Standing on the shoulders of giants - why more Irish professionals need a mentor

Seeking a mentor to improve yourself is hugely popular, though the idea has existed since at least ancient Greek times
Eileen Curry

LAST weekend, millions of people around the world celebrated World Mentoring Day. Mentoring has become an important process for most Irish companies.

New technologies and changing consumer buying habits are driving marketers to develop their skills whilst fostering younger talent in order to succeed and stay relevant.

So what actually is mentoring? Type mentoring into Google and it will return over 392 million results, ranging from articles to videos, self-help guides to podcasts.

Seeking a mentor to improve yourself is hugely popular today, but the idea of mentoring has existed since at least ancient Greek times, with the roots of the word linked to ‘Mentor', son of Alcimus in the famous Greek poem, Odyssey.

CIM conducted research into people's job expectations across Ireland, which found that only 29 per cent of respondents would give up training in order to land their dream job; in comparison, almost 50 per cent would sacrifice a company car. Clearly, for Irish marketing professionals, there is a need to learn that runs to the heart of their career aspirations.

Laura Ard, communications ambassador of CIM Ireland, said: “The marketing industry has grown exponentially over the years, and the vast number of fields and specialisations to choose from can be overwhelming. For graduates and junior marketers in particular, this can often mean that getting started on their marketing journey can be the hardest step to take.

“No matter what stage or level you're at in your career, having a mentor behind you can really help to set you up for success and uncover your talents. Mentors have been in your shoes – they're seasoned professionals who have ‘been there and done that', and the knowledge and expertise they have gained along the way is invaluable.”

It's true that junior professionals can gain greatly from mentoring, but arguably the more senior you are and the more small improvements you can make to enhance working ability, the larger the impact it can have on your career or the business you work for.

Steve Jobs mentored Mark Zuckerberg. Barbara Walters mentored Oprah Winfrey. Larry Summers mentored Sheryl Sandberg. Sir Freddie Laker mentored Richard Branson. Benjamin E. Mays mentored Dr. Martin Luther King. The list goes on.

Indeed rarely do you read an autobiography from a famous figure without a mention of a mentor who helped turn things around or provide that one piece of advice or helped hone a soft skill that meant the world to the individual. There really are benefits to be had at all levels of seniority for marketers.

If you are interested in mentoring, CIM has a nationwide mentoring programme that can put you in contact with mentors from across a range of sectors both locally in Ireland and across the UK. Why not start today? To learn more or become involved in CIM's mentoring scheme go to

:: Eileen Curry is chair of CIM Ireland

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