Why did you decide to become a mentor?
In my past roles, one of my favourite parts of the job was helping my team develop their careers as creative and technical professionals. I found that there are many similar challenges that folks face as the grow their career and having that support to listen, challenge them, and hold them accountable- well it makes all the difference. Many of the individuals I supported told me what a huge impact I had made on how they saw their career and their abilities and I found myself learning so much about myself, about growth and learning, and how we all want to have an impact in the world and feel our contribution is valued. In my current role, I have less opportunity to do this as I am more focused on clients, strategy and overseeing a growing production slate. I didn’t want to lose these skills and the opportunity to help others see their careers in a new light.
I’ve also moved into a new field of work out of media production and into digital design and web development and I was looking for professional opportunities to remember the whole of my skillset, how it’s transferable, and can be of value to others.
A old co-worker/friend who I had been a bit of a mentor to, recommended trying Mentorcruise thinking I had some unique perspectives that might be valued on the site.
I applied and have really enjoyed the experience thus far!
How did you get your career start?
Right out of university film school, I started out in media production as an assistant editor and then post-production supervisor. I am a born planer and organizer and while this role was basically project managing everything from shoot to delivery on independent films, it was also very technology heavy at a time when significant digital transformation was taking place in the industry. At some point I realized this could be my career for the rest of my life but something felt missing. I wanted to dig into business strategy and take on client work to learn more about the world. After some time producing film and television and learning more of the business side, I got a role as a project manager in Interactive production for museum technology. A dream job but the fit wasn’t right, I was itching to lead a larger team and took on a role leading a creative services team for the advertising division of a large publicly traded media firm. I learnt so much in this role growing a team, developing new systems and processes, partnering with the People team to build team culture and navigate the politics within a large company. In this role I was product manager for a large tech project building a custom process management software from the ground up. I discovered I had a strong aptitude for understanding how technology could solve problems and figure out how to distill business challenges into Software requirements and features.
After almost eight years during COVID, I decided I wasn’t learning any more in media production and that I wanted to move towards creative technology projects.
I this is how I connected with my current agency and I am truly enjoying the every day challenge within this role.
What do mentees usually come to you for?
Mentees come to for a few things:
1) Guidance and reflection on how to approach a career change. This can often invoke thinking about how they want the role work plays in their life to change or moving into or away from certain skills or content area. For some individuals, is more about growing in their role to prepare for promotion and I have lots of experience with this - setting up a career path with goals and stretch activities to build capacity and also think about how they build their network of support for their progress.
2) Help navigating the workplace. Work is full of politics, competing interests, opportunities, and traps. Having someone in your corner to help you reflect on how to stay happy and productive and not burnt out…sometimes this is as simple as having a safe place to learn about the no-so-helpful habits you may have developed in circumstances beyond your control. Folks seem to like the opportunity to get beyond the day-to-day and reflect on what’s important to them.
3) Tangible support and advice on leadership, managing teams, project management, client relationships, agency life, and how to be a stellar project leader.
What’s been your favourite mentorship success story so far?
There’s been several but I particularly like one where over the course of six months we slowly discovered how my mentee wanted to articulate her career goals and move into more satisfying work.
She started out not knowing why she was doing what she was doing, how she ended up in her career, and in many ways not really knowing what her biggest strength were and how she could use them in the work place. It was a lot of inner work; many time joking that I was like a work therapist but she guided the process and I reflected observations and aspirations I heard simmering below the surface. My job was just to help her get out of her on way.
What are you getting out of being a mentor?
I do find it validating to be helpful and reflect on all that I’ve learnt in my career and see that it can be of service to others. It is both humbling and affirming.
It brings me a deepened understanding of many of the common challenges we all face and a deep empathy for how challenging and also fulfilling work can be.
I think having a space to reflect with a safe skilled person who gets your unique work context is enormously liberating for folks.