Guiding Light

We Asked The Project Management Community: How Did A Mentor Help Take Your Career To The Next Level?



“My mentors have provided many valuable insights on how to write my résumé, how to interview and how to shoot for a position that might have been over my head at the time—so I could learn new things and prove that I was capable. They've recommended all sorts of professional development and networking with the intent of making me my best self.

Recently, one of my mentors recommended that I earn a certification. So I signed up and started training the same day to quickly open new doors for myself. As soon as I put on my LinkedIn profile that I was pursuing the certification, I started getting calls from employers asking when I'd be done with the training—there was a lot of work in that area. Jackpot!”

—Annette Suh, PMI-RMP, PMP, senior IT project manager, Boeing Employees Credit Union, Seattle, Washington, USA


“My mentor took a true step-by-step approach. He guided me toward courses that helped me build the necessary knowledge to eventually take on roles of program and portfolio management. He had me shadow the portfolio manager of a large customer account so I understood that role's responsibilities and deliverables. And when it came time to manage a program, he had me take over a program comprised of just three projects—the small size was appropriate for starters. I've been a portfolio manager and a program manager, and all these steps helped me to grow into those roles.”

—Duraideivamani Sankararajan, PMI-ACP, PMP, program manager, IBM India, Bengaluru, India


“The biggest benefit I gained from my mentor was how to see another person's viewpoint. One does not have to agree with everyone, but the ability to understand others with a different viewpoint is critical. Opening my eyes, ears and feelings to what was going through my customers’ minds and understanding other people's perspectives has allowed me to move off the vertical, functional services delivery career path and into more of an executive path.”

—Nicholas Errico, PMP, PgMP, PfMP, services account manager, GDT, Dallas, Texas, USA


“My mentor taught me that—whether it's life or projects—being organized makes a difference. Early in my career, this advice didn't make much sense because tasks were straight-forward and I preferred to do urgent tasks first. However, as time passed, I found myself struggling to meet deadlines. Important tasks were left behind, and, over time, they became urgent. This turned out to be an endless, exhausting loop.

Then I recalled my mentor's advice and started to organize tasks based on not only urgency but also importance. This helped me meet deadlines and increased my ability to handle multiple projects in an efficient manner. Since then, my career flourished and senior management became confident enough to assign me new responsibilities. Now I dedicate five minutes every morning to sorting my priorities. A small piece of advice can be so effective in the long run.”

—Bhavik Patel, senior executive engineer, Linde Engineering, Vadodara, India


“Early in my career, my mentor coached me on many aspects—primarily career, people and life values. I was extremely fortunate to be mentored during a time when I needed to make many life-changing decisions. He would advise me on challenges and opportunities ahead, enabling me to make an informed decision. When I fell down, he was often there to encourage me to get up and continue climbing. As a result, I was able to accelerate my career and achieve my aspirations—one of which was to move abroad to find opportunities that matched my career skills and aptitude.”

—Prem Nair, PMP, senior IT project manager, Kaiser Permanente IT, Pleasanton, California, USA


“When I was working in IT media and communications, my mentor—also the CEO of the organization—told me that I was in the wrong profession. He noticed that I was planning and executing fine, but I wasn't happy. During a heart-to-heart talk, he advised me to look for a profession that I would love every single day of my remaining work life. That's when I discovered PMI's Project Management Professional (PMP)® certification. I obtained it and have never looked back. I now work on IT infrastructure projects and large programs—and the excitement of the unknown at the start of each day keeps me coming back for more.”

—Debangshu Ghose, PMP, senior project manager, Hewlett-Packard Enterprise, Pune, India

Ready to Grow

Across the globe, millennials who have a mentor say it has a positive impact.


Of those people:

94% say the mentor provides good advice


91% say the mentor is interested in their personal development


83% are satisfied with the mentoring



Among millennials who intend to stay with their organization for more than five years:


Source: The 2016 Deloitte Millennial Survey, Deloitte

How has a mentor improved your career development? Share your best advice on the PMI Project, Program and Portfolio Management LinkedIn Group.



Related Content

  • PM Network

    Sustaining Strategy member content open

    PM Network asked the project management community: How do you ensure team members think strategically during all project phases--and speak up if they think the business case has weakened?

  • PM Network

    Pick up the Pace member content open

    By Rockwood, Kate David Barbieri, PMP, knows how to put the pedal to the metal. When he was given 12 months to complete a construction project that would normally take 24, he didn't roll up his sleeves and start…

  • PM Network

    Banishing Burnout member content open

    We asked the project management community: What steps do you take to ensure team members aren't overwhelmed by the project workload? In addition to project management practitioners responses, global…

  • PM Network

    Stop the turnover member content open

    By Alkhatib, Sam Millennials, those born between the early 1980s and mid- 1990s, are noted for their high job turnover in many parts of the world. In Australia, for example, employees between the ages of 25 and 35…

  • Leadership and team dynamics in the new millennium member content open

    By Raghupathy, Shobhna There is a pronounced shift in the demands confronting organizational leadership, and these changes are a reflection of shifts in the global marketplace. With globalization, companies need to…