Gartner associates have a long history of volunteering and giving back to communities. In observance of National Mentoring Month, Suzanne Martin, VP Executive Partner to Chief Marketing Executives, shares why she volunteers as a mentor.
I joined Gartner in July 2019 as a VP Executive Partner. What exactly do I do? I advise Gartner’s Chief Marketing Executive clients on how to address their top challenges and opportunities. I bring my direct CMO experience, professional network, and surround that with all the best Gartner has to offer including analysts, research, tools, and events.
Advisory service is my day job. I also voluntarily share my insights outside of the workplace, serving as a mentor through the Chicago Innovation Women Mentoring Co-op. This program connects female business leaders with women executives, based on the interests of the mentee. What started as a group of 25 women in 2016 has grown into a vibrant community of over 450 women who are committed to connecting, empowering, and propelling interested women in innovation and entrepreneurship in Chicago. This unique mentoring program is divided into two, six-month cohorts, with fun events that a person can opt to participate in. In its efforts to support local women in the entrepreneurship and innovation communities at large, the co-op mentors include successful female innovators from a cross-section of industries.
What I love the most about Gartner is that here, we value insights and learning from everything around us. In my day to day work, I feel encouraged to bring in new ideas to improve customer experience. Volunteering as a mentor has made me better in my current advisory role, and has helped strengthen and expand my personal and professional network – ultimately creating even more opportunities. I strongly believe in the power of guiding and influencing others in the direction we take and the decisions we make. It’s a two-way street and I’ve been fortunate to have had many great mentors enter my life – some by chance, others by choice. I like to think of it as having a personal ‘board of directors’ to bounce ideas off, seek feedback, and discuss wins and losses. I’ve been mentoring others for many years and have shared the value of this role with my three daughters.
As I reflect on my days with these young women leaders, I can say that this program has made me a better person. At this stage of my career, my experience is an asset to give to others. In return, I learn a few things and it keeps me challenged. I have built lifelong connections with many of my mentees. I hear from them often as they tell me they have been promoted, or lobbied for expanded responsibility, or solved a problem with great satisfaction. And they credit me as a catalyst for their success which is quite humbling. I always tell them it’s within them, always. My experience just throws a little accelerant on that inner power.
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