A Tale of Two Mentors

The first time I joined a formal mentoring program, I seriously lucked out. I was matched with a passionate, candid, talented vice president who answered all my questions, let me shadow her and her team, and provided invaluable advice. She helped me consider my career options, negotiate, and advocate for myself at the crucial point in my career when I was transitioning from grad school and freelance life into a full time job.

I knew even then, my situation was not typical. Finding a great mentor isn’t often so straightforward and effortless. Sometimes, formal arrangements fall short of expectations on both sides of the relationship. Or more often, a formal program isn’t available and you have to get creative in finding a mentor.

Recently, it occurred to me I have another mentor close at hand — just a few desks away, actually. Turning to my coworker when I need help solving a problem, learning from her years of experience at our company and other organizations, I find there are elements of our working relationship that look a lot like mentoring. It’s valuable because we share a work environment, and have similar goals and expectations about our careers. She’s inspired new ideas for my career growth and expressed support along the way.

One mentor was a conscious introduction, while the other grew organically, but both relationships have established a sense of trust and over time become valuable to me in their own, unique ways. And like all relationships, both have required effort and reciprocity on my part to maintain them as lasting connections.

There’s no universal formula, but there are certainly new ways of thinking about mentorship that can serve New Pros as they work to forge connections. Join us during New Pros Week for a special webinar, where you’ll get advice on how to find a mentor, be a great mentee, and fill your life with valuable connections.



Alyssa Thys is a member of PRSA Georgia and a communications specialist at Piedmont Healthcare in Atlanta.  She serves on the New Professionals executive committee as the mentoring chair. Alyssa is a graduate of Agnes Scott College and the University of Georgia. Find her on LinkedIn or Twitter.


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