“What we can do versus what limits us.”
Kristin MacMillan, President, Imprint Plus has been associated with WEConnect Canada (Canada’s leading advocate of women business enterprises as suppliers), and is a core sponsor and mentor of the WEConnect Mentorship Program. At Imprint Plus, Kristin and other executives also put in their time and effort to mentor others. Imprint Plus’ mentoring program helps young talent learn about their roles and position, and allows them to work across departments on larger projects.
Kristin believes that mentoring is not only a learning process for the company, but also for herself. In this blog, we interview her to get a better understanding of her role as a mentor.
Did you have any role models or mentors who helped guide you through your career?
KM: I’ve had two or three. The tips I hold most dear, are for the importance of continuous learning, to continue to push myself and strive for more, and be my best. My mentors would consistently encourage me to look at situations from different angles. This particular skill allows me to open up to many possibilities, and my mentors would emphasize “what we can do versus what limits us.”
Can you name a person who has had a tremendous impact on you as a leader? Who’s provided mentorship to you?
KM: Marla Kott, our CEO. She has been a mentor to me since I began working at Imprint Plus fifteen years ago. Her exacting standards and her belief that I will always succeed motivates me to push myself beyond my expectations. The bar is always set higher, and this type of thinking has helped me to develop an outlook of possibility, rather than limitation.
What is the role of a mentor?
KM: As a mentor, your role is to see something that’s undeveloped in a person – an individual who needs a little coaxing to come out of their shell. Or, you might see somebody who has ambitions in a particular area, and they need coaching in order to achieve their potential. It’s simply giving back to other people.
Any recently attended events that encouraged you to tell stories and share your experiences?
KM: I attended the Office Depot Diversity Conference, in Boca Raton Florida in September. Office Depot is a company that shows real leadership in mentoring diverse companies. They take special care to ensure that diverse and women-owned businesses understand the opportunities that are there when revealing products early on. They don’t offer preferential treatment; instead, the focus is on helping them to recognize these opportunities. And that’s a great example of corporate mentorship.
KM: For Imprint Plus, the women-owned business and mentorship factor was not something that had occurred to me earlier. But as I’ve matured, I look back and realize I might have made some different decisions had I not had a mentor.
“Good mentors,” MacMillan says, “set goals with those they mentor, ask questions, do a lot [and I mean a lot of] listening, and create informal situations that allow them to introduce these individuals to other people in the company and within the industry. It can be a very rewarding experience.”
If you are interested in hearing more from our president on leadership and mentorship, be sure to check out next week’s interview blog post, part 2: A Mentor Is a Listener, Too.
To learn more about Imprint Plus as a certified Women’s Business Enterprise, please visit http://www.imprintplus.com/about/wbe/