PR’s Top Pros Talk… Women Leaders – Lea-Ann Germinder
Lea-Ann Germinder, Founder & President, Germinder + Associates, and Editor & Publisher, Goodnewsforpets.com.
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About the Host:
Host: DOUG SIMON
Guest: LEA-ANN GERMINDER
DOUG: Lea-Ann, it’s great that you’re here with us, and we’ve talked with a lot of experts giving advice on finding the right mentor, but what’s less discussed is how to become a really good mentor yourself. What are some of your tips and takeaways in that area?
LEA-ANN: Well, first of all, thank you very much for having me, Doug. This is a very challenging time. And there’s a lot of, quite honestly, there’s a lot of need to both mentor and to have mentees. I always say that when your mentor, you get more than you give back. So, the first tip that I would give is to make sure that you set aside a good amount of time to mentor someone in your schedule. It’s important to have a commitment of that time and to not reschedule, to really make that commitment. That’s the number one thing. I always say that if I can’t find 30 minutes in my schedule once a month, there’s something wrong there. The second thing is, I would make sure that you and the mentee understand the goals and expectations of the relationship. I’ve been involved in many formal programs and many informal programs. And the most important thing is that it’s a relationship where you are guiding the person, and it’s also a confidential relationship. And so, it’s really important to get that established up front. And the third thing that I would say is to make sure that the mentee feels comfortable talking with you, and that the mentee does understand that it is a confidential relationship. For the most part, you as the mentor are quite a bit older than the mentee, and you have to draw the mentee out in terms of what that person is looking for. And so, it is up to the mentor to make sure that that relationship works. So, those are I think the three main things that I would recommend.
DOUG: Do you find an area of guidance that sort of most important or that frequently comes in, sort of the top issues that come up when you’re trying to mentor someone? What’s the help that people are looking for, so you can be better prepared if you’re helping someone?
LEA-ANN: Right now, the big issue is am I going to find a job, am I going to find an internship. And if you are going to mentor, I would honestly be prepared to help that person through this period. That’s been a very interesting sort of enlightenment for me, if you will, because I’ve mentored for a very long time. But what the students are looking for now is encouragement, and to be quite honest with you, there’s not the jobs that there were. So, how is it that we are going to help these young professionals get through this period? So, pointing them to different resources, encouraging them to write a blog and stay current with news, there’s PR certificates, to network, to tap into their alumni, all of the different resources. You’ve really got to think a little bit more outside the box right now. And then the second thing I would say is, I’m a big networker, and you can’t network, you can’t go to things, right? Encourage these young people to still get on the Zoom and still reach out and do as much as they possibly can. That’s the big thing right now that we’re facing.
DOUG: That’s a great tip that you mentioned. And Lea-Ann, that actually reminds me, because since so much is dependent on Zoom for communication, that’s how they’re going to be interviewing, if you’re somebody who’s graduating from college. We put together a piece on how to look your best if you’re doing a zoom interview, optional extra accessory not included in that recommendation at that point, but general tips. So, I think we’ll put that up with this post, so people get some good ideas how to frame your shot, how to make sure the lighting’s OK, how to sound your best, because that does go a long way in powering through. Another area we’re covering during this Women’s History Month is how women who aspire to be leaders in communications, if you were mentoring them, what would be general advice that you’d give them? Of course, each opportunity is specific, but what are some of the things you’d suggest?
LEA-ANN: Well, I would suggest, again, that they find, and whether it’s if they’re going to go to an agency, that they find a niche that they are passionate about. If they are a student and they’re looking for an internship, as I said, it’s going to be more of a challenge. If they’re a young professional that is in the industry, again, still look for something that they’re passionate about. If they’re an entrepreneur that they’re interested in starting a business, you and I have talked about this quite a bit, my business has been focused on animal health, although I’ve worked in many, many verticals, start a business that you’re passionate about, find your passion. You’re still passionate about your business. That’s so, so important. And then the second thing, as I said, in terms of networking, networking with other women, look to other women leaders, find those mentors. The other thing is there’s not just one mentor, there’s different ways that people can mentor you, and it’s very, very important to have more than just one. Like you may have one mentor that you’re meeting with once a month. And that’s your, I guess, core mentor, if you will. But there’s other kinds of mentors. There’s other folks that you might network on LinkedIn, and you might get might have one Zoom meeting with. But look to the people that you admire and connect with them. That’s what I would say.
DOUG: Great, and a couple of things as we wrap up. You touched on informal mentoring and mentoring in the moment. If you see something where you could help someone just with a short piece of advice, don’t be shy, give it. And how they take it is going to be very indicative of if they’re going to be successful in their careers I find. And also, I’d be remiss if I didn’t congratulate you on 20 years of Good News for Pets. And we know we love our pets even more now, during the pandemic, we see a lot of COVID-19 dogs and puppies running around in New York City with their happy owners giving them love. So, thanks for all the great mentorship that you provide, and you did it again right here. Thanks so much.
LEA-ANN: Thank you very much. That’s a love we share too. Thank you.