Building Strong Relationships to Advance Careers

mentor program icons


The Mentor Program is part of the AMADC’s mission to provide career resources and programs to marketing professionals throughout the region. The program is also intended to act as a gateway to connecting marketers across industries, which is also an integral part of AMADC’s mission of “Marketers Helping Marketers.”

The AMADC has had a long commitment to mentoring with 10 years of running mentor programming. In 2007 the program was a 4-week program that met in April at Google DC. Fast forward to today, and the program meets for 9-months from October-June at General Assembly. The program still includes activities and speakers, much like it did in the beginning. AMADC Board Member Karen Maria Alston actually joined the AMADC because she became a mentor with the program and remembers it was her first contact with AMADC. “I loved the program and enjoyed hearing from speakers and the activities with the mentees. It was a great program and solidified my commitment to AMA.”

The AMADC launched its 2016-2017 program in October 2016. It continues to focus on building careers and creating marketing leaders, but through a more flexible program that now runs to June 2017. “Our mentor program has a solid track record of developing careers and professional relationships, but we see this new format as better fitting the needs of participants and brings a level of networking to our program that we previously weren’t offering,” says Regan Lamb, President of AMADC.

Mentor Spotlight - Walter Pollard

Walter Pollard

Our Mentor Spotlight this month is Walter Pollard, President of Brand Fuzion, a strategic digital marketing and sales consultancy. Walter has always been fascinated by the strategic vision and process of developing brands. Prior to Brand Fuzion, he ran a full-service branding agency which coincided with the early ages of the Internet; he also served in a variety of sales management roles with marketing responsibility. Seeing a growing overlap between marketing and sales, Walter leveraged this insight into his current focus on marketing and sales alignment for his agency and B2B clients.

Walter’s commitment to mentoring stems from early in his career when he received guidance from the sales management team where he was working at the time. “Highly knowledgeable executives and managers freely shared their time and expertise on how to better work with prospects and to negotiate and close deals. I was really interested, so they were willing to spend their time with me. It really made the difference in my being successful.”

Walter enthusiastically supports the AMADC mentoring program, believing in the benefits of experienced marketers working with up-and-comers—for proteges, who benefit from the guidance, and for mentors, who get fulfillment from facilitating positive professional changes. Although this is his first year mentoring with AMADC, Walter is not new to mentoring; he actively provides community mentoring as the lead of the local Hubspot User Group. This penchant for mentoring spills over to Walter’s work; he’s taken a consultive “mentoring” approach with his client engagements.

Walter has seen that many companies falter because they don’t have clear goals in place. Taking a cue from this experience, Walter’s one piece of advice to proteges is, “Have a good launch point. Always focus on goals and objectives and never stop learning and growing within the dynamic fields of marketing and sales.”

Click here to view previous Mentor Spotlights!


Mentor Program Kick Off

Mentoring: What to Expect

by Linda Keller, Program Advisor

In October 2016, I had the pleasure of leading the training at the kick-off event for the AMADC Mentor Program. The program helps protege participants gain career guidance and insight and mentors to expand their network and to enhance their personal brand. It has attracted a motivated and professionally diverse group of professionals who are eager to help and to learn. Being a mentor or protege has its unique qualities, so it’s important to receive training prior to starting a mentor/protege relationship.  

During the event, the program participants learned how the program works and best practices for getting started. They also gathered in role-based groups to discuss and report on the qualities of an effective mentor partner. Mentors discussed the ideal protégé, and the protégés discussed the ideal mentor.

MENTORS — Their role and what protégés expect:

Mentors assist in career planning, give feedback on performance, boost self-esteem, facilitate networking, and help protégés design realistic goals.

The protégés described an ideal mentor as an experienced professional who:

  • Values regular contact and provides real-world insight 
  • Provides access to resources or further support
  • Listens actively to understand individual challenges 
  • Asks great questions to spur creative thinking/ideas 
  • Respects confidentiality and withholds judgement

PROTEGES — Their role and what mentors expect:

Protégés learn from a mentor's personal and professional experience, knowledge and skills. This one-on-one mentor relationship allows for individual attention to career aspirations, professional development and networking needs. Not only is it helping others, but mentors also help themselves by solidifying their expertise, expanding their network and enjoying the satisfaction of helping others. 

According to our mentors, ideal protégés are entry-level to experienced professionals who are:

  • Proactive and willing to try new approaches
  • Open to feedback
  • Clear about their goals and vision of success 
  • Make and keep commitments 

Expect the Best and Prepare for the Worst

As a final activity we addressed a topic that is the elephant in the room at every mentor kick-off event – potential problems with the partnership. After breaking into groups to brainstorm potential issues that could arise, we discussed which approaches and resources would be most effective for problem resolution. 

I left the event energized and excited for the participants. In my experience, mentor relationships help mentors and protégés expand their horizons both personally and professionally. 

Suggested Activities and Topics for Mentor Meetings

Each mentor-protege partnership is expected to meet once a month or according to an agreed-to plan. Often times these meetings can be around general planning and dealing with the protege’s current issues. However, sometimes thinking beyond someone'st worldview will help move them ahead. Some topics that will help drive this out-of-the box thinking are:

  • Networking Skills – Discuss the importance of and tips for networking.
  • Social Media and Technology – How does your company or industry use different tools?
  • Interview Skills and Strategies – Share tips and conduct a mock interview.
  • Personal Branding Review – Review a protégés resume and online profiles and provide suggestions to make them stronger.
  • Lunch with Professional Colleagues – Invite protégé to lunch with an industry colleague.
  • Informational Interviews or Job Shadowing – Introduce protégé to another colleague or set up a job shadowing date.

Program Leadership

For more information about the program, contact Angela Long, VP Mentor Program, at


The Mentor Program is sponsored by General Assembly, a pioneer in education and career transformation. “General Assembly is thrilled to support AMADC's mentor program and contribute to a growing community of marketing professionals in the DC area,” says Paul Gleger,  Senior Regional Director, East Coast. Since launching the DC campus in 2013, General Assembly has provided practical, skills-based learning opportunities for over 35,000 professionals in the DC area, ranging from events, workshops, part-time courses, and full-time programs. “As the marketers toolkit continues to evolve, we hope to be there as a resource for AMADC members throughout their careers, whether leveling up on the latest skills in Digital Marketing, Data Analytics, User Experience Design, or Web Development.  In line with GA's mission to empower people to pursue the work they love, we're excited to be part of the AMADC mentor program, that's focused on building relationships that foster sharing, learning, and career growth.”

General Assembly

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