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Our mentors include a diverse range of experienced marketing professionals. We are thrilled that so many of DC’s best marketers participate in our program, and understand that mentoring matters. Below are spotlights of recent mentors from DC Marketer  Get to know us!


May Spotlight – Michelle Waldgeir

Michelle Waldgeir


Michelle started her marketing career in consumer products at P&G and Clorox. Her favorite role was launching the Clorox Disinfecting Wipes brand. She then shifted to healthcare at McKesson, where she led a $1 billion+ marketing and retail services business unit.

For the last decade, she has had the startup bug. She’s worked at a number of early stage firms but the one that really took off was Astrum Solar. Astrum grew from a handful of people to a $40 million company during her time as CMO. The rapid growth earned it the #2 spot on Inc’s Fastest Growing Co. List in 2012. It was later acquired by Direct Energy. She also leverages her deep expertise across the full marketing stack as a consultant with not-for-profits and other mission-driven organizations.  

AMADC:  What motivated you to start mentoring?
MW: I wanted to pay it forward. I’ve been lucky to have great mentors. They’ve taught me so much and influenced professional decisions big and small, including my choice to get into marketing in the first place. Early on, I went the big company route so I took being surrounded by lots of other marketers for granted. More recently, as a startup CMO and advisor to small and mid-sized organizations, I’ve realized how rare it is to have such easy access to more experienced marketers and diverse perspectives on a regular basis. 

AMADC:  Why did you choose to do it with Marketing Mentors Network? 
MW: This is my second go of it with AMADC. I really like the added structure and support they bring to mentoring. There is comfort in numbers. Both times they did a great job at matchmaking. They seem to ask the right questions and really listen to the answers when they are pairing people up. Plus, it’s fun to go through the program with a peer group. The networking events and group check-ins create additional momentum and an extra layer of accountability for all.

AMADC:  What are you getting out of mentoring?
MW: I’ve built relationships that likely never would have happened without these introductions. In terms of the 1:1 mentoring, I feel like I am getting as much or more out of the program as I am giving. My protégé stretches me to think about marketing topics and business situations in new ways. And, her energy and passion are contagious. I’m excited about her successes, and she inspires and motivates me to look at my own work challenges and potential future career steps with new eyes. 

AMADC:  What advice do you have for new marketers/proteges in your field? 
MW: Try to get the fundamentals down. At its core, marketing is about understanding customer needs and identifying opportunities to fill those needs efficiently. The fundamentals: analysis, then action, are the constants. What makes marketing so much fun is the continually changing business environment and the always evolving tool box you get to use to achieve your results. So, my advice is to make sure you are comfortable with the “whys” driving your work with any given strategy, tactic, channel, or technology. If you know the fundamentals of marketing, your options are almost limitless.   


April Spotlight – Elisa Bell

Elisa Bell

Customer Experience Director, North America

With 7+ years in marketing and brand management, Elisa has worked on campaigns for laundry stain remover, Brita and Glad Food products at The Clorox Company, as well as luxury clinical skin and hair care at Sephora. Her expertise is thinking of campaigns holistically, all the way through the customer’s experience with the product or service. With dynamically tolled (495 and 95) Express Lanes now here in the D.C. area, her current role with one of the world’s largest toll-road operators keeps her on her toes. 

AMADC: What attracted you to the marketing profession? What keeps you inspired?
EB: Before I went to business school, I worked at Blackboard. Marketing had a seat at the table in terms of helping make game-changing decisions impacting product strategy. I had never worked in a function that helped drive business strategy and I wanted that experience. What keeps me inspired are the many facets of marketing. For example, I’ve been learning graphic design to have the ability to bring marketing strategy to life creatively. The marketing field is changing so fast so there is always something new to learn.

AMADC: We noticed that you recently changed roles to “Customer Experience Director” at Transurban. Congratulations! How does CX differ from Marketing, and why the shift? 
EB: Like at most fast paced companies, roles can change and evolve.  This has certinaly been the case during my tenure at Transurban.  My team now shares leadership with our Operations function.  With that change, my team was being pulled into meaty projects that needed extreme focus on the impact to the customer experience.  While we still do marketing in the traditional sense, so much more of our responsibility centers around ensuring the customer is having the best experience possible.  From what I’ve seen, I feel the marketing function is shifting to be about customer experience.  It’s not enough to push out messaging, there needs to be engagement and focus on the customer lifecycle.  For example, I led the effort to refresh the Express Lanes brand –look and feel and tone of voice.  Not only did we completely redo the website but we rewrote the call scripts for the customer service center in the new tone of voice.  My team has also shifted our social media program to encompass social care.

AMADC: How long have you been a mentor with the Marketing Mentors Network?
EB: This is my first time being a mentor for AMADC.

AMADC: What made you decide to join the Marketing Mentors Network?
EB: I’ve been both mentee and mentor, informally, in the past. Being on both sides of the relationship, I have learned much about navigating corporate America, as well as being true to what gets me excited and piques my curiosity. I wanted to participate in a more structured way, with someone I didn’t know. It has been great!

AMADC: What have you learned from your time in the program?
EB: I’ve learned that you will always discover something new, whether you are a mentor or a mentee. Ingrid, my mentee, has taught me so much due to our different marketing journeys. 

AMADC: What is your favorite part about being a mentor?
EB: Being able to help someone discover the “right” answer or have an “aha” moment, as a result of sharing my experiences and mistakes that I’ve made along the way. 

AMADC: What would you say to others considering becoming a mentor?
EB: Do it! Marketing isn’t a structured career with defined career paths. We can learn from each other, but we have to be willing to share.

AMADC: What advice do you have for up-and-coming marketers in your field?
EB: Network, network, network! Marketing can be challenging in the D.C. area, depending on your focus. Hop on LinkedIn, go to networking events, talk to your family and friends. Reach out to people and just offer to take them to coffee to learn about what they do. Most people will jump at the chance to meet someone new and tell their story.

Learn more about Elisa here


February Spotlight – Brandy Pan

Brandy Pan

Marketing Specialist
American Physical Therapy Association (APTA)

From the beginning of her career, Brandy Pan didn’t think she would do anything except marketing. However, her path wasn’t exactly a straight line. She was a business major in her second year at George Mason University when she quickly realized that the only classes that she really liked were the principles of marketing and consumer marketing. It was marketing’s combination of art and science, right and left-brain that matched Brandy’s creative, strategic, but “I also like numbers” mindset. 

Despite the early calling, Brandy’s first job was in business development in B2B telemarketing, B2B “cold call” marketing, as Brandy fondly describes it. What a sales person might find as a standard part of their job, Brandy found a grinding existence. It further reinforced her interest in marketing, and she gradually shifted into marketing management roles where she developed and implemented marketing strategies, including live events, lead gen programs and webinars. Happy at last!

In addition to the hospitality industry, Brandi has spent time honing her craft in non-profits and associations. One of her most favorite brands is Doubletree hotels which really focused on the front-end customer experience. And who doesn’t know their brand signature, the chocolate chip cookie? 

What attracted you to the marketing profession? What keeps you inspired?

I am passionate about marketing strategy and promoting products and services. I love that marketing is always evolving, but the fundamentals of success stay the same. Even though we are living in a very different world than when I started in the late ’90;s, the stuff that I learned in college is all utilized a lot. The channels may change, but the fundamentals of success stay the same; I have found that if you step outside the stuff that works and you get into what’s trending, it doesn’t always last. You’d think that direct mail is dead, but the strategies that use to work, still work. 

I’m now in a marketing role in a healthcare organization that uses a lot of everything that I’ve done, including marketing plans, content marketing, copywriting, management, events for thousands of attendees and evergreen events, to name a few.

I stay inspired by the fluidity of marketing, but also by the stability of it. On the surface, it looks like social media changed everything, but you still need to think about the audience, the CTA and the offer.

How long have you been a mentor with the Marketing Mentors Network? What made you decide to join?

I’ve been a mentor since 2018. I love it. I love people, I love marketing, I like helping others, which is perfect for mentoring. It’s an opportunity to share my 20+ years of experience across many industries. 

I’ve done year-long programs, and I like the length of the Marketing Mentors Network because it gives you an opportunity to go deeper, to build a relationship. I like to catch up with people. 

What have you learned from your time in the program? What is your favorite part about being a mentor?

I’ve learned that collaboration is key to growth. There is always someone who can learn from you and your experiences. The best advice is given with a caring heart.

I feel good about helping others grow, and I enjoy giving back for all the help I’ve gotten along the way. I am also learning from collaboration with other mentors in the program. 

What would you say to others who are considering becoming a mentor?

It’s a great way to grow, and if you genuinely want to help others grow, it’s a win-win.

What advice do you have for up-and-coming marketers in your field?
Be open and authentic about your needs, so you get the most out of your time with your mentor. The more detailed your questions are, the better the answers will be for your specific situation. Also, there are no dumb questions. Seriously, ask away. That’s the only way you will find out the answers to those questions. A mentor is a “safe place.”



January Spotlight – Jim Marks

Jim Marks

Sr. Market Research Manager
Kaiser Foundation Health Plan

Jim has been doing market research for 20 years, working in direct response fundraising and entertainment before his current role in health care and health insurance. This has given him in-depth experience in everything from predictive analytics and big data, to pricing and merchandising, and to usability and user-experience innovation.

What attracted you to the marketing profession? What keeps you inspired?   

Three things:

  1. A relentless focus on people: What are they thinking? What are they doing?
  2. An endless supply of puzzles: What happens if something changes? How will people make sense of that?
  3. The opportunity to make practical improvements in people’s lives: Translating understanding into action.

How long have you been an AMADC Mentor?    

Two years. It’s been a fantastic experience.

What made you decide to join the AMADC Mentor Program? 

I saw a chance to help others, and to learn from them, too. It was a chance to make a positive impact on someone else’s professional life as well.

What have you learned from your time in the Mentor Program?         

People are smart, generous and resourceful. It is fun to see less-experienced marketers expand their skill sets and grow professionally.

What is your favorite part of being an AMADC Mentor?          

Sharing what I’ve learned throughout my career, and seeing things from someone else’s fresh perspective.

What would you say to others considering becoming a mentor?

Go for it! You’ll be glad you did.

What advice do you have for up-and-coming members of your field?

Enjoy the journey as well as the rewards. The various disciplines of marketing are constantly evolving, and new opportunities to learn and grow are emerging every day.


November Spotlight – Holli Beckman 

Holli Bechman

VP Marketing and Leasing Operations
WC Smith

Holli Beckman is one of those marketers you want on your team. Not only does she have a solid digital marketing toolset to tap into, but she is a strong supporter of brand and an “always ready” team player.

Tell us about your professional background.

I have ten years of marketing experience specifically for the multifamily real estate industry.  My passion lies in the strategic planning of campaigns and in dissecting the customer journey.  I recently led a push to get the industry CRM software for the property management industry to develop multi-attribution reporting.  It was something our industry was missing. Lack of this data was holding back a lot of companies from making truly informed decisions about their marketing and advertising spends. After writing and speaking about the topic and gaining support from industry peers, I worked with the software companies to create the reporting.

What attracted you to marketing? What keeps you inspired?

Marketing at its core is just the act of changing a buyer’s behavior.  It’s a puzzle and all about strategy.  The problem solver in me loves that constant challenge.  In recent years, we have been gaining so much more insight and data into what the buyer’s journey looks like, and that information is pushing me to change the way we approach our marketing.  

How long have you been a mentor in the Marketing Mentors Network?

Four years.

What made you decide to join the Marketing Mentors Network?

I was looking for a way to get more involved with AMADC.  The Marketing Mentors Network seemed like the perfect opportunityto not only give back, but also to network.

Early on in my career, my company did not have a marketing department.  I had no one to look to for guidance or to bounce thoughts off of.  I recognized that might be the case for a lot of marketers.  The mentor program provides that space to brainstorm or geek out with someone who understands your passion.

What (if anything) have you learned from your time in the Marketing Mentors Network?

I am inspired by the energy and ambition of the protégés in the program and find myself learning just as much as I’m {hopefully} inspiring others.

What would you say to others considering becoming a mentor?

Being a mentor is hands down the most rewarding volunteer work I’ve done.  You can see the results and growth throughout the six months as your protégé developsand accomplishes their goals.  You know and see that you contributed to someone else’s success.

What advice do you have for up-and-coming marketers?

Find a peer that challenges you and reads data in a completely different way than you.  You will gain different perspectives and learn how to defend your conclusions. 


April Spotlight – Patrick King

Patrick King

Founder, CEO
Imagine, Inc.

A self-starter from the get-go, Patrick King moved to the D.C. area in 2002 and launched his own firm six months after his arrival. Fifteen years later, Imagine, Inc., a digital advertising and marketing agency, is thriving. His interest in drawing, design and creative arts began early. “My family,” he says, “noticed I was pretty good at drawing, and friends and family asked me to do design projects.” Once in college, fascinated by the impact of design and copy on consumer behavior, he pursued marketing studies.  

Your family was a big influence on your career choices, it seems.

Well, yes – their encouragement helped give me the confidence in my abilities to pursue my interests in design and creative arts. And I moved to the D.C. area a few years after college at my brother’s prompting. Six months later, I’d started my own business. It’s going strong today as a result of hard work and help from some amazing people.

What spurred you to apply to AMADC’s Mentor Program?

As an agency owner, I’m mentoring every day! However, I’ve also participated in two programs prior to this. Both were similar in structure to the AMADC’s. One was with the local chamber of commerce in Prince William County, VA and the second was with Society for Marketing Professional Services. I heard about AMADC’s program, and, as a new member of the organization, decided to apply. Mentoring is as much a learning experience for the mentor as it is for the protégé. Each time I mentor, I learn about the challenges people face; today, those challenges are very different from the ones I encountered early on. There was, for instance, no social media, no mobile marketing. To see how people who are newer to the industry navigate the online landscape is a big learning experience for me.

What do you do to prepare to mentor?

Really, there are two important elements to being a mentor. First is availability. You’ve got to be sure you’ve got the time to focus and give the protégé the attention that’s needed to make the relationship successful. The second is to understand how to guide, rather than instruct or give answers. I think of guiding as the ability to help a protégé arrive at conclusions and develop ideas. If a protégé can reach decisions on his or her own, with my help, I think that’ll have a greater long-term impact, and give them the confidence to manage future challenges after the mentor program is over.

As a third-time mentor – though new to AMADC’s program –  any surprises from this experience?

Probably the level of support offered to mentors. AMADC’s program is designed to develop and add value to the mentors as much as to those being mentored. The events that the program offers along the way have helped me refine my approach to mentorship, learn more about my leadership style, and hear from other mentors about their areas of expertise and challenges.

What advice would you give to protégés who might be considering this program? For would-be mentors?  
To protégés, I say, take advantage of this! A mentor who has made the effort to sign up has done so because he or she genuinely wants to help, so don’t be shy! Spend time with them, ask questions, and the change from going through this will help you in the years ahead. For prospective mentors, I say if you have the time to commit, do it! It is as much a valuable learning experience for you as it is for the protégé!

One word — verb, noun, adjective, adverb — that describes a Mentor’s role. A compass. While it is up to the protégé to make the journey and take the steps, the mentor provides the sense of direction and guidance.

March Spotlight – Wendy Price

Wendy Price

WHP Research, Inc.

Some people dabble in different disciplines before discovering their passion. Not Wendy Price. She fell for marketing research while in high school, conducting door-to-door and telephone interviews, and recruiting for and overseeing focus groups. After starting her career in Chicago at Elrick & Lavidge, she shifted to client-side qualitative and quantitative research, first in Minneapolis and then D.C., before opening her own firm in 2002. An AMA member for over 30 years, Wendy is also a longtime mentor, dedicated to imbuing up-and-comers with an appreciation for her field while also learning from them.

You are a devotee not only of marketing research, but also of the AMA! Please tell us how you got involved in the AMA and why you’ve stayed.

Elrick & Lavidge (now part of Kantar TNS), my first research employer after undergrad, was a supporter of the AMA. Participating in AMA was part of E&L’s culture. I joined then, and continued as an AMA member throughout graduate school and when I moved to Minneapolis to work for General Mills. At that point I started mentoring, by helping new graduates with interviewing skills and job searches. I continued as an AMA member when I moved to the D.C. area for a new research position at Marriott International. I’ve remained a member of AMA for several decades to stay connected to other marketers and to keep abreast of marketing trends.

What is mentoring’s draw for you? Early on, I began mentoring as a way to get involved in the community. Later on, it also was the opportunity to build my network and give back, by helping others with professional development. Now it is simply a part of what I do—not only with the AMA, but also with my alma mater, University of Georgia’s Master of Marketing Research (MMR) program. I find it a truly rewarding activity, because while I’m helping others, I’m also quite honestly helping myself, too. I’m developing connections, and I’m learning new information, both practical via other AMA mentors, and academic, thanks to UGA.

Interesting! Would you share with us an example of a trend that you became aware of, thanks to mentoring?

Well, the topic of archetypes related to brand building—whether a personal brand or a client brand—has come up several times in the past six months. The AMADC Mentor Program hosted an expert who spoke about developing one’s personal brand using archetypes, and this fall, the use of archetypes in marketing research was a discussion topic at the University of Georgia’s MMR Summit. My engagement helps me stay current and helps me better envision the future of my field.

Any advice for protégés in your field?

Ask questions, listen attentively, ask more questions. Be present, be open to new ideas, and look for the insights. Get to know other marketing researchers. It is an industry with about two-degrees of separation.

One word – verb, noun, adjective, adverb – that describes a Mentor’s role? Guide

February Spotlight – Alex Herder

David Hazelton

President & Creative Director
The Duke & the Duck

Alex Herder, a longstanding AMADC member applied to the Mentor Program last fall to get more involved with the region’s marketing community in a “well-defined way with a clear definition of goals,” he says. He cofounded The Duke & the Duck, a D.C.-based motion graphics and animation studio in 2009, after nearly two years as marketing manager at Voxiva, a startup healthcare technology firm. Entrepreneurialism, he says, runs in his family: his brother, his uncle, and two great-grandparents were self-employed or company founders. Here, Herder explains the how-and-why of his involvement with AMADC’s Mentor Program.

Wow! You are a busy guy: president and creative director of a nine-year-old company, with two children! What motivated you to apply for AMADC’s Mentor Program? I’ve been an AMADC member for many years, and wanted to become more involved with the region’s marketing community. When I read the Mentor Program e-mail, I saw it as an opportunity to give back in a clearly defined way.

Why focus on mentoring? Although this is my first formal mentor relationship, I view guiding and counseling my staff as a primary role in my company. We’re young and growing, so helping employees explore and build skills is important. I try to read up on these issues, and we hold regular coaching sessions, for instance. AMADC’s program offers a great learning experience.

How have you prepared to be a mentor? In addition to drawing on what I’ve learned from leading my staff, I’ve also copied the approach used with my own advisors: I ask questions and listen, and (hopefully) help my protégé see that he has the answers to his own questions. Even though I’ve not had a formal mentor, so to speak, I do have a couple of people I trust and turn to on occasion for counsel. I go to them with questions, and through talking with them, work through finding a solution. They are my sounding boards. I’ve found that what I really needed in many situations was permission to follow my own instincts.

Advice for would-be protégés? Keep asking! Mentors might be busy people, but if they’ve agreed to be involved, they’ll make time for you. Waiting for permission or to share an update means you are leaving valuable insight on the table. 

One word — verb, noun, adjective, adverb — that describes a Mentor’s role: reflection. 

January Spotlight – David Hazelton

Design Director, ProShares

David Hazelton

Fresh from earning a Master’s degree in integrated Marketing Communications, while investigating volunteer opportunities last fall, design director David Hazelton came upon the AMADC Mentor Program. Attracted to the program because of its structure and the resources provided to participants, he applied as a Mentor for the 2017-2018 class. Since October, he’s applied know-how gained from three decades in design, creative direction and branding to mentoring.

This is your first experience in a formal mentor program. Tell us what you’ve learned so far. I’ve been pleased by the sense of accomplishment I feel when my protégé succeeds. This experience reminds me to keep an open mind, and take a less jaded view of workplace interactions.

You are new to mentoring. Tell us how you’ve approached your role. Yes, this is my first formal mentoring experience. Although I’ve never had a formal mentor, I’ve been lucky in working for a series of good bosses—each of them helped me by giving me opportunities to do things I didn’t know I was capable of doing. And they also taught me the value of listening, actively.

What is active listening and why is it important? Well, in the context of my marketing career, these bosses showed me the importance of paying attention to clients: not just to hear their words, but consider the context of the message, and be responsive. That ability to help clients and meet their needs is important to career success—just as much as building a great creative portfolio and winning awards.

What advice would you offer to potential mentors? Don’t underestimate the value of your experience to a younger person. So often people think they’ve got to be a rock star, of sorts, to have value as a mentor. Often, however, what people need help with is the more mundane: guiding a new manager, for instance, on giving productive feedback, or managing a team effectively.

One word – verb, noun, adjective, adverb – to describe a mentor’s role: Listen!

December Spotlight – Julia Wilton

Principal/Founder, Maple Leaf Consulting

Hunter Montgomery

Now in her second year as a mentor in AMADC’s Mentor Program, corporate marketer and entrepreneur Julia Wilton is an ardent believer in the impact of a mentor, whether the relationship is formal—one that develops from a structured program—or organic, grown out of daily interaction.

What motivated you to participate in AMADC’s Mentor Program? I believe that even the most talented people can benefit from guidance and coaching. In my own career, I benefited from generous mentors and leaders, and believe that it is important to take what I’ve learned from them, couple it with the insights gleaned from my own experience, and give back.

How have mentors shaped your career? Mentors, in my experience, come in many shapes and sizes: sometimes, a mentor can be a friend or a close colleague; other times, a more senior colleague can provide advice and direction. For me, the most valuable career direction came early, from my father. I had a tough boss, and I learned from my Dad how to navigate truly difficult relationships through effective communication. He taught me how to write for business, and how to nurture and manage a team. A few years later, a senior colleague became a mentor to me in a very organic way; he encouraged my development into a marketing executive, and generously helped by providing guidance on how to manage executive leadership expectations. Even though we are no longer in the same company, I still turn to him for advice. And a third, very important person became a mentor at a crucial point in my career. I needed a confidence boost; she believed in me. That support sustained me through a difficult time both personally and professionally. So, having had those experiences I know the potential of strong mentor relationships.

What’s your mentoring style? I listen. I work to understand their angst. I’m also open and direct. But I don’t push anyone beyond his or her limits. I believe that a mentor’s role is to help a protégé figure out, through guiding and showing – maybe, a little pushing – what they do know. I’ve found that people often aren’t aware of what they can achieve unless they’re given the opportunity to try. Now, for a protégé, having a mentor might be a bit nerve-racking or unsettling. A protégé should embrace the process and view it as an opportunity, realizing that his or her mentor may see something in them that he or she isn’t aware of.

November Spotlight – Beth Hampton

Vice President, Marketing and Communications, American Association for Clinical Chemistry (AACC)

Hunter Montgomery

Beth Hampton’s motivation to be a mentor is personal: her own mentors were powerful, positive career influences early on. Now a three-time participant in AMADC’s mentor program, including the 2016-2017 session, Beth is a believer – not only in the impact mentoring can have on a protégé, but also in the benefits derived from being a mentor. “As someone who is not a Millennial,” she says, “I’ve gained really helpful insights about the culture and attitudes of this group that I’ve applied to working with my Millennial colleagues and stakeholders.” Here, the VP, Marketing and Communications at the American Association for Clinical Chemistry (AACC), explains how her first mentors shaped her, and the lessons gleaned from her own experience in mentoring others. 

What actions did your first mentors take that proved to be so valuable for you? They pushed me to do things on the job that took me outside of my comfort zone. Years later, I now recognize how doing so presented me with opportunities, even if I didn’t know it at the time! And they also made sure to give me a soft landing, so that if I made a mistake I was not devastated and could learn. So, for example, my boss at Boston University Law School, where I worked just out of college, regularly assigned me to meet with higher-level colleagues including department heads and senior faculty. At the start of every day, she’d ask to see what I was wearing. If my outfit was too informal for the meetings scheduled for me that day, she would send me home. That might seem nit-picky, but she wanted me to succeed in an environment where appearances mattered in order to be taken seriously. Over time, I got a lot of responsibility at a very young age. A later mentor assigned me projects that were a bit beyond my experience, so I had to stretch. When I met goals, I saw how he’d believed in me, which helped to build my confidence.

Tell me about a lesson or insight you’ve learned from being a mentor, and how you’ve applied that to your career? From mentoring young adults in their first few jobs, I realize the importance of helping them understand how they can make an impact in their workplace. Being junior on a staff does not equal being ineffective. Conversations with my Millennial protégés have led me to change how I communicate with my younger staff: I strive to explain the context of an initiative, to help them understand the ‘why,’ the meaning of a project or activity. I want to engage them!

As a three-time participant in AMADC’s Mentor Program, what one piece of advice would you give to prospective mentors? I always ask myself whether I can commit the time. If I can, I mentor. If I can’t, I wait until I have the time. Once I commit, I try to increase the odds of success by taking a bit of time before each meeting or engagement. I figure out: what is my protégé’s priority today? What does he or she want to take away? Is it a specific action, or does she/he need to talk it through? Finally, it’s important to be flexible. Sometimes a new goal will surface that’s even more meaningful than the original goal.

September Spotlight – Mark DeVito & Stuart Granger

Hunter Montgomery

Mark Devito credits a handful of mentors with giving him valuable opportunities that have shaped his varied, multi-disciplinary marketing career. After helping, in 1999, bring to life ZDTV (which eventually became TechTV), a San Francisco-based, international 24-hour television network backed by publishing-and-internet company Ziff-Davis, Devito made his way to D.C. Introduced to many well-known and influential political strategists, he forged relationships that got him hooked on political marketing. Several years in, Devito met pollster-turned advertising-and-PR investor Mark Penn, who eventually hired him into the agency world with the launch of Proof Communications (a unit of WPP Group’s global PR network Burson Marsteller). An AMADC board member and head of his own brand strategy shop, The Gigawatt Group, here Devito and Stuart Granger, Gigawatt’s Director of Content Marketing — both mentors in the 2016-17 Mentor Program — discuss their experience.

Why did you sign up as a Mentor? Mark: Two reasons. Some really great people have helped me at times. Now, when I look back at it, I realize the impact of their input and direction. They encouraged me and prodded me; because of them, I was able to envision a path and understand what was possible. Second, I come from a family of teachers, and I’ve taught classes as an adjunct professor. I love it; to me, mentoring is teaching. Stuart: Mark encouraged me to join. At first, I didn’t view myself as a mentor, but once I gave it some thought, I realized I do have a lot of experience; I’ve transitioned from different disciplines – back in London, I started as an account manager in PR, moved on to experiential marketing and live event production, then into brand development before coming to the U.S.  Here, I’ve segued into content marketing, responsible for creating work rather than directing accounts. I figured that my breadth of experience might offer a wider field of vision to a protégé.

What advice would you give to an aspiring Mentor Program protégé? Mark: One piece of advice that I give to anyone – not just protégés – is, “Be opportunistic.” That means don’t over analyze before trying something new. Of course, weigh the pros and cons, but don’t let the possibility of a disappointment, or less-than-stellar experience, keep you from trying. My specific advice for a Mentor Program protégé: be clear on your goals, and don’t be shy about communicating those goals to your mentor. Once you’ve done that, in partnership with your mentor, create a roadmap to achieve those goals. Stuart: My recommendation: set clear ground rules with your mentor at the start of the program. Agree on the channel you’ll use – email, phone, text – and how often. Once weekly? Is a follow up nudge OK? Like Mark, I believe that protégés really need to know what they want to achieve.

Proteges are the relationship leads in the The AMADC Mentor Program; protégés are responsible for managing the process, from establishing meeting agendas to tracking progress toward the goal. What qualities help Proteges succeed? Stuart: Enthusiasm for the task at hand, of course. That’s contagious. Come to your meetings prepared, with an agenda. Be clear on what you want your mentor to address. Mark:  Focus. Results-oriented. Respect for your mentor’s time.

Having been a Program Mentor, what should a prospective Mentor know? Stuart: You won’t have all the answers, and you aren’t expected to have them. Rather, you need to understand what makes your protégé tick, and what information and resources you can offer or help them find to reach the goal you’ve both set. Mark: A mentor is a teacher. Your role is to help your protégé envision a possibility, then figure out a way to reach it.

June Spotlight – Hunter Montgomery

Hunter Montgomery

The search for fresh, career enhancing experiences threads through Hunter Montgomery’s resume. Early jobs included herding cattle on a working ranch in Wyoming and running the first distribution center for Nantucket Nectars at a crucial time in the beverage company’s growth. Focused on marketing after getting his MBA at UT Austin, Montgomery continued to explore, building category expertise at companies in various growth phases, from start-up and turnaround to growth. As CMO of business-to-business software provider Higher Logic since 2013, his desire for exploration led him to sign up for AMADC’s 2016-2017 Mentor Program.

“I wanted to connect with younger marketers to understand more of what they’re learning,” he explains. “I’ve been in marketing several decades now, and I approach this discipline in a certain way. But there are many possible strategies and tactics to take, so I figured that mentoring could be a way to explore and learn.”

What did you gain from being a mentor? My protégé is employed at a huge, big-brand name company in business to consumer marketing. My background is largely business-to-business tech at mid-size firms or start-ups. Really, just by listening to him, asking questions and hearing about his experiences, I gained knowledge of the issues that come with working in the marketing group of a significantly bigger corporation. I started the relationship focused on my mentee, with his needs as the priority. In looking for ways to help him, I realized that much of a mentor’s value comes from his or her experience, and from being willing and able to give a younger person insight and lessons learned.

Tell us more about what you gave to your mentee. I have to tell you: my mentee was great! He reached out; he was proactive. He explained the career help that he wanted, and came to our meetings with specific questions, like, “How can I help my boss better? How should I approach this?” Although I wasn’t able to provide specific advice for every situation, I did help him understand the bigger context, the pressures and concerns that his superiors likely deal with, and then make suggestions. For instance, if the advice is to “Know your numbers,” I also explained why that’s so important. I did my best to offer appropriate insight and advice. And if I wasn’t sure, or felt I didn’t know enough, I said so.

Tips for other would-be Mentors? Being a mentor is a lot about helping someone else, and learning through them and from them. At the program’s start, I didn’t know what part of my career experience would be most valuable to my protégé. Having completed the program, I can say that I’d do it again. I value the experience. It was a great way to gain insight into marketing from the perspective of the next generation and it is a lot easier than roping cattle! 

May Spotlight – Angela Hausman

Angela Hausman

This month’s Mentor Spotlight features Angela Hausman, Ph.D., university professor and owner of Hausman & Associates, LLC, and offers her perspective on mentoring, and why it matters.

Hi there! I’m Angela Hausman—you can call me Angie—and a mentor in the current AMADC Mentor Program. I own a consulting business, Hausman & Associates, LLC, and teach at the University of Maryland and George Washington University. I’m sort of a unicorn because I have both academic training—I taught full time for 18 years and hold a Ph.D. in marketing from the University of South Florida—and experience with businesses, including serving as CMO for a tech startup that launched in 2014. When that business encountered cash flow problems late last year, I returned to teaching. Both my research and management experience focus on data-driven marketing decision-making, especially within digital markets.

This is my second time serving as a mentor in AMADC’s mentor program, although you could argue that my entire career has involved mentoring students. I truly enjoy watching protégés master new skills and apply those skills to push their career in the direction they’ve chosen. I still see my former protégé from time to time and find our relationship very rewarding. I think spending almost a year working with a protégé allows time to both build a personal relationship and to help the protégé apply new skills along their career path.

I strongly recommend the AMADC mentoring program to both aspiring protégés and prospecting mentors. It does take time, but I think you’ll find the time very well spent.

April Spotlight – Carol Shottes

Carol Shottes

This month’s Mentor Spotlight features Carol Shottes, senior marketing manager with Tata Communications (Americas) Inc. Carol is a B2B technology solutions strategist and marketer who has worked for Fortune 50 brands like HP and Cisco. What makes Carol unique is that she was a marketing major in college who spent the first half of her career in sales operations, business development and sales. Her marketing career didn’t begin until 15 years after college, however, when her position at the time become a hybrid of sales & marketing. Carol credits her background in sales with making her a better marketing strategist and manager.

Carol started mentoring with AMADC in 2006, soon after she relocated from Colorado. At the time, the mentor program was a 4-week long program that featured guest speakers each week. It allowed Carol to be active in the local chapter and because it was a time-limited commitment, it blended well with her busy travel schedule. Since joining, Carol has enjoyed participating in the program and watching it evolve. “It is the one program where I have experienced continuous improvement in the format, content and a strong commitment from the local chapter leadership.”

One of the reasons Carol mentors is because she’s had some good mentors throughout her career. “I honor those mentors by giving back to the next generation of marketers.” It’s not a one-way street, however. Carol has also learned a lot from her protégés and from the mentor program events, such as the “Experts Among Us,” the mentor program event held in January which featured the expertise of the mentors participating in the program. Best of all, several of her protégés keep in touch on a regular basis. “They know that no matter how much time has elapsed, they can always reach out to me to help them work through a challenge or opportunity.”

Carol’s advice for protégés is to approach mentorship as if building a board of directors for a company. “With mentors, you are building the board of directors for your career. Always be looking for new mentors, and seek out diversity, as this will help you grow professionally. Some of my best mentors have been business peers.”

Carol’s life philosophy is summed up in her favorite quote by the author and literary critic Henry James (15 April 1843 – 2 February 1916). It underpins everything she does:

“Three things in human life are important. The first is to be kind. The second is to be kind. And the third is to be kind.”

March 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.”

February Spotlight – Cathy Johnson

Cathy Johnson

Cathy Johnson is Senior Director, Marketing at Stroz Friedberg, an Aon Company. Cathy actually started her career in broadcasting as an on-air personality and production director in Florida. Part of her role required her to write and produce commercials for concerts at Walt Disney World and Universal Studios, which got her interested in the concerts that she was promoting and why some were more successful than others (hint: wasn’t always the concert). Cathy pivoted to marketing in 2001, and started to work in business-to-business professional services marketing, specifically in the field of risk management. Originally meant to be a temp role, Cathy found the business fascinating and the people nice, so she ended up staying. Wanting to get more involved in the customer experience side of brands, Cathy has spent the last 15+ years focused on managing events, content and digital marketing. Last month Cathy earned a Certificate in Digital Marketing from Georgetown University’s Center for Continuing & Professional Education (CCPE) and, as of January 1st, also heads up her firm’s digital marketing initiatives.

The AMADC Mentor Program is Cathy’s first time mentoring. She was motivated to join the program because in most of her roles, she has been a manager with direct reports: “My favorite aspect of working in marketing has been guiding and teaching my team members to help them not only in their current roles but also to prepare for future roles.” Cathy has had the opportunity to really get to know her protégé and exchange ideas with her, and finds meeting the other mentors in the program extremely valuable from a networking perspective. Overall, Cathy finds the AMADC Mentor Program very gratifying, noting “Any program that can help me venture outside of my own work bubble is beneficial to me.”

When it comes to sharing advice for protégés, or anyone interested in marketing, Cathy recommends that you “Fully understand what your goal is before embarking on a marketing initiative. Often we jump directly to the creative, but going through the process of setting goals and mapping out a campaign helps you think differently and creates more effective campaigns. It also connects you to your work on a deeper level and serves to motivate you to succeed.”

January Spotlight – Joe Donnelly

Joe Donnelly

The Mentor Program has all the right ingredients to be a success, but what really makes the difference is its participants. We have been lucky to have some very talented marketing professionals volunteer their time to the program. One of our mentors we would like to highlight is Joe Donnelly, Senior Strategist at The Brand Consultancy. Joe started his career as a Marine Corps officer and transitioned into professional services as his first job after the Marines, doing market research. He earned his MBA specifically to have access to management consulting recruiting, and joined Deloitte’s strategy practice focusing on sales and marketing. Not uncommon, Joe tired of the travel schedule with strategy consulting and moved into Deloitte’s Brand team where he really honed his knowledge of brand strategy. Just recently, Joe decided to go back to client service with a boutique brand consulting firm and he is really enjoying it!