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By  Jessika  White,  Plank  Center    


Great  Mentors  Must  Have  Great  Mentees   Profile  on  Shelly  Lazarus       Shelly  Lazarus  is  this  year’s  Executive  winner  of   the  Plank  Centers  “Milestones  in  Mentoring”   Award,  which  honors  those  who  lead  by   example.  Shelly  has  always  focused  on   developing  people  she  works  with.  As  she  says,   “A  company  will  only  be  as  successful  as  the   people  who  work  for  it.”     When  asked  about  her  own  mentor,  Shelly  says   it  is  hard  to  pick  just  one,  as  many  have  had  a   profound  influence  on  her  life  and  career.  She   says  she  has  worked  for  and  with  many  distinct   leaders  and  mentors  and  reflects  on  the   significance  of  mentorship  in  her  first  job.  While   at  Columbia  University,  she  interned  at  General   Foods  (now  Kraft).  The  assistant  product   manager  and  the  associate  product  manager  left   to  serve  five  months  in  the  reserve  during  the  Vietnam  War  and  during  their   absence,  she  was  asked  to  fulfill  their  duties.  She  said  yes  but  only  if  the  boss  would   agree  to  sit  down  with  her  each  day  and  all  answer  any  questions  that  might  have   arisen  over  the  course  of  that  day.     In  return,  it  was  natural  for  Shelly  to  have  the  same  compelling  effect  on  her   colleagues  and  clients  throughout  her  career.  “You  first  have  to  accept  that   mentoring  is  important,  very  important.    It  should  be  a  part  of  everything  you  do,”   she  says,  adding,  “If  you  are  a  leader  of  a  team,  it’s  your  job  to  bring  people  along.   The  team  needs  to  understand  the  mission  to  achieve  success.”  Often,  Shelly  asks   thought-­‐provoking  questions  to  prompt  growth  and  learning.  For  example,  after  a   meeting,  she  will  discuss  with  a  colleague  how  a  certain  approach  or  strategy   specifically  shaped  the  meeting’s  success.     Shelly  commits  herself  to  finding  the  best  people  to  work  with  and  actively  strives  to   have  a  healthy,  supportive  company  atmosphere  where  valuing  clients  and  people   are  top  priorities.  Cindy  Luong,  communication  director  at  Ogilvy  &  Mather,  is  one  of   those  great  finds.  After  interviewing  with  Shelly  for  the  first  time,  she  immediately   wanted  to  work  for  her.  Fast  forward  more  than  10  years  later  and  Cindy  describes   Shelly  as  a  friend  and  sums  up  her  mentoring  characteristics  in  three  pillars:   authenticity,  generosity  and  commitment.  According  to  Cindy,  Shelly  “instills   confidence  and  is  a  great  leader  who  trusts  her  employees.”  

For  Shelly,  it  isn’t  just  about  being  a  great  mentor;  “It  is  equally  as  important  to  have   a  great  mentee  who  wants  to  learn  and  grow.”  Shelly  has  spoken  with  many   individuals  at  various  stages  of  their  careers.  Each  stage  brings  about  new  growth   and  learning  opportunities.  Shelly  says,  “Certain  moments  are  crucial  for   development.  When  and  how  to  take  advantage  of  those  opportunities  are  keys  to   success.”     Finding  time  for  mentoring  is  the  biggest  challenge  for  Shelly,  and  yet  she  doesn’t   hesitate  to  make  time.  Cindy  says,  “Shelly  will  never  say  no  to  Ogilvy,  the  people  of   Ogilvy  and  the  clients.  She  always  finds  time.”  Shelly  even  carves  out  time  to  write   thank  you  notes.     After  four  decades  of  impacting  the  lives  of  many  individuals  including  employees,   clients  and  anyone  who  has  had  the  privilege  of  meeting  Shelly,  there  is  no  question   she  is  the  ideal  recipient  of  the  Milestones  in  Mentoring  Executive  Award.  Learn   more  about  Shelly  and  the  mentorship  awards  program  as  well  as  the  additional   honorees  on  the  Plank  Center’s  website.    

Shelly Lazarus