Mentoring Accelerates Career Success

Mentoring Accelerates Career Success

By MP&F Staff

As a friend and former longtime client of MP&F, I was always impressed with the company culture. There is an ingrained sense of service to the community, a desire for personal and professional growth, which is encouraged, and a great camaraderie among all levels.

Part of that culture stems from its two complementary mentoring programs, one of which I now spearhead on a volunteer basis. There is a “formal” program for all entry level employees, known as staff associates, and an “informal” one available to everyone.

Formal Program for Staff Associates:

During the first week or two at the firm, each staff associate (SA) selects a more senior staffer, typically at the account executive level or higher as their mentor. They meet at least once a month during the course of the year. The mentor initially leads the process of helping their mentee acclimate to their new work environment, learn the various protocols one needs to observe as a new employee and member of the overall work force after graduating from college, and “learn all the other ropes” to help them get their career off to a great start. All meetings and conversations are totally confidential, the most essential element in the program’s success. This enables the mentee to ask any and all questions.

Beyond the first few months, the mentee then drives the process, scheduling the meetings with the mentor, determining the agenda and format for each meeting and establishing specific and measurable goals and objectives. Between meetings, so that the dialogue is ongoing, the mentee and mentor frequently will communicate via email or impromptu meetings at a location of their choosing.

At the end of the SA’s first year, the formal aspect of the relationship concludes as the mentee grows in the company. Typically, mentor and mentee continue to interact as fellow employees, building on the bonds of trust and confidentiality which they have established.

Informal Mentoring Program available to all MP&F employees:

This program began in late 2013 when I, an MP&F Client for 17 years, had retired and moved back to Nashville from Atlanta. Prior to my volunteer mentoring at MP&F I was an active for nearly a decade in the Cox Enterprises mentoring program and two years in the mentoring program for the Catholic ArchDiocese of Atlanta.

I believe each one of us, has leadership qualities, we just may need a little help finding and honing them. And the fact of the matter is, I am constantly learning and growing myself through mentoring interactions. All MP&F’ers know that I am here to offer advice when asked, but more importantly to listen and talk through scenarios and ideas. All conversations are held in the strictest confidence.

Whether it’s through scheduled ongoing meetings, meeting on an as needed basis, over the phone or via email, I want to make myself available as much as I can.

Typical topics of interest are work-life balance, presentation skills, first time managers wanting insights on how to motivate and inspire employees, how to distinguish oneself without being obsequious or alienating colleagues, career planning, leadership, establishing priorities, etc. For topics where I don’t have specific or lengthy experience, I connect the mentee with someone in my network who is a subject matter expert so they can interact directly. I also stay connected to three former mentees with whom MP&F’ers can discuss their careers in “the real world,” tips and pitfalls.

In addition, usually once a week, I circulate a “career success tips” type article. Typically, those articles appear in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Forbes, Fortune, and Business Week.

I also participate in the firm’s two off site retreats, selected meetings and numerous casual events.