How to Get a Mentor: Be Your Best Self Even When You Assume No One is Looking

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How to Get a Mentor No One is Looking Ellen Ensher Picking up Paper You might have noticed I have been doing a little more tanning and a little less blogging this summer. One of the many great things about summer is that I can step back, take a breath, and think about all of the cool ideas and inspiration I gained from my students over the school year. The following is a true story about networking that my student, Sarah Vogel, shared in Management Skills class in last Spring. In this class I required that students conduct at least one informational interview and connect with a mentor. Basically it is all about getting a network of folks to help you move forward in your career and life.

Her story is about doing the right thing, just a small thing really, but impressive—as this effort led her to a great connection. People always ask me how do I find a mentor, or how do I get a mentor? And, usually I rattle off the steps I have developed or if I am feeling really lazy I tell them to watch my Tedx talk on how to get a mentor. However, I think a story is worth a thousand steps so I wanted to share Sarah’s with you. Sarah’s experience is a terrific reminder to all of us that if you want to make a connection, consider just doing something kind, even when you think no one will notice.

Sarah’s Story

So, let me tell you a little story of How I Met My Informational Interviewee!  It was a sunny, but windy Wednesday afternoon in February, I had just finished Professor Ensher’s class and was done for the day. As I left Hilton, I saw a poster for the One Club Creative Bootcamp that had fallen on the ground. Students were just passing by and ignoring it. I contemplated if I should just walk past it or if I should pick it up. I was done for the day, so I took the few seconds and picked up the poster and placed it back on its easel. Little did I know at the time, but the Director of this workshop (Traecy) saw the whole thing happen. 

You know those people you just instantly connect and vibe with? Well she was one of those people. We talked for thirty minutes or so in front of Hilton about her college experience, the workshop and LMU. As our talk was ending, she personally invited me to the whole workshop saying that lunch and dinner would be provided.

So, on Friday (Valentine’s Day actually), I went to the One Club Creative Bootcamp. The Bootcamp was for advertising and marketing. I did not think this applied so much to my career aspirations and to be honest, I went for the free lunch but ended up staying for the networking! 

While I was there, I met Erick. Erick is the Creative Director at the advertising firm Deutsch LA and an LMU alum. He was there that weekend to serve as a mentor to the marketing students. That was the perfect segue! I told him about how I appreciated that he was taking time to be a mentor to these students because . . . I was actually looking for a mentor/informational interviewee in Human Resources! So we connected and that next week, I had a meeting set up with Kaitlin in HR at Deutsch LA for an informational interview!

The lesson I learned here is that you never who is watching! And to always pick up fallen signs and posters!

Sarah- thanks for picking up the sign and sharing your story.

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