January is National Mentoring Month, a campaign launched in 2002 that focuses attention on the need for mentors and promotes opportunities for those who want to get involved. This month, we’re talking to local leaders about their mentors and which mentoring organizations they’re supporting.
LaToya Evans, head of corporate PR, Ally Financial; founder, LaToya Evans Public Relations, LLC
LaToya Evans has crafted communications for some of the world’s most notable brands, including Walmart, IBM and Cisco. With her boutique PR firm, Evans executed communications for Mayor Vi Lyles during her 2017 mayoral campaign. She keeps the same intensity with her philanthropic work, serving on the city’s community relations committee and the advisory board for M&F Bank.
Building relationships and perfecting her skills help the Fayetteville native stay on top of her game. Through it all, she remembers the importance of mentorship.
Which mentor has made the biggest impact on where you are today?
I find mentorship extremely valuable. I’ve never used just one mentor but rather a personal ‘board of directors’ I consult for advice and guidance. I’ve also not limited my mentors to just one particular field, and they tend to be professionals I’ve met throughout my career – whether I was a college intern or taking on my first manager role.
I enjoy learning from those who have different backgrounds and strengths because with that comes a different perspective and approach. I’ve also had great influence from my family including my father and uncles who instilled in me a strong work ethic, business principles and the importance of your word.
What’s the best advice they gave you?
The best advice I’ve received from my mentors goes back to the value of hard work and perfecting your craft. As long as you work hard and continue to improve your skillset, the next step, promotion or opportunity is never out of reach. But first, you must make sure that you’ve done your part. My mentors emphasized the importance of relationships and making sure that as you ask for resources from others, you’re also willing to give your resources.
What’s a local mentoring organization everyone should know about?
Pop-Up Mentor is a great professional mentoring organization. While it’s focused on women, the group announces 10 new ‘mentors’ each month for participants to choose from. What I love about the concept is similar to having a personal board of directors – the understanding that learning and mentorship don’t have to be exclusive to a particular profession or skillset, but that you can always learn from the experiences of others.