Design Director, ProShares
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!