When I first signed up to the IoIC Mentoring Programme I was working as a solo communicator for a global organisation. Though I had previous internal comms experience, the absence of a team to collaborate with often had me looking for someone with whom I could discuss challenges and find support.
My experience as a mentee
I was matched with my mentor Nikki and honestly, I don’t think I could have asked for anyone better. For every challenge I was facing, she had been through similar and always had helpful insights to share. She understood what I was going through and was happy to be a sounding board and source of wisdom.
Our meetings took place monthly, averaging no more than hour at a time. It was not a huge commitment for either of us, but they were impactful. With only a general outline of issues I hoped to discuss through our pairing we kept our meetings flexible, leaving us room to tackle any obstacles or topics that were pressing or topical. In between sessions I asked questions and Nikki shared resources that she thought would be useful or relevant, and we made a point of checking in.
Having a mentor really changed what it meant for me to be working in internal comms. I felt more supported, understood, and part of a community than I thought possible without a team behind me. I gained a valuable connection in my network and built a friendship with someone who really understood what my day-to-day could be.
It’s like that meme what different people think I do...
My parents think working in IC means I post on social media.
My friends think working in IC means I send emails all day.
My mentor understands that working in IC can mean creating strategies and sharing important information across multiple channels, or being empathetic and sensitive while reaching a number of diverse audiences, or all of the above and more.
Recently I changed roles and now work as part of the IoIC HQ team and while my professional focus is now on member comms, the mentorship programme left such a positive impact on me that I decided to sign up again this year... as a mentor.
It can be easy to doubt ourselves and question whether we are truly qualified to help others, but mentoring is not just about the number of years you have spent in a profession. It’s about taking your professional experiences and sharing your takeaways from them. It’s about the journey you’ve taken to get to where you are, and what you’ve learned along the way.
For me the decision was simple. I love meeting new people, discussing the challenges we face in internal comms, and sharing ideas. I get excited to discuss new ways to address old issues, I believe we can all learn something from each other, and I look forward to the new perspectives I gain from my mentee this year.
Learn more about the benefits of the IoIC Mentoring Programme and how to apply here.