Why the Creative Industry Needs Folk Like You
The Creative Mentor Network is on a mission to make the creative industry a more inclusive place, and at AnalogFolk, we are so on board with that. Here’s why.
Their 16 week mentor development programme whips industry peeps into shape, with some solid mentor training and a healthy dose of eye opening awareness. It’s essentially a way to contribute to shutting down unconscious bias, and open the industry gates to all those brilliant young minds from all those brilliant different backgrounds. Hear. Hear.
We sent associate creative directors Dan Noller and Sara Pouri to get involved and report back with all the wonderful things they learned.
Sara: Thanks for letting us take over AF. But actually, we’ve decided not to blog about our CMN experience. Soz.
Dan: Nope. We’re going to use this opportunity to tell you (yes, YOU), why you should drop everything immediately / after you’ve actually read this article, and become a mentor or a mentee.
Sara: Let’s start with reasons why you should become a mentor.
Reason to become a mentor #1: a different perspective
In the world of advertising, it’s easy to think that everyone shares the same views. In an attempt to ‘fit in’ we can often default to the same points of reference, and unwittingly create barriers to entry for young people who think differently to us. Boring. Being exposed to some fresh perspectives and cultural references can be a much-needed reality check.
Reason to become a mentor #2: be an inspiration
This is your chance to show young people how great the industry could be for them. It might be hard for you to imagine a life without creative, Herschel-backpack-wearing friends, but some of these young people won’t know anyone who works in a creative industry. So how are they to know what opportunities are out there? Go forth and tell them.
Reason to become a mentor #3: develop as a leader
The coaching techniques you’ll learn will help you empower young people to drive their own development. There’s often a temptation to dish out the answer or solution to a mentee to get to the point that bit quicker. But cool your jets! Learning to guide them in the right direction so they can find that ‘bingo!’ moment on their own is a much more worthwhile and rewarding experience. It’s something we can all take forward in our day-to-day roles, too.
Reason to become a mentor #4: become an ambassador for diversity and inclusivity
Meeting all these wonderful people from different backgrounds will have you walking into the office with your eyes wide open. ‘Now just hold on a sec’, you’ll think, as you look at the interview panel around you, ‘why are no other genders/cultures/ages represented here?’.
You’ll learn the many benefits of a more diverse and inclusive workforce, and you’ll have the kick up the bum needed to go straight to the top and demand (on your newly found high horse) a little bit of a change around here.
Reason to become a mentor #5: it’s really fun
Full disclosure, you may leave the scheme feeling a bit… well, old. But, if you’re anything like us, you’ll also be excited for the future of the industry and refreshed from all that young, talented energy buzzing about the place.
Sara: And for the young people out there; here are CMN graduate Omari’s reasons to become a mentee.
Reason to become a mentee #1: it really is ‘who you know’
A sad truth about getting into the creative industries, as with many professional sectors, is that making connections can put you in a better position than others when it comes to advancing your career. A positive recommendation or an opportunity set up from the right person can really put you at an advantage - don't pass up a great opportunity!
Reason to become a mentee #2: and who you get to know
Other than just to advance your career, CMN can be a great way to develop yourself by having someone inspirational around you. Through mentoring, I have met so many people that have motivated me to push myself harder and also look at things from different perspectives.
Reason to become a mentee #3: inevitable revelations
I personally went into mentoring to find out more about advertising, and find out if it was really for me. Fortunately, through learning about the industry I found out that there was a place for me in the advertising world. Not everyone will have this experience, but every lesson learned is a good one.
Reason to become a mentee #4: real life, hands on experience
Through education, you can learn all of the theory in the world behind your chosen subject, but no book can prepare you for really being in an agency, creating something from scratch. Mentoring gave me the opportunity to research, concept and produce an advertising campaign with the help of an award-winning firm; education alone can't give you that. Mentoring can also help you build soft skills, such as taking criticism, perseverance, confidence and creativity.
Reason to become a mentee #5: it's a rare opportunity!
Just as you're reading this thinking that mentoring sounds like a great idea, so are hundreds of other people just like you. As you can imagine, schemes like CMN are in incredibly high demand, so you should stop what you're doing RIGHT NOW and apply, give yourself a chance!
DN: Right, we’re done. Now open a new browser window, visit Creative Mentor Network and get in touch with Isabel and the team.
Dan Noller and Sara Pouri are associate creative directors at AnalogFolk