Career Tips from the Adweek Executive Mentees – Part 2

We get by with a little help from our friends mentors! We asked our 270+ mentees from Round 2 of the Adweek Executive Mentor Program for advice they’ve received from their mentors, composed of the world’s top CMOs, CBOs, CEOs, Chief D&I Officers, Chief Creative Officers, and more. From prioritizing your own needs to tackling tough conversations, read on to hear what advice our mentees say was pivotal in their career journeys and check out Part I of the advice round-up to hear from leaders at Google, Nike, Johnson & Johnson, and more. 

1. Find Your Personal Mission  

“Take out a blank sheet of paper (or a slide) and write a vision board for what you aspire to in career and life...told through images. My mentor had me do one and it reminded me that opportunities are limitless.” Anisha Raghavan, cmo - global brands americas, Walgreens Boots Alliance 

"No job or culture is worth being personally miserable for. To avoid this, he instructed me to take a step back to evaluate where I'm headed and where I want to go. How? By creating a professional and personal mission that ensures each job you have and every job opportunity you evaluate embodies your mission.” Rebecca Hawkins, vp,  

2. Do Something Different 

"Every two years, you should be doing something different. You might be at same company, but you should be learning something new." Tara Hagan, vp, planning director, Edelman 

“Don't be afraid to pitch for a new or modified role than what already exists in the company. Showing that you're thinking outside of your current responsibilities shows your engagement and can lead to new opportunities. Trust yourself and trust in your experience.” Anna Boteva, brand director, Wieden+Kennedy PDX 

3. Prioritize Your Needs 

 “At the time I was doing everything myself because I couldn't afford to bring anyone on. I was mentally and emotionally exhausted. One of the first things Chris told me was to ask for help. A bunch of people reached out after that and I was able to bring on an operations person and art director. Tim Stiefler, founder, GUSH 

 "My mentor kept reminding me that self-care is an act of resistance *insert light bulb*. When the pandemic started, I made it my mission to keep extra busy during quarantine. Inevitably, burn out was on the horizon. Ever since my mentor encouraged me to take it easy during these challenging times, I have been on a ROLL both professionally and personally! Now, I make it a point to prioritize my health in addition to my career." Afriyie "Free" Amankwaa, editorial & client activation at Courageous, WarnerMedia  

4. Take the Road Less Traveled 

“Don't be too narrow in defining your path forward, thinking that you must stay within one industry or in one tightly demarcated lane. Sometimes, the way forward is in expanding your vision.” Caroline Giegerich, founder/head of brand marketing, Daily Marauder 

"Career evolution is messy and comparable to Candy Land–you'll make one move forward then take 10 steps back. You'll move linearly or jump ahead but there’s not a clear-cut route to achieving your personally defined professional successes. Be patient, follow curiosity, and keep going!" Kiara Loucks , executive director business development, El Toro IP Targeting 

5. Learn from the Wins “and” Losses 

"Taking your L doesn't have to mean that you've taken a Loss, you need to be able to turn it around and into a Lesson. Whenever you feel like you've failed at something or something didn't go the way that you wanted it to, take the lesson from that and apply it to the next time you're presented with an opportunity like it.” Wesley Houser, senior marketing manager, TouchNote  

“Each opportunity you pursue is a learning experience that helps you to discover your purpose, values and passion. While not everything always works out according to plan, it’s all a part of the journey of discovering yourself.” Chris Marino, business marketing manager, shopping, Instagram  

6. Don’t Avoid the Tough Conversations 

“Learn how to have direct and difficult conversations at work. The greatest disservice we do to ourselves, colleagues and the workplace is avoiding an issue because it makes us uncomfortable. You can’t just sweep tough issues under the rug and hope it goes away—you will have to clean it up eventually.” Denise Horn, sr. director, inclusion marketing and communications, WarnerMedia 

“You can’t have this job if you’re afraid to lose it. As D&I leaders, we must be willing to be at the frontlines of uncomfortable conversations if we want to make true change. My advice for those starting out is don’t be afraid to speak up and be your authentic self. I waited too long. Not anymore. We need your difference in this industry to make this work truly reflective of all the people living in this country/world.” Andrea Harry Bibbs, sr. director, diversity & inclusion strategy, WarnerMedia News & Sports  

7. Learn What Motivates Others 

“Empathy is one of the greatest superpowers a leader can have. Understanding underlying intent (inherent beliefs and feelings) vs. stated intent (tone and words) and having the courage to evolve is what drives real change.” Gabriela McCoy, director of strategic insights and analytics, Bacardi 

“My mentor, Katrina really helped drive home the importance of interpersonal communication styles and how key it is to understand not only my own strengths and weaknesses but other’s preferences, behaviors, and the variety of styles out there, such as amiable, expressive, or analytical. This has been a vital piece of advice towards building relationships, interacting with others and decision-making – now more important than ever in our remote world!” Kara Hendrick, sr. employment branding manager, Chewy  

8. Leave Your Mark  

“ [If you] do it like everyone else, you just have a great campaign. Do it through the lens of disruption and you change behaviors, you change industries, you change the world.” Jonna Humphries-Valente, founder, Juniper & Berkeley 

"Leave the brand better than how you found it. Many of us will work on brands that existed long before our time there and will continue to grow after we've gone. Set up those who come next for success as hopefully, someone did for you." Dmitry Shamis, global head of creative, HubSpot 

“It’s a given that you should absolutely nail your job description and what you were brought into do. Aside from that, identify where you can add additional value anchored in something good. By being bold and leading the charge, this will help to foster the organizational culture that you want to see.” Amy Woodbridge, marketing lead, Zoetis Inc. 

9. Evolve with the Consumer 

“Focus on the consumer. Remember to bring in voices from underrepresented users and to be inclusive in your planning and execution.” Annie Jean-Baptiste, head of product inclusion, Google 

“The consumer journey will evolve and so must your approach to reaching them. Get to intimately know the consumers you are marketing to very early, this will guide your decision making and the value that you bring your organization. Stay connected and curious about how consumers are engaging with brands.” Jamie Wideman, vp marketing, Terlato 

When creating events, even in today's digital virtual event landscape, envision the customer's excitement around your event and identify what would keep them inspired until the event. Use that emotion to drip useful content to solidify and eliminate 'buyer's remorse' and to engage them to share with their audience. Mordecai Holtz, director of global brand, United Hatzalah of Israel  

10. Expand Your Perspective 

“Read (a lot)! Seems so simple but we get so caught up in work that we often forget that the essence of everything we do starts and improves with continuous learning. It also contributes to the whole theme of self-improvement where strengthening one aspect of yourself will have a ripple effect on other aspects and the people who we deal with.” Darryl Hurwitz , founder, 

“Remember how interconnected the marketing world is and how the knowledge you gain in one area, or at one job, will inevitably pay dividends in another area at some other point in your career." Al Patton, cco, Dagger 

“Always seek to expand my perspective and awareness. Celebrate successes, while continuing to look for the next opportunity for inner or outer growth. Anney Perrine, senior vp of communications and business development, PALM Health 

11. Make the Most of Each Role 

“Consider your career as a limited set of chapters. Be purposeful with what you’re looking to build with each one, and find ones that will have real meaning to you.” Adam Benaroya, head of global media and performance marketing, Hewlett Packard Enterprise  

“Your career is like driving a car when it’s foggy out and you can only see six feet in front of you. You have no idea what’s 10 feet ahead or around the next bend. And that’s ok. Be present in your current role and make the most of it. Good things will come.” Rick Buie, head of brand advertising, Amazon Business