Laura Wolf Stein, Marketing Director at Challenged Athletes Foundation (CAF), to have a conversation
about her journey to success as a leader in the marketing industry. Here are 3 pieces of advice from Laura Stein Wolf on mentoring:
Find mentors in unexpected places
In other words, inspiration is housed in people all around you. Every relationship is an opportunity to learn, and the idea of mentors and mentees should not be restricted to a professional, formal program. Mentoring can, and should be, a web of references and lessons from a diverse set of people.
“I had a shift about three years ago when there were younger, less experienced people on my team who I realized I was learning a ton from. And so, in my own mind, they were my reverse mentors; even though they were thinking they were getting mentorship from me, I was really getting mentorship from them.”- Laura Wolf Stein
Your mentors don’t always have to know that they are your mentors
Mentorship does not have to be formal or explicit in any way. A mentor is someone who exhibits skills, traits, mentalities or habits from which you can learn. Cultivating a relationship is intrinsically valuable, as it establishes bonds that open potential channels of communication and mutual learning.
Laura’s example was Sarah Robb O’Hagan, who wrote a book called Extreme You: Step Up. Stand out. Kick Ass. Repeat. “I’ve met her a few times,” Laura said. “She’s a great leader in the sports industry. She was a Nike executive, went on to be the president of the Gatorade brand, was the president of Equinox, and now is the president of Flywheel. She is someone that I’ve learned a ton from and consider one of those distant mentors.”
You never know how these mentoring relationships can transpire over time
Networking is all the rage in professional circles. The word bears a connotation of productivity and agenda. Yet Laura’s take on mentoring redefines the building and maintaining of a social network as something more organic.
A mentor or mentee could transform into an amazing opportunity, but only if the groundwork is laid first. The key is the phrase “over time.”
Of her mentor, Denise Lee Yohn, Laura said, “Denise remains not only a mentor, but she was the connection to my job at SKLZ Training Equipment, a prior marketing role, really all came from a connection with Denise, who was a professional mentor of mine. So, you never know how these mentoring relationships can transpire over time.”
AM Strategies has their own Mentoring Programs which engage new creative, media and account team marketing professionals with the goal to prepare them for real life positions at a busy ad agency. Many of our team members have started out in this mentoring program, and that makes for a smooth transition into a full time position with our company.
About The Show Runner Marketing Podcast
The Show Runner Marketing Podcast
was born of Kathy’s dedication to recognizing female leadership in communications. Show Runner
is Kathy and AMS’ contribution of a space that is dynamic and inclusive, where #WomenInMarketing can have a platform to share their experiences and learn from each other. Each episode is a vehicle for continued learning, combining to create a network of influential industry executives whose real-life stories can help you shape your destiny.