Kathy Doyle and the Art of Mentoring

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The value and importance of mentoring -- for both the mentor and mentee -- cannot be under-estimated. On November 15, Kathy Doyle, Executive Vice President, Managing Partner of UM, will be honored by the IRTS Foundation for her leadership in the industry and her impact on the next generation though her mentoring efforts. Bloomberg Media COO Jacki Kelley will present Kathy with an IRTS Foundation Hall of Mentorship Award. Kathy's fellow honorees (and presenters) are NBCUniversal's Linda Yaccarino (Joe Uva), PepsiCo's Seth Kaufman (Ross Martin) and Discovery's Henry Schleiff (Kerry Kennedy). (For more information please contact joyce.tudryn@irts.org.)

I sat down with Kathy to talk about her experiences in helping others and how that has shaped her views on her career and her life.

Charlene Weisler: Kathy, what is your definition of a mentor?

Kathy Doyle: I believe that it is primarily leading by example, being a resource, being an advisor in different situations and a teacher who provides actionable advice. I would say that at its core, being a mentor is about being a counselling teacher.

Charlene: How does one get started in becoming a mentor? What is the right approach?

Kathy:  I am overly sensitive about not naming myself as a mentor to a specific person and am very cautious when someone says to me, “I want to be your mentor.” It’s important that the feelings of respect are mutual.  I would say that I am very approachable to becoming someone’s mentor, but I would not necessarily initiate that relationship.

Charlene: Tell me about your own mentors through your life.

Kathy: I think a lot about the long list of those who I considered to be my mentors. I would include my mother, father and father-in-law among them. They were huge influences in my life and my career. From a work standpoint, one of the first mentors I had was a woman I worked for at Leo Burnett, Stella Gentile, who was very significant to me. Some of my mentors were on the agency side, some on the client side and some were on the partners’ side. They gave me well-rounded resources from which to draw upon. And, for the most part, it was all natural the way the mentoring relationships occurred. At IPG, we have an official mentoring program but the best of these types of relationships often come naturally. For example, Jacki Kelley, Chief Operating Officer; Bloomberg Media at Bloomberg LP, has been a great and positive influence for me, as well as many other women in the industry.

Charlene: Do you think there is a successful style of mentoring that works best?

Kathy: I think it is very individual. For me, what works best is very organic and not too prescriptive.  I’m less “hands-on” and lean much more toward the “there for you when you need me” style.  I also believe that the chemistry between the two people ultimately drives the style of the mentorship.

Charlene: What mentoring moment are you most proud of?

Kathy: Aside from being honored by the IRTS for mentorship, I’d have to say that my proudest moments are when I look at how our two sons have approached their careers.  They are both dedicated, loyal and successful.  Christopher is an attorney and Andrew is in the advertising business.  As they have grown professionally I have been incredibly proud of who they are, how they conduct themselves and what they have achieved.

Charlene: IPG has a mentoring program. Can you tell us a little bit about its history and how it works?

Kathy:  The IPG Diversity and Inclusion team is committed to creating a mentoring culture throughout our network. I’ve specifically participated in our Women’s Leadership Network mentoring program over the last 10 years.  The first person I worked with through this program is someone who still considers me a mentor today, and I am very proud of that.

Charlene: What advice would you give someone who is seeking a mentor?

Kathy: I would say find somebody who inspires you and whom you respect and just ask them about being a mentor.  And it is important to note that mentorship can and should be a symbiotic relationship. I get as much out of the relationship as my mentee. It gives me good perspective of what it is like to be an up and coming media executive, which keeps me grounded and very appreciative.

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