Exploring the Power of Mentorship & How to Get Involved
Mentorship has always played an integral role in my life. Whether it was teaching younger students at Syracuse’s Newhouse School of Public Communications about the basics of public relations through PRSSA—Syracuse’s chapter of the Public Relations Student Society of America, or serving as a TA for an intro-level class of freshmen navigating their first year of college, mentoring those around me has always been something I have been interested in and valued.
How I Got Involved in Mentorship with NIRI
Once I was able to land my first job out of college at Prosek, I knew that I wanted to flip the roles and find a mentor to guide me through this next major step in my career. Luckily, I was introduced to the National Investor Relations Institute (NIRI) shortly after joining through my boss, Alex Jorgensen. Since then, I have been fortunate enough to expand my role within the New York chapter serving as VP of Communications for the NextGen Committee.
Founded in 1969, NIRI is the largest professional investor relations association in the world. NIRI works to advance and elevate the professional practice of investor relations through supporting the networking and advancement of the interests of IR professionals.
Specific to the New York chapter, younger IR professionals are encouraged to join NextGen, a group geared specifically to meet the needs of up-and-coming IR professionals who are newer to the workforce or have been in IR for less than five years. NIRI NY NextGen encourages its members to take advantage of the wealth of knowledge in the NIRI community through networking and hearing from experienced professionals.
When I first joined Prosek, Alex was serving on the NextGen Committee as the VP of Communications which allowed our whole team to quickly receive a membership and get involved. As such, I began attending events to learn more about investor relations as I ramped up in my role as an IR analyst. Shortly after joining, a vacancy on the NextGen Committee opened and Alex asked me to join. Even though I was brand new to the world of IR, I knew that I could not pass up this opportunity, so, in the fall of 2021, I officially joined the NextGen committee as VP of communications alongside Alex. This past fall, I became the sole VP of communications.
As VP of communications, I am in charge of contributing to the monthly NIRI NY newsletter that is sent to all chapter members, drafting social media posts and event recaps for NextGen events and coordinating and distributing save-the-dates and invitations for NextGen chapter events.
This role also allows me to continue to flex my networking and mentoring muscles in a way that not only benefits myself but also those around me. On top of that, I’m able to meet other IR professionals and learn about the various paths that an IR career can take, as well as bring this knowledge back to the Prosek IR team and share the latest trends in the space to better help our clients. Additionally, being part of the NextGen committee has afforded our team the ability to present at the 2023 NIRI Annual Conference, which further amplified Prosek’s brand to the IR world.
How You Can Get Involved in Mentorship Programs
Mentorship programs, like NextGen, have become increasingly popular due to their benefits for not only the individuals involved but also the organizations those individuals belong to. These benefits include skill development, increased job satisfaction and retention, career development, improved performance at work, and further contributions to a positive organizational culture.
While this all sounds great, you may be wondering how to go about finding a mentorship program—either to become a mentor or a mentee.
If you’re an aspiring mentee, the first thing you must do is reflect on why you want a mentor in the first place and determine what you hope to learn. Outlining your professional goals and how you plan to achieve them is a smart first step. This exercise is also a great starting point for your initial conversations with your mentor, once selected. Once you have a solid understanding of what you would like to get out of a mentorship experience, create a list of people in your field whom you admire. Take into consideration what attributes you admire, their notable achievements, and even decisions that they have made that you may question. Most of the time, it is as simple as choosing someone based on this list. From there, there are many ways you can find a mentor—through local nonprofit or industry-oriented organizations, your alma mater, your workplace, or even by doing cold outreach on LinkedIn.
If you’re an aspiring mentor, the first step is nearly the same: decide why you want to become a mentor. Determine what kind of knowledge you’re equipped to impart, how much time you can dedicate to a mentee (or several!), and what you’re preferred form of contact with them would be (meeting in person, via Zoom, on a call, etc.). From there, look for opportunities to become a mentor through work, through industry-focused organizations (like NIRI), community efforts, or other channels.
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My story is obviously just a glimpse of the impact that mentorship has to offer. I encourage everyone to find their own organization or group of people that encourages them to become a better version of themselves and meet others on a similar career path. I have been fortunate enough to find this as a member of NIRI and, specifically the NextGen committee.
As I enter my third season as the VP of communications here are Prosek, I look forward to continuing to expand my network of IR professionals – both seasoned pros and up-and-comers – and leverage what I learn to further bolster the growing Prosek IR team and my own career.