Interview: Michelle Stromgren quizzed on mentoring

Some descriptionSome descriptionMarketers are expected to have vast tanks of specialist knowledge and a flawless instinct for handling new and challenging situations. It’s flattering that we’re so well thought of, but makes it difficult to ask for help and advice without losing face. Having a mentor, from outside your workplace can be invaluable. CIM provides this type of mentoring scheme. As a member, you’re welcome to take part. We asked CIM London Board member and Ambassador for Professional Membership, Michelle Stromgren, to explain why she’s so enthusiastic that as many London members as possible gain the benefit of having a mentor or being a mentor.

Firstly, tell us a little about yourself

I’m a marketing consultant and performance coach. I use my 25 years of experience to support individuals and SMEs in their growth and development. Previously, I’ve worked for Lazard Asset Management, Citibank, Digital Equipment Corporation, General Medical Council, Unilever, Proctor & Gamble and the Royal Opera House. Alongside work I juggle being a mum, work on local planning issues, and overseeing the social women’s network I set up over 25 years ago.

How did you become CIM’s London Professional Membership Ambassador?

I’m something of a perpetual student. I’m always keen to learn. As well as the studies you might expect of a marketer, such as gaining my CIM Diploma and CAM Diploma, I’m also qualified in subjects you might not expect from holistic massage and nutrition to fashion design. It’s my love of connecting others together with my desire for learning that makes me an advocate of the CIM Mentoring Scheme. It provides a great way to learn, develop and gives members a golden opportunity to help enhance their career. When I joined the CIM Board for the Greater London Region, I was delighted to take on this voluntary ambassador role.

Have you ever had a mentor yourself?

Yes I have, and still have that mentor to call upon as and when needed.

What are the benefits of having a mentor?

To have an unbiased and knowledgeable sounding board at any stage of your career is invaluable. The benefits of having a mentor are wide ranging, from improving communication skills to fine tuning marketing to enhancing your network. The added encouragement you get from the partnership can be very motivational.

How does CIM’s mentoring scheme work?

The CIM Mentoring platform is a flexible and open platform designed to match aspiring and developing professionals to the experience and knowledge of a mentor that suits them best. It’s also a learning and development toolkit built on the twin foundations of mentoring and e-learning, which offers a wide range of support materials. All at no cost to CIM members.

What kind of support should I expect?

The platform has a comprehensive help database with user friendly FAQ section and where necessary a support request form. The system itself houses a myriad of useful videos and suggestions that guide you through the process.

If I wanted to find a mentor what should I do?

You can sign up to the scheme on our website. All CIM professional and studying members can join. Login to MyCIM and choose the Mentoring Network.

And how do mentors also benefit?

There are many ways to benefit from being a mentor: You will enhance your skill set and your network and can gain recognition for your efforts. The experience also allows you to reflect upon your own practice; it can give you a fascinating insight in to the way other organisations work. Plus helping to support others provides a great feeling of satisfaction. Not to mention it looks great on your CV. The Mentor Match platform is also comprehensive and full of useful tips and training, which is invaluable. CIM members also get discounted rates to attend the popular Soft Skills for Hard Results events. As a CIM Mentor you will also be giving back to the marketing world by helping to shape the career and future of others.

Are there any opportunities for mentors at the moment?

Absolutely. There are always opportunities for mentors.

If you are a Member (MCIM) or Fellow (FCIM) you can sign up to the scheme on our website. Login to MyCIM and choose the Mentoring Network.

We have a Mentor Matchmaking event planned for 9 November in Cheapside, do come along.