The Importance of Mentorship in Public Relations

The PR industry is full of mentors and mentees at every level of their careers, which is one of the many reasons I love this industry. Personally, when I was at Grand Valley State University, I had a wonderful mentor, Adrienne Wallace. At the time, she was the professional advisor to GVSU’s PRSSA chapter. She was and still is a wonderful person to learn from. I have treasured her insight at different points in my career. Plus, she’s a bada**.

I consider myself a mentor to several students and recent post-graduates in the PR field as well (pictured is my mentee Maddie Barnes – we’ve been collaborating for more than five years). Getting together to hear how their career is progressing, discussing challenges they’re facing and more is something I truly enjoy. I also co-lead Franco’s internship program, in which we take one-to-three students per semester to help us on all our accounts – B2B, B2C and nonprofit alike. (Think: writing, media relations, social media monitoring and reports: oh my!) It’s fulfilling and inspiring to oversee an interns’ progression throughout their time at the company and ensure an educational experience.

There is so much value in being a mentor – such as the following (just to name a few!)

• Shaping the next generation of PR leaders. That’s what it’s all about after all, ensuring our industry is in the right hands with the ‘leaders of tomorrow.’

• Learning the latest-and-greatest technology and tools you may not have otherwise considered. I’m always learning from my mentees!

• Fresh thinking – students and new pros provide a new perspective. I particularly love their insight during new/potential client brainstorms.

• Communication skill strengthening – talking with someone who’s just starting out/exploring the industry is a practice in ACTIVE listening, empathizing and more. Good leaders need these skills!

If you’re interested in becoming a mentor or you’d like a mentor, please contact me today and I’d be happy to learn more about your interests and see if there’s anyone in our PRSA Detroit/metro PRSSA network that is a good fit.

Megan Bonelli (formerly Peterson) is a Senior Account Executive and Franco, and a Detroit PRSA board member/blog committee chair.