The Mentor / Mentee Experience

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With the school year coming to an end, we wanted to gain perspective from both a mentor and mentee about the current Mentorship program. Joey Ellis and Maribeth Kiser share their experiences below. Thank you to everyone who participated this year, as it was our biggest turnout to date.   

Joey Ellis

Mentor

What were your feelings going into it?

I was nervous because I wanted to make sure that my mentee felt like the information that I was able to share would be helpful. I was also curious if my mentee would put in the effort required to make the relationship valuable. I’m glad to say she has. MB has been great and has shown a lot of improvement, just in a few weeks.

What common ideas did you both share? (about design, life etc…)

I think we both strive to be better than we currently are. I think we also both agreed that the desire to improve and to learn never goes away, and that desire is what helps us stay employable.

We also discussed the importance of goals and heroes and to be cognizant of where you want to go in life. It’s important to think about these things and regularly communicate them to friends and family so that they can support you and hold you accountable.

What events or activities have you done so far?

A lot of Starbucks! I think we went out for cupcakes as well. One cool thing is that I’ve been able to do is invite MB to my workspace and literally walk her through how I’ve built some of my art files. We’ve reviewed simple things like what to consider when presenting and how to make presentation templates, language for contracts, workflow ideas for running a studio, the importance of drawing and spending enough time on craft.

What lessons have you both learned?

Honesty is always the best policy. Whether you’re providing feedback/critique to a designer or sharing ideas to a client, open and honest dialogue is always the most helpful. It’s not always the easiest and it can be risky, but it’s important that the words you say keep people moving forward. Make people excited for what’s next.

What have some of the challenges been?

Timing! We’re both very busy people and we haven’t always been able to meet as regularly as we’d like… but we’ve remained in constant contact about schedules, so our meetings have been as frequent as possible.  

Maribeth Kiser

Mentee

What were your feelings going into it?

I wasn’t sure what to expect and wasn’t sure how hands-on it would be. I was definitely worried about the direction of my career, so I was very glad I was accepted to the program and was very much looking forward to getting some direction, insight and feedback.

What common ideas did you both share? (about design, life etc…)

We both seem pretty laid back, funny. Joey seems to make design really fun and playful, which I also like.

What events or activities have you done so far?

We’ve met almost every week – depending on our schedules. We’ve talked a lot about design philosophies, best practices, ways I can improve and we also did a mock project, which was awesome. After being in print design for several years, I’ve fallen out of identity – logo design. We took one of my projects and re-did it. I am very happy for the outcome and feel like I have this new outlook on the process and my capabilities.

What lessons have you both learned?

I learned the value of self initiated projects and getting my name out. I’ve learned to make it fun and enjoyable.

What have some of the challenges been?

I really didn’t have any challenges, I really appreciated Joey lending his time and his insight to my design and career. I really think I lucked out, he seemed very interested in how my design/outlook is and has really invested time in helping me.

Thanks, Joey and Maribeth, for taking the time to answer our questions.

By aigacharlotte
Published May 16, 2012
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