This year I invested a little bit in myself by participating in a mentoring program through AMA-Toronto. My objective was to give myself some perspective, take a breath and more clearly define what I want to do with my career at this stage in my life. Rewind….after a great career, two kids and crazy life, I found myself, like many others, in a place where what I thought I wanted no longer lined up with my present-day reality. Priorities shift and perspectives change based on experience and real life. Yet reconciling that with how I pivot my career choices and balance was unclear to me. So, I’m a GenX mom with amazing experience, a personal and family life and I’m at a crossroads, where do I even start?
Enter my mentor. I’m not sure what I expected when I started this process a little over half a year ago, but I certainly got more than I bargained for. To date, I’ve been hesitant to write about this because it feels so intensely personal and private and that I am somehow revealing a vulnerability by participating in this process.
As part of AMA-Toronto’s Mentor Exchange, I am paired with a very senior, very accomplished Communications professional who runs her own consultancy after years of running a high-profile agency. She is connected, wise, thoughtful, insightful and candid. Not only that, she is generous with her time (never rushed) and experience without any strings – she is not motivated by anything else but giving something back to the community. What she provides is a sounding board that has turned into a motivating, interesting and productive monthly discussion – that I look forward to. I didn’t realize just how much I counted on our meetings until the pandemic interrupted them. We reconnected this past month – calm conversation and connection – a perspective I needed at an incredibly uncertain time.
One of my takeaways from the experience to date is about being more self-aware and mindful of the things that matter to me and the priorities that I have. I make every experience count and with my limited time, I invest in those things that are most important to me and that (sorry about this) bring me joy. My mentoring experience is a relationship that I value and appreciate. And a worthwhile investment in myself.
If I were to highlight some of the key reasons why – here they are (in no particular order):
Connection to a senior executive leader with no B.S. and no agenda. Mentorship programs inside of organizations can have an element of politics or it may be difficult to be candid about long-term career aspirations if they are personal or include opportunities outside of the organization.
Meeting a network of exceptional marketers that are in your cohort (approximately 50), who share a focus on career investment and have diverse experiences and perspectives. There are several opportunities throughout the program to meet and interact with others that are participating and create the potential to expand your network with valuable and insightful people.
Opportunity to invest in and own your career decisions. There is no lack of resources and people who tell you what and who you can be. Everyone has a perspective but this program puts the power with you to really self-reflect and make the most of the opportunity.
If you have a mentoring experience both formal or informal that you have found valuable – please share your story. #Mentorship #ThankyouMentor #MentorExchange
And, if you are interested in learning more about this program or about AMA-Toronto, visit the Mentor Exchange website, you can sign-up for more about the 20-21 application process or reach out to myself or others that have participated in the program (over 500 graduates and 240 Alumni mentors over the past 10 years).