One of the roles that we have as professionals and scholars in public relations is to be a source of information for not only the field and in research, but also in academic activities. Mentoring is one thing that I feel is absolutely important for students to learn not only what they need to do in the classroom, going for an internship, how to manage their online presence, etc. I have been active in mentoring for both my undergraduate and graduate students – it has been very rewarding for me to help others out and learn from them as well. It is also an opportunity to share with them stories and best practices based on your experience. Social media has been a great tool to share these perspectives and thoughts with fellow students, colleagues, and professionals. In many ways, it is the way that people are sharing and discussing these issues with each other. Social media – as it is discussed throughout PR – involves many different sites like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Blogs, and others to name a few.
There are many recommendations and suggestions related to mentoring, but here are a few that I have learned from my experiences that have worked for me.
- Knowledge sharing is a two-way street: Mentoring and reverse mentoring is also key to remember – you can learn something from anyone, and it is all about synthesizing the material to create a comprehensive view of what is going on in the field based on these various insights and experiences.
- Networking, networking, and networking!: Establishing connections through events, conferences, presentations, and other events is absolutely important. You never know who you may meet and who is interested in your work or expertise.
- Take every opportunity to establish yourself in the field: Whether it is about teaching a specific class or participating in a research project or consulting with a specific organization – the thing that I try to tell my students is to make sure to seize opportunities as they come by. Working hard and strategically will help do this, and I try to share this with my students both at the graduate and undergraduate level.
- Paying it forward: One thing that I tell students and others that when it comes to knowledge and sharing your insights – it is about paying it forward. There are some things that I have learned from my experiences in school, track. research, and teaching that I share with my students, but I encourage them to also think about their role as a mentor, and what they can do to pay it forward.
In summary, mentoring is key and there have been several people in my life that I do consider to be my mentors in school, track, and life – and I have tried to follow in their footsteps in bringing this to the PR profession both in research and practice. Mentoring and helping others is very rewarding and it is something that I will want to continue in the future.
Hope you all are having a wonderful day!