George Boulton, Senior Associate Director, Mediacom

Mentee and Mentor

I have 6 years’ experience in the advertising industry and have always been lucky enough to have a mentor. This has helped me navigate the media industry which is fast-moving, accelerating digitally and full of acronyms.

In the early years of my career, I focused my relationship with my mentor on getting a second opinion on projects and identify relevant resources to help me upskill and see the bigger picture to what I was doing. This opened me up to Google Firestarters industry talks, reading recommendations from Kahneman, Sutherland & Berger and unlocked new development opportunities across my agency. As I reached the end of the road at my first agency, building a foundation in cross-channel planning, I was then able to consult my mentor to help select my next agency & role to build my skillset. I secured a role at a leading agency on a client that allowed me to learn about a new sector (TV & Entertainment), having previously worked before on FMCG.

Experienced and trusted advisors with many years’ industry experience

From this point, I began to broaden my pool of mentors as I developed in my career. Some of my relationships with mentors developed organically from shared projects. After those projects concluded, some moved on, but we stayed in touch, and they gave me vital insight into my development areas having worked closely together. Others I approached proactively as they didn’t have the day-to-day knowledge of how I worked, but I understood that they’d bring value in other ways – mostly as experienced and trusted advisors with many more years’ industry experience.

From mentee to mentor

Over COVID, I was enrolled on a cross-WPP mentor scheme arranged by my agency. I was able to participate as a mentee & for the first time in my career, I felt I had experience to share as a mentor. I found this experience to be different, but equally as enriching. As a mentor you take on a coaching/advisory role which helped me develop a confidence to give advice and help guide junior talent in their careers. These conversations made me more comfortable & competent in my role as a manager within work and I have continued to mentor individuals I have worked with since then.

Questions to ask

I hope this article helps the reader develop awareness of the benefits of mentoring and supporting within our industry. If you think you’d benefit from becoming a mentor/or mentee these are some questions I have asked myself to make the most of these relationships. Within my current network, who do I have close relationships with and who do I feel I can learn the most from? Where are my knowledge gaps and who could I form a relationship to help me learn & develop to address these? When selecting a mentor/mentee, will there be value in the familiar or would it be better for me to form a relationship with someone with a different background or skill set than me? How much time do I have to explore this relationship and what do I offer to make this a fulfilling relationship for my mentor/mentee?

Last updated 07 December 2023