By Jessie Scott, Meredith Corporation
It’s not what you know, it’s who you know, goes the old adage. I learned this early on in my career through a mentorship program I joined in college. The connections I made through that program have led to every position I’ve held, including my current role as digital content manager at Successful Farming.
My freshman year of college, I signed up to participate in the Public Relations Student Society of America mentor program. My mentor would become my supervisor at my first internship at the USDA in Des Moines, Iowa, which led to a second internship with the USDA in Washington D.C. Knowing I had an interest in agency life, my mentor introduced me to key contacts at several agencies. One of these connections led to my third internship and what would turn into a full-time position. While at the agency, one of my coworkers introduced me to an editor at Successful Farming, after learning about my interest and background in agriculture. And the rest, as they say, is history. (For the record, you do need to have the confidence and the skill set to get the job once the introduction is made.)
When I heard about AAEA’s mentorship program, I jumped at the chance to participate because I have seen firsthand the value that mentors provide. They can help broaden your professional network, provide unbiased career advice, help you navigate career decisions, pass along industry knowledge, and share critical skills.
JoAnn Alumbaugh, editor of Pork magazine, and I have been meeting now through AAEA’s mentor program for the past five months. Given my past experience with a mentor program, I had high hopes going into this one. JoAnn has not let me down. She has been a valuable resource, a confidential sounding board, and, I’m pleased to say, a new friend. If you’re a young professional, I highly recommend signing up for AAEA’s mentorship program. You won’t be disappointed.