Mentee Success Stories
Thinking about becoming a Mentee? Read through these interviews to help you decide.
John Vu
Mentored by Edelman AE Clark Hsu
Did you connect with your mentor?
Clark Hsu from Edelman was my mentor during the school year and continued to mentor me throughout the summer. I feel that he truly wants to see me succeed. I am able to ask him questions that I would not be able to ask other PR professionals. We are also able to talk about more than just PR. We share some of the same interests and I always look forward to seeing him and catching up.
Tell us about your first in-person meeting. How did you prepare?
I emailed Clark and we met in person in San Francisco within the month. He offered to come down to San Jose, but I chose meet him at Edelman in San Francisco. I knew what he looked like from his thumbnail picture on Gmail and he gave me a brief introduction about himself in the email. First, we sat down and got to know each other for about 30 minutes. He then gave me an agency tour and took me out to lunch at a nearby restaurant nearby. After lunch, he introduced me to his colleagues from different fields of PR. I met about six of his colleagues for 30 minutes each individually in a conference room. This experience exposed me to corporate, consumer, digital and CSR. He even had me talk to one of his HR colleagues! Before this experience, I had no idea about the different fields within PR. I would say that I felt quite prepared when I met Clark for the first time. I definitely wanted to give a good first impression. He was very easy to talk to and was very interested in what I had to say.
What was the most important thing you learned from your mentor?
To be open to all types of opportunities.
Was your mentor in the same area of PR in which you’re interested?
Yes, he is the senior account executive of the Ebay account. I was initially interested in green, tech and CSR but I was open to everything in PR.
Varija Yelagalawadi
Mentored by Cisco Director of PR Neil Wu Becker
How did you connect with your mentor?
I connected with my mentor almost immediately after receiving his contact information. I’ve met with him in person once so far. It was a great experience and I spent most of the day at Cisco. I wasn’t entirely sure of what to expect or even what questions to ask before going in, but it was a very comfortable, encouraging environment.
What was the most important thing you’ve learned from your mentor?
I learned how to balance everything in my life in a way that I don’t get burned out too quickly. Neil emphasized a lot in the first few times we spoke that the biggest mistakes he sees in younger professionals is that we burn ourselves out and don’t know how to ask for help, so I’ve been working a lot on that.
Was your mentor in the same area of PR in which you’re interested?
I wasn’t sure what area of PR I wanted to look into, so I picked investor relations. Even though Neil is not in that field, he made sure to introduce me to several of his coworkers and contacts who are in those fields at CIsco and it’s been very useful.
Max Junge
Mentored by Zynga VP Communications Dani Dudek
Did you connect with your mentor?
I did a lot of research on Zynga and on current news about the company and on Dani Dudek before I called her for the first time so I knew what I wanted to ask. We had about five phone calls before we met in person, so we already knew a little bit about each other. I spent an entire day at Zynga. Dani showed me around the offices and introduced me to her staff. It was really interesting.
Was your mentor in the same area of PR in which you’re interested?
Dani is in technology and the gaming industry. That’s the area I want to go into.
Are you still in contact with your mentor?
In the beginning we talked to each other every other Friday for 30-40 minutes. Then she got busy when all the layoffs happened at Zynga, and then I got busy with my summer internship. I reached out to her again when school started this fall.
What are some of the things you learned from your mentor?
In PR, you’re always “on.” There’s no messing around or saying things to a reporter “off the record.” You represent your company. We talked about Dani’s history. She said in the beginning PR is a lot of hard work and you do a lot of grunt work, but if you hang in there, you’ll learn a lot and eventually get to do more creative stuff. Dani moved up from PR into management and said PR schools don’t teach you a lot about business or how to manage people. We talked about the business side of Zynga – like how they develop games. That was really cool. Dani said that to do a good job, you have to know what’s going on in the rest of the company and what people in other departments are doing. And you have to know about what’s happening outside of your company in the industry, too. We talked about what I should focus on in school and finding balance between life and work. She said your relationships and your friends are very important and that you have to make sure you make time for those.
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