Why I Mentor Young Communication Professionals

George Mason University logoThis fall I will have the opportunity to influence the lives of a dozen or so communication students at George Mason University in Fairfax, Va. by serving as a mentor during their Multimedia PR class.

I was approached a few months ago by one of my PRSA buddies, GMU Professor Serge Samoilenko. He was pulling together the course syllabus for a new class designed to prepare communication/PR students for the world of digital and social media and he needed seasoned PR professionals to serve as advisors.

We Baby Boomers assume that Millennials know everything there is to know about social media; that since they are constantly texting and playing on their iPhones, they know much more than we do about this new world of PR.

Not true. I rarely encounter a college student or new PR professional who uses social media for professional purposes. They don’t blog, they don’t Tweet, they don’t know anything about Google+.

So I’m really excited about this opportunity to share my knowledge and experience with communicators preparing to enter the workplace.

While this course mentorship role is a new one for me, it’s really just the latest in a long line of advisor/mentor roles I’ve played over the past 20 years.

I’ve hosted student shadows, spoken to communication classes, reviewed resumes at career fairs, and served as a counselor for college interns in my workplace.

Granted, part of that is my “pay it forward” mindset. I didn’t leave college knowing everything there is to know the communications biz and as a “baby communicator” I had the advantage of working for an exceptional manager who generously shared his knowledge with me.

But for the most part, my commitment to mentoring is spurred by a love of my profession and desire to see the next generation of communicators succeed in an ever-changing business environment.

Who knows? Ten years from now, that student may be one of my clients…


About Susan Rink

Susan C. Rink is president and owner of Rink Strategic Communications, LLC (www.rinkcomms.com) and a partner in Triple Play Consulting.
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