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New York Urban League for Young Men's Empowerment Day

By John Riccobono, talent manager, New York
 
Last week I took part in a mentoring program for the New York Urban League’s (NYUL) Young Men’s Empowerment Day. It was being sponsored for the second year in a row by Draftfcb's Black Employee Network Chapter (BEN) and the goal of the afternoon was to inspire ambitious high school students ranging from freshmen to seniors to consider a career in the exciting world of advertising.
 
The students spent the day with Draftfcbers and other professionals from across the IPG network. The great thing about being a mentor is not only introducing my mentee to the agency and fielding questions about our craft, but to have the chance to think back on what I would have done differently as a student or other options I may have taken as a professional, and then share those reflections with someone who is just beginning their own professional journey.
 
The mentoring group included staffers from technology, creative, strategic planning, human resources, new business and account management. After introductions, the evolution of tech was the hottest topic of discussion which was further fueled by everyone's excitment in visting the IPG Media Lab. As one mentee put it, "[His] favorite part was the media room because [they] were able to see how fast technology is advancing."

Mentors weren't short of advice throughout the day. Highlights included, “Always use your imagination,” “Never burn bridges,” “Make as many connections as you can,” “Enlist the guidance of mentors,” and finally, “Never give up, no matter who tries to deny you.”

The event was a tremendous success. It was nice to get a note from one of the mentees that said “The event was very beneficial for students who aren't sure what they want to be when they grow up and the mentors were very inspirational.” The sentiment only builds my excitement for next year.