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Griffin Brodman – Meet the Mentor

Hey all - my name is Griffin! I'm an engineering manager interested in building and scaling autonomous, motivated teams, and building engineering organizations that scale! I love working on my house with my wife, I love my two dogs, playing video games, cooking, painting miniatures, and not going outside. I like to have fun and laugh and I really enjoy getting to work with new mentees!
Griffin Brodman

Engineering Manager, Apollo.io

Why did you decide to become a mentor?

In college, and several times through my career, I've found it really valuable to do a Core Values exercise - mine are Connection, Force Multiplier, Levity, Joyful Accomplishment, Self Efficacy, Safe Base. Being an EM really helps me live out my values and feel like myself - but 1:1 mentorship is really like a concentrated version of getting to live them. I love being able to impact someone's career and pass on the amazing advice and coaching and mentorship I've gotten from others so that it can have more of an impact. I want to become a coach someday - I LOVE the coaching I'm able to do at work, and I love all the mentorship and advice I've received in my career. When I joined MentorCruise, I was excited to start working toward that goal with more formal experience - I was used to delivering value to my engineers - but I was brand new to trying to understanding someone's situation and give them value in 30 minutes - it's been an amazing challenge and I've felt prepared for it, and pleasantly happy that I was truly able to provide people some value!

How did you get your career start?

In college, my final year, I got an internship at Riot Games to be a development manager intern - super unique experience! Before that, software development was all about code, after that it became all about psychology and force multiplying teams, and how efficient an amazing process can make a team. I loved how one person could double the efficiency of ten others, and how much the company invested in it! After school I joined a fintech company, where I stayed around five years. My first few years were mostly development work in c++ and python around distributed systems and databases, but then I began a transition to eventually becoming a full time engineering manager, where I ran the team building our flagship product. After our company got sold, I left to join Apollo.io where I've been just about three years. When I joined, we were a Series B start up with ~20 engineers, and two other EMs. Now I personally have about 20 engineers under me in my org, with a company total of more than ~250 engineers, as we scale into being a Series D start up! I've been very lucky to have amazing mentors and bosses every step of the way, for basically my entire career. I know that's not everyone's experience so a joy of mentorship for me is being able to pass on all the wisdom and support I've received.

What do mentees usually come to you for?

I field a great number of people looking to get resume / interview / company evaluation help with a job search. I'm always happy to help with these! My company grew from 20 to 250 engineers in ~two years, so I've done a lot of interviewing, some quarters as much as 8 hours a week every week. I think I can do a lot to communicate the state of modern hiring, and what interviewers / hiring managers are actually thinking or doing behind the scenes. The other category I do is where I sort of act as a manager stand in for an EM or other leader that the mentee is just looking to get more help with. We set up long term relationships and I help them set and progress toward goals - maybe they're trying to show their manager at work they can be "technically autonomous", or commonly they're thinking about a transition to being an EM or advice being a new EM. I think from my experience there's a lot of great questions or exercises I can walk people through to help them make their decisions!

What's been your favourite mentorship success story so far?

I've had great mentorship experiences so far! I really enjoyed one where an EM at a company without many other EMs just wanted a peer to run ideas by. They didn't have any leadership that cared about process, and didn't have any other EMs to discuss ideas with, so they just wanted to meet monthly and discuss the problems their company was facing and the ideas they was thinking to fix them - I loved that! Really unique. I also love really long mentorships! I'm always happy to help anyone for any length of time, but I love building connections with people, getting invested in their career and seeing their progress. I've helped an engineer make the decision to switch jobs, I've helped another decide they're 100% committed to a manager track, and cleared up what that would actually look like. Even the short term ones can be a huge feeling of success. I recently had a four one off session mentorship with someone who got let go - I was so thrilled when I saw they told me they had gotten a great new job offer.

What are you getting out of being a mentor?

The reason I go to work on Mondays is so I can have an impact on my org - if I can help someone get to the next level and get promoted a year earlier, or get a raiser, or help someone have less work related anxiety and be more pleasant to be around in their personal life - that really matters! This helps my career development a lot as well - gives me more confidence and exposure to mentorship, coaching, etc. Long term - I have a plan to someday become a professional coach on the side, very similar to what I'm doing today but with more certification, so this is one of my steps that's my pathway there!

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