A couple months ago I agreed to mentor a young member of my financial services industry organization. After all, it's good to give back, right? Little did I realize how much I would gain serving as a mentor to a young, enthusiastic professional outside of my public relations field.
So, in short order, let me serve up to you:
MY THREE FABULOUS FINDS AS A PR MENTOR
First of all, my "mentee," Theresa, is a down-to-earth, highly qualified financial advice professional. Based on the East Coast, she brings curiosity and humor to our sessions. More importantly, she's brought the realization that mentoring is a classic, two-way, win-win.
FIND #1: ENERGY EXCHANGE
As a 16 year+ public relations professional, I (sometimes!) think I've almost seen it all. The upside of sharing how-to's of thought leadership and communications strategy with someone in the financial services world? I win too - with the exchange of energy and enthusiasm, and insight into a very specialized marketplace. I've also had my eye opened to financial services tools that aren't necessarily part of my "PR tool kit."
Take-away: a mentor gives insight, but receives the valuable exchange of positive energy and new learning in completely different field of experience.
FIND #2: THE POWER OF SIMPLICITY
In the communications field, my agency uses highly-specialized (and expensive) research and data tools. We also rely on all matter of technology and specialized training to get our job done. But, when you're helping a financial advisor learn to "DIY" as a PR and marketing strategist, you need to...streamline. Identifying how to make valuable results happen without the turbo-charged engine of our industry's specialized tools is a powerful reminder of just how useful - and democratic - communications can be in the business world.
FIND #3: LEARN FROM OTHER'S EXPERIENCE
As Warren Buffett wisely said. "learn from other's experience." As someone who specializes in fintech and finserv (as we say in industry slang), it was very eye-opening to get a sense of the "who" that financial advisors work with, and the reminder that indeed, for the advisor, there is a human on the other end that needs to benefit from his or her experience. And, isn't that true for all of us?
So, the reality, is, as much as I hope our mentoring session is helping my assigned "mentee," the reality is the whole interaction has been a fabulous find for me in terms of interaction, new learning, and joy in seeing progress made.
If you haven't yet experienced the joy of mentoring, I suggest you make yourself available. If you're interested in being someone who is mentored, don't hesitate. Just know that in these invaluable situations, the teacher and student are highly interchangeable roles!