Mentor, by dictionary definition, means “a wise and trusted counselor or teacher.” At the 2015 PRSSA National Conference in Atlanta, Ga., I was fortunate enough to to be paired with a mentor from the PRSA College of Fellows that fit that definition to a T.
I was contacted by PRSA prior to the conference, asking if I would be interested in participating in a mentorship opportunity. Of course, I said yes! PRSA then matched me with a mentor from the PRSA College of Fellows, based on my answers to a survey.
As soon as I was told who my mentor was, I began to research. I wanted to have an idea of who he was and what he did for a living. I wanted to be prepared to ask as many questions as possible.
The mentor sessions lasted approximately 20 minutes each. Inside a conference room, small tables were set up, and mentor/mentee pairs were each assigned to a table. Honestly, it reminded me of speed dating.
When I showed up for my mentor appointment, I signed in and was greeted with a surprise. My mentor had sat down with the wrong student, so I was being reassigned. Although I was relieved that I was still going to meet with someone, I was somewhat disappointed and felt a lot less prepared for the session.
Instead of my original mentor, I was paired with Philip Tate. Tate is the Senior Vice President at Luquire George Andrews in Charlotte, North Carolina. He is also the Chair Elect for the PRSA College of Fellows, a member of the PRSA Board of Ethics and Professional Standards, a member of PRSA’s Nominating Committee, and Past President, Officer, Board Member and Committee Chair for Charlotte’s PRSA Chapter.
This twist of fate was most definitely a blessing. Throughout my 20 minute session, Tate and I discussed everything from interviewing tips to passions. We discussed my career path and how I can leverage my skills to become a successful public relations practitioner.
Overall, my mentor session with Tate was absolutely amazing! It not only prompted me focus on my future, but it showed me just how helpful mentors can be.
Throughout my time as a member of PRSSA, I have heard the phrases, “Find a mentor,” and “Be a mentor to others,” countless times. I knew mentorship was important, but it was not until my experience at the PRSSA National Conference that I realized just how critical mentorship can be.
In closing, I want to express my sincere gratitude to the PRSA College of Fellows for matching me with a mentor, as well as to Philip Tate for taking the time to sit and chat with me.
My experience at the PRSSA National Conference enhanced my view of mentorship. I hope, after reading this, it enhanced yours as well. Now when you hear the phrases “Find a mentor,” and “Be a mentor to others,” maybe they will mean just a little bit more.
Megan Bayles is a current senior at Waynesburg University where she majors in Public Relations and minors in Marketing. Megan serves as our PRSSA Chapter president and is involved in many other campus activities.