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Mentoring… Be a Mentor, Get a Mentor or More

By: Jaime Theresa Smith, CMP | May 1, 2019

I officially became a mentor through the FICP Mentorship Program back in 2014 and have been one every year since. In this capacity, it’s a matter of working with new hospitality members interested in having a mentor to learn more about the association and creating a relationship for them to lean on when in need or when they have questions. The program itself is guided and run so well by the experts at FICP, that it was a no brainer for me.

I’m one to help, connect and assist people in every aspect of life however I may. It brings me joy and I serve them in a way I know how, and truth be told, I end up learning as well. So why wouldn’t I add to that list by being a PCMA ambassador at their annual Convening Leaders? Well I did, and I do because it helps first-timers learn the ropes of a very large convention that they might otherwise be lost in navigating.

Continuing down that path, I join in on the MPI Indiana Chapter level of mentoring new members. What better way for me to share my passion of the meetings industry where it all began? I am able to share my knowledge of how our chapter works, and as they say, I’m able to take them under my wing and guide them to their full potential as a member. It’s how I started out in the industry, but I’ll get to that in a bit.

Stepping back, I’ll share that one definition of “mentor” as a noun is “an experienced and trusted adviser” and as a verb is “advise or train (someone, especially a younger colleague). I feel that should be updated a bit. Everyone is a mentor to someone (that they may not even know), and everyone has a mentor (even if they don’t share with them that they are theirs).

My meaning… we all look up to people and we are looked upon by others just the same. I do feel it is important to make it more official to stay strategic in your ultimate goal, and all we have to do is make ourselves available to support and advise someone when they need it. Yes, it can get extensive, and even lead into coaching (another blog to come another day), but the basics are to share your expertise to help another grow in their professional and personal life. That’s what it is all about, right? Lifting people up to make the person, their career, and the world a better place.

That’s how I look at it, and I too was one “taken under a wing” at an early MPI National event. I didn’t even know that there was an Indiana Chapter in my back yard, but by meeting people, I was able to learn these things, attend events to continue my professional skills, and become that CMP as a meeting planner now turned new business development employee.

So how do you get started being a mentor? Know your strengths and skill-sets and offer them to those in need. If there is an organized mentorship program look into it. Offer your time and be a resource. Most people are afraid to ask, so be on the lookout for people on the sidelines and be a friend.

How do you get started finding that mentor for yourself? Think of those individuals in your career that you look up to or see as a leading expert and introduce yourself. Make that ask. Don’t worry if you get a “no” because they tend to be the type of people who will find you someone to fill that need for you. They are out there, eager to help, because no one gets to where they are without the help of others.

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