N.Y. Ad Club Launches Mentoring Program

ADvantage Initiative Offers Connections at All Career Levels

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Looking to help advertising and marketing professionals at all levels, the Advertising Club of New York has launched a mentoring program called ADvantage Mentor Program. The initiative matches people with mentors, no matter what stage of their careers they're in, to help them grow and explore new options.

"The club has been doing this informally for many years, trying to connect people in the business to widen their business circle," says Gina Grillo, executive director of the ad club. "Given the state of the economy, there's been a real need to connect with people in the business regardless of the juncture in their career."

To participate in the program, which is sponsored and powered by Microsoft Advertising, people sign up online to be either a mentor or a mentee and are asked questions about who they are and what they're looking for. Advertising Club membership is not required.

So far, just a few weeks into the ADvantage program, more than 200 people have signed up, with mentors coming from companies such as BBDO, Discovery Communications, Google, Microsoft Advertising, Strategy Farm, the Vidal Partnership and The Wall Street Journal. Participants must be willing to make a six-month commitment of at least two hours of office time -- by phone, in person or through e-mail, plus a monthly phone call.

Given today's employment situation, the ad club sees this as a way not only to help people rise in their careers but also to explore new opportunities. "There are so many people who have been looking at one area of our business and want to dabble in a different area," Ms. Grillo says. "It's really important right now to use every resource possible."

In addition to educating people and networking, the ad club also says the program is a way for people to give back.

"This is a very interesting time in our business -- so much is changing," Ms. Grillo says. "The need to feel a sense of community and to reach out and exchange with people of different levels and different areas of the business is very critical. This is very, very essential right now."

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