WANTED: Better Mentors and Leaders

There was a quote in the July issue of Adweek that miraculously caught the 8-second attention span of my idealistic millennial eyes:

“If you are around smart, accomplished, generous, secure, innovative, kind, determined people, you will have a better shot of becoming these things yourself.”

Jacki Kelley, Adweek’s Woman Trailblazer and Chief Client Officer at Dentsu Aegis Network, shared this advice regarding the importance of being choosy with your potential work environments and to network with people who embody the aforementioned traits. This will allow one to stretch beyond what is considered possible and tap into a geyser of infinite learning opportunities. As a young person with an unwavering (and admittedly a tad bit unrealistic) vision for my future, these words resonated so powerfully with me.

A quick disclaimer: I understand that CEOs, managers, parents, camp counselors, supervisors, bosses, professors and any other type of leader in between, don’t have it easy! I’m assured the stress ball/ yoga industry is doing quite well with the amount of pressure these people endure. As followers, it is our responsibility to continue to respect our leaders and foster a healthy dynamic.

That being said, I did experience some surprisingly pleasant and refreshing culture shock when I began interning for Spitball Advertising. As any other job I had as a teenager, I expected to walk in and be told what to do, get reprimanded a few times, then go home drained. Instead, I was welcomed with a cornucopia of tools and guidance granted to me by mentors who were authentically excited to share their wealth of creativity. They embraced my curiosity for the world of advertising, encouraging me to view my aptitudes as a puzzle piece that I could learn to fit together into a bigger picture.

Not only did they provide projects that were relevant to my passion for copywriting, but they also involved me in client status meetings, internal project management regroups, I sat in on media planning sessions and I even helped map out social content calendars for internal efforts as well as assist in planning their Spitvitational client relations event. Being able to touch so many different areas of advertising, truly helped me understand better where my place could be in the world of advertising. And while they do not specialize in PR, they helped connect me to their freelancer who was able to guide me in writing my first press release. More often then none they asked my opinion and truly valued and reacted to the thoughts I had, making me feel empowered and as if I was truly contributing to something so big.

This was one of the first times I truly experienced leaders who viewed my output as valuable. My time at Spitball has motivated me to pursue future opportunities where I will be surrounded by, “smart, accomplished, generous, secure, innovative, kind, determined” mentors and leaders so that one day I can do the same. Because to me, that is what helps bring out the best work in anyone.