Great Mentors Do More Than Just Guide Us

Some of us simply know the path we want to take from as early as we can remember. We identify a passion, pursue our goals, and then look back to relish all we’ve accomplished. And then there are those who simply don’t have a clue which direction to turn. Count me in that latter category. A combined history and film studies major with a minor in legal studies, I emerged from college knowing I loved music (hell, I would have given anything to become a pop singer and call it a day), but I had no idea where to start. I needed guidance, an education about what the real world would hold.

That’s how I met my very first mentor, one of many pivotal individuals in my life who have helped shape my career, my vision and who I am at my core. My first was an executive in the music industry who taught me what it was really like to work in the PR business. The second took me under her wing at my first agency and filled me in on the skills not taught in a textbook – client service, managing up and trusting my gut. From there, I was fortunate enough to meet others, some whose brief presence left a long-lasting impression and some who continue to be in my life, including one who not only introduced me to this organization, but was also highly responsible for guiding me to where I am today. (Thank you, Liz Kaplow!)

I realized throughout my professional journey that mentorship was more than simply giving someone guidance, answering questions, and prepping them for what could potentially lie ahead. It was understanding the value of trust, leaning into vulnerability, and finding those that selflessly wanted to lift me up for no other reason than to watch another woman soar.

You see, great mentors aren’t fortune tellers. They can’t predict what will happen to you or tell you the right or wrong way to turn. But they have lived through change, learned the power of resilience and come out stronger for it. And most importantly, the truly remarkable ones care deeply about your happiness. They inspire you to ask yourself tough questions, embrace the uncomfortable in an effort to grow and open yourself up to possibilities you may never have realized even existed.

Looking back at myself as that young and overwhelmed college graduate, I could have never realized that nearly 25 years later I’d be a Board member at this incredible organization that helps so many who are just like me. Nor did I think I’d be the President of an agency where mentorship is not only celebrated but core to our values. But fortunately, my mentors helped to get me here, and now I hope to do the same for someone else.

Written by Randi Liodice, President and Chief Strategy Officer, Kaplow Communications


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