I was so grateful for the opportunity to join the BBC team that traveled to New York City in June for the IABC World Conference. Months later, I still can’t stop thinking about what I learned in my favorite session: “The Art of Mentorship in the 21st Century,” hosted by Erin Dick, Director of Communications at Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne.
Erin’s presentation used real-time storytelling to show what mentorship looks like today. She compiled and showed a video of conference participants sharing their own personal stories about how mentorship has directly impacted their careers and their lives.
The takeaway? Many people in the room, including me, realized we had an out-of-date picture in our heads of what mentorship really is. By taking a deeper look into what defines a meaningful 21st century relationship between mentor and mentee, we found mentorship doesn’t have to be defined by tradition. Specifically:
Erin left us with this: If you have a mentor – someone in your life who listens, challenges you, someone with whom you have mutual trust and respect, someone who, just by being there, helps you find answers within yourself – by all means TELL THEM that they are your mentor!
I took this advice to heart and told a longtime friend and fellow songwriter, Sarah Grain, that she had taught me by her actions a great deal about the art of focused, one-on-one communication. Even though she is eight years younger than me and lives 2,000 miles away, I feel smarter every time I hang up the phone with her. After the conference, I called her and told her that she was my mentor. Turns out, I am hers as well.