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      Mentoring with Jo Petroccia – a case study

      By Melissa Smith     

      Sarah, a then creative services manager at a creative and strategic communications agency, was looking to carve out a more senior, operations-based role for herself. Her big questions were: What would the role look like? and How do I position myself to fill it?

      After attending The Industry School’s Resource Management workshop, Sarah made contact with our MD and trainer, Jo, to talk about her challenge. Together, they arranged a programme of mentoring to help Sarah achieve her goal.

      We caught up with Sarah and Jo to find out how it went.

      The Industry School (TIS): So, Sarah, why were you looking to make this progression?

      Sarah: I was a creative services manager and wanted to move up in my agency to a senior position in operations. I wanted to help shape and direct the vision of the agency. For this, I needed to work closely with the senior management team and get a more holistic view of the business. I also wanted a better understanding of the operations function and its importance for the agency. Having no one else in the agency that does what I do, I turned to Jo for knowledge, inspiration and help.

      TIS: How did things progress from there?

      Jo: Firstly, we had to define an operations role that Sarah could sell to her management team. We identified the key challenges the role would address and put together a presentation setting out the key challenges, the solutions to those challenges and a longer term operational strategy.

      Sarah: We had four ninety-minute 1:1 sessions over the course of two months – with lots of email and telephone contact between those sessions. Jo helped me prepare my aims and objectives ahead of the first session and we worked through these, picking out priorities, solutions and ways to approach my ideas with the senior management team. At the end of each session Jo followed up with notes and ‘homework’ for the next session. We spent the first part of each session going through the homework, before naturally moving onto other topics. In every session, Jo helped me work out – in real detail – how to achieve my goals.

      Jo: I didn’t give Sarah any answers. My job was to help her look at things differently so she could see the bigger picture. And, because she was looking to move from creative services into an operations role, there was a strong commercial element all the way through.

      TIS: And the upshot was… ?

      Sarah: Jo really helped me stand back from my day-to-day job and look at the bigger picture. She gave me the confidence I needed to back myself and discuss my ideas with my senior management team. What I learned from Jo also helped me put new processes in place at the agency – and I’m already seeing the benefits of these in terms of efficiency and morale. On a personal level I also feel much more motivated. And, yes, I got that new role and job title: head of creative operations.

      TIS: Final thoughts?

      Jo: I remember Sarah always telling me how much she looked forward to the sessions and how useful she found them. It was great seeing her get so motivated to go out and get what she wanted. It’s even better now to see her loving her new role.

      Sarah: Jo is the font of all knowledge. She’s genuinely interested in how I’m progressing and drops me a note from time to time to see how I and the agency are getting on.

      Does your career need a shot in the arm? Get in touch to discuss mentoring with Jo or bespoke training for your organisation. Alternatively, book your team’s places on our next Resource Management Workshop right now.