Mentorship Spotlight - Q&A with Stephanie and Lisa

SMPS Mentorship Q&A Featuring:

Lisa Smith
Senior Marketing Coordinator
Pacific National Group
Stephanie Wood, CPSM
Marketing & Communications Manager, Pacific

Q: Stephanie, you have been in the AEC industry for roughly 15 years. Tell us a little bit more about your background.

S: Having been formally mentored in my earlier career, as well as informally throughout, I know the impact that these relationships have had and continue to have on me and my career. And, as a manager, I have the lucky opportunity to serve somewhat as a mentor to my staff. When SMPS-OC decided to implement a Mentorship Program, I knew it was my chance to pay forward the generous advice and guidance granted to me throughout the years.

Q: What was it like meeting your Protégé?

S: As fortune would have it, I had connected with my assigned Protégé, Lisa Smith, the prior year at an event. Afterward, she’d asked for my input on a project she was working on. I was quite impressed with her work and knew she would be one to watch. So, it was an absolute delight to have us “matched.”

Q: Lisa, tell us a little bit about howand how frequentlyyou connected with your mentor?

L: Stephanie and I met regularly once a month for lunch dates and would email back and forth at least a few times a month to follow up on various topics we discussed. I would also shoot her a quick email or phone call when I had something more urgent - she was always willing to chat and give her thoughts and feedback. The face to face meetings also really facilitated a casual, open environment.

S: My goal was to make this a meaningful process for Lisa, while not over-formalizing it. During a few of our meetings, I implemented some exercises and activities from a leadership training program I’d participated in a few years earlier. Essentially, these tools provided both of us an opportunity to dig a little deeper into the What, Why, and How of her needs, expectations, and goals.

Q: As a protégé, how did you grow from the experience?

L: Stephanie really challenged and inspired me to think more like a manager and less like a coordinator. It is very easy to get swallowed with the daily tasks that constantly bombard your phone and email box, but she encouraged me that upward growth comes with managing a team successfully. She sent me various resources covering communication, management and leadership styles, as well as shared her personal experiences in the industry. I recall Stephanie saying to take advantage of opportunities as they come, and run with them! A year later with her guidance, paired with the growing needs at my firm, I am now currently leading a branding overhaul and website refresh for our company, as well as highly involved in three committees covering marketing, culture and events.

Q: Stephanie, what would you say was your major contribution to the relationship?

S: My main contribution was to offer Lisa a safe, confidential space to express her thoughts, feelings, and ideas. As she requested and needed, I provided her with counsel and direction on a wide range of topics and situations. My recommended guidance and approaches came from my experiences as both an employee and a manager/supervisor. We focused on strategically applying Lisa’s strengths to her role and work, as well as discussed communication styles, how to navigate challenging situations, and tactics to advancing her career.

While I served in the Mentor role, I learned so much from Lisa. She is an exceptionally talented and energetic Marketing professional with impressive writing, graphic, and coordination skills. In fact, during our mentorship, she earned a well-deserved promotion to Senior Marketing Coordinator!

Another contribution of mine, if it can be called that, was identifying an outside Marketing consultant who could help carry Lisa’s incredibly heavy workload while she was out on leave. That arrangement has been so successful that they continue to partner as needed.

Q: What was something that surprised you about the experience?

L: I don’t know how they matched up mentors and protégés, but I feel like we were a perfect match! Stephanie and I have high-energy, driven personalities and we love talking about marketing and our professional experiences. All of our meetings seemed to fly by and there was never a dull moment. Also, even though the 2019 SMPS OC Mentorship Program concluded, that connection is still there and I know I can still reach out.

Q: Any final thoughts?

L: I would highly recommend this program to other Marketers looking for a mentor. There are so many positive aspects about it – I can see only good to come of it. It is a great opportunity for someone who is new but dedicated to growing in this industry to learn and glean from someone more senior who is willing to share their professional experiences and knowledge. The networking prospect alone and involvement in SMPS is highly beneficial, as well.

S: Lisa’s tireless work ethic, passion, and drive continues to impress me. Her fresh perspectives are invigorating and inspirational. I have no doubt she will soon find herself in the role of Mentor.

My experience as part of SMPS-OC’s Mentorship Program was wonderfully positive and one I hope to have again!