The Value of Mentorship

The Value of Mentorship

By Tianna Hernandez

During my undergraduate studies at McMaster University, I became skilled at researching, writing and presenting about others. If you asked me about the origins of public relations, I could recite the accomplishments of Edward Bernays with ease. If media theory interested you, I would gladly discuss Marshall McLuhan’s timeless work. However, joining the CPRS Hamilton Mentorship Program left me momentarily speechless and tongue-tied when asked to present on one particular person: myself.

I engaged in honest self-reflection as the next seven months unfolded. Carefully guiding me through the process was my mentor, Allyson Wenzowski, owner of Publicity Works, who taught me the importance of CP style, networking and self-advocacy. After expressing my desire to improve my PR writing skills, Allyson gave me the privilege of writing and distributing an event release for one of her clients. The release subsequently garnered local media coverage. This was an extraordinary opportunity and confidence-builder I would not have had without the mentorship program and Allyson’s belief in me.

Then, there were the mock interviews. It is interesting how what makes you most nervous, gifts you with self-improvement and growth. The mock interviews gave me a supportive environment to practice effectively communicating what I had come to learn about myself and be unapologetically proud of my achievements. I am a Summa Cum Laude McMaster University graduate, a recent alumna of Mohawk College’s PR graduate certificate program and marketing coordinator of The Hamilton Spectator.

By the time I walked into CPRS Hamilton’s annual general meeting in May, a renewed confidence in myself had been instilled. This in itself was reward enough. Therefore, I was pleasantly surprised and humbled when I received the Student Award of Excellence, based on the nomination of my long-time mentor, Jane Allison.

Succinctly, the mentorship program gently pushes you out of your comfort zone, helps you to establish professional connections and teaches you the value of being an expert on yourself. For that, I am deeply grateful.