An Illuminating Moment

Published On: September 28, 2016 | Categories: Advertising and Marketing |

It started as reverse mentoring…and we all know that reverse mentoring is a good thing. Senior execs asking younger team members to show them how, in most cases, one of the new social media apps works. Twitter. I should know, right? Hashtag SABetterWay.

Feeling good about my willingness to learn, what I didn’t expect was the discussion that followed. Our young account team member said to me, “I think you might be proud of what I did today.”

“And what was that?” I asked.

“I was helping one of the new dealers in a marketing program we’re administering at the corporate level. As it turns out, he was frustrated, maybe worse. He had all these questions that looked like problems to him, including the time he had to deal with them. I think he’d rather be doing what he liked doing, which was installing our client’s products.

“And, how did you handle this?” I asked.

“It wasn’t easy as he was pretty upset, but I remembered my job is to solve problems. When he saw that I was trying to helping him, he calmed down and appreciated what I and SA brought to the table for him.”

Of course, I couldn’t have been more pleased. A new, satisfied customer who saw that solving problems is often the start of opportunities. We obviously did well in recruiting and bringing on-board such a sharp young lady. So I asked, “What can we do to help you grow your career here at SA?”

She responded, “Can you tell me how can young people like me make it today?”

Great question. It opened my eyes to the need of beginning a series of discussions of people whose stories are exemplary in making their careers meaningful. It starts soon.


We are calling it Luminaries: Strategic America Thought Leadership Series. We’ve invited several notable women in business, media, non-profits, and yes, the advertising industry, to speak to staff and invited guests this fall. All represent amazing life stories. Emily Abbas, Mary Sellers, Michelle Book, Connie Wimer, Teri Wood, Donna Tweeten, and Nancy Hill, 4A’s CEO, are scheduled to join us here this fall.

They will talk about how reverse mentoring can be illuminating!  If you’d like an invitation, please send an email to There will be limited availability for seating.