Last week, I attended a great panel hosted by New York Women in Communications (NYWICI) called “The Fastest Way to the Top” where five successful women at all stages of their careers discussed the importance of finding mentors and sponsors along the way to support you, offer advice and help you reach that next level of achievement.
Moderated by Erica Hill, co-anchor of NBC’s Weekend Today, the lineup included Ellen Archer, ABC Entertainment‘s Head of East Coast Development, and her longtime mentor iVillage co-founder Nancy Evans; as well as Stacy Martinet, Chief Marketing Officer, Mashable, and her mentor Denise Warren, Executive Vice President, Digital Products and Services Group, The New York Times.
While the women-focused event was peppered with references to Sheryl Sandberg’s Lean In, much of the wisdom imparted during the panel could apply to men too, though as Archer pointed out, “We as woman are very good at developing friendships and men are good at business relationships. It’s important for women to get out there and develop those relationships as well. We’re somehow not as good at it.”
Below, some of the best tips for how to choose a mentor, become one yourself and learn from the generation ahead of you and behind you:
What Does Mentorship Mean?
The best of mentoring is when you can send [the person] an email and say, “When can you talk today?” Don’t just walk up to someone and say, “Will you be my mentor?”- Nancy Evans
People took notice of me because I did a great job. I showed up early, I stayed late. How can you make the bar higher? How do you get people to notice you? As a mentee, you have to trust your mentors. – Denise Warren
I admired a woman who was open to people at all levels. She recognized me as a junior staffer and said, “You did a great job; it doesn’t matter how much experience you have.” – Stacy Martinet
Reverse mentoring is great — digital natives can teach older people a lot about technology and social media. – Ellen Archer
What Can We Learn from Twenty-somethings?
I don’t view this younger generation as stereotypically feeling entitled, but I have encountered people who think their path up should be quicker than ours. I see that this generation wants to build their skills — whether social media or program management — and we want to help them do that. – Denise Warren
The norms are different now. I Snapchat and text with my team at Mashable. The fact that they don’t have as many hang-ups as we do is good but it’s about balance. Things move very fast now — there’s a list [that comes out] every week of “Top 10 People under 30″ and they want to get on those lists. – Stacy Martinet
What’s the Best Way to Make Connections?
If you put two fabulous women together, something great will happen. [Early in my career], I was bad at keeping up with my women friends and connections, and that was a mistake. – Nancy Evans
Go to LinkedIn and connect the minute you meet someone. – Ellen Archer
You shouldn’t limit yourself [to your circle]. Some of the best advice I’ve gotten is from people outside my industry. I get great ideas. Seek advice wherever you have the chance to get it. – Denise Warren
What’s Some Advice for How to Get Feedback and Get Ahead?
You should do 360 reviews because it gives you a chance to give feedback to your boss and also enables you to learn more from each other. – Nancy Evans
There are three things you should ask in a review: What am I doing well? Where can I improve? And what can I do to help you do your job better? It shows how self-aware someone is about how they can grow the company. – Ellen Archer
There’s more access for [Mashable’s] young employees because we’re a flat organization. I love when someone comes to me and says, “You are really good at this. Can you teach me how to do it?” That makes me feel good and also helps them. – Stacy Martinet
If someone asks me for something and they don’t have a goal, I question whether they really want to achieve it. The process that goes into thinking about a goal is very telling about a person, almost more so than the goal. – Denise Warren
I was able to advance in my career by saying, “There’s a hole here and I know how to fill it.” Put everything into it if you believe in [your idea] and you’ll be able to build on it. – Ellen Archer
Jessica Kleiman is a communications executive and co-author of “Be Your Own Best Publicist: How to Use PR Techniques to Get Noticed, Hired and Rewarded at Work” with fellow Forbes blogger Meryl Weinsaft Cooper. Follow her on Twitter at @bestpublicist.
Source: Forbes Business