Everybody needs a mentor.
Recently, I was asked who has had the greatest impact on my career?
Over the years, I have worked with some great and talented people, I’ve learned a lot from several of them, but I don’t think I can really name one person in the workplace that took me completely under their wing. Pondering the question, what I came to realize is that one of my main mentors is actually somebody in this business that I consider a friend. I haven’t worked with her at all. I’ve only met her face-to-face a few times but we’ve just had some great chats over the years and I’ve listened…to EVERYTHING she has to say.
What I learned a long time ago is that this business is not just about the work you create, but also about making the right connections and contacts. Whom you rub shoulders with can be as important to your career as your book. As I have mentioned in past articles, I have found full-time agency work by chatting up Creative Directors at an industry function with a glass of Scotch in my hand.
Social Marketing takes this networking to a whole new level. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn etc. are like being at the cocktail party or award show reception 24/7.
You can introduce yourself to anybody. You can follow their words. You can have many mentors and follow many people.
I have no idea how and when I met Heidi Ehlers, but I knew from the moment I met her that this was one person I would stick close to the rest of my life. In the world of advertising and design (especially in North America), Heidi may possibly be the most important and knowledgable person you could ever know. A former creative herself, Heidi is the owner of BLACK BAG creative recruitment + career management. She’s not just a headhunter, she is THE headhunter. BLACK BAG is about creative talent. Finding creative talent, strategizing careers with creatives, studying what causes the best creative talent to be the best and what causes the hot shops to be hot.
I could go on about her “Diary of a Creative Director” series or “Camp Black Bag” workshops. I could write endless paragraphs about how inspiring she is when listening to her speak, or how many times she has been able to steer me in the right direction. But I will simply end this post with two little words of advice...
If I could only have one mentor in this world, or if I could follow just one person that I believe would be the greatest asset to my career, it would be Heidi.
I think you should be listening too.
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