November 11, 2022

Epstein wants to highlight the unique relationships we share in our global community of seasoned professionals. The strength of Epstein lies in the wealth of experience shared with each other to better equip our workforce with knowledge and confidence.

From building great professional relationships to long lasting friendships, these stories speak for themselves.

This month we are spotlighting Katie Self, Senior Marketing Coordinator and Meghan McShea, Marketing Coordinator from our Chicago Marketing/Business Development Department.

Katie has been a friend, resource, and mentor to Meghan since she joined the team helping her navigate and understand Epstein and the AEC industry.

Katie Self, Senior Marketing Coordinator, has nearly 15 years of industry experience with 8 of those years focused on marketing and business development. Katie was recently named to the Board of Directors for the Chicago Chapter of the SMPS—Society for Marketing Professional Services, the local chapter of the national organization dedicated to providing education, team building and networking opportunities for developing business opportunities in the AEC industry. Prior to Katie’s role in marketing, she also served as a Junior Specification Writer at Epstein.

Meghan McShea joined Epstein as a Marketing Coordinator this year. Prior to Epstein, she worked in the marketing department at a kitchen and bath design studio. Coming to Epstein, Meghan was excited at the opportunity to expand her knowledge beyond the residential realm and immerse herself in the multi-faceted design world that Epstein offers.

What is the biggest takeaway for you from this relationship?
For me, the biggest takeaway has been knowing I’ve been a part of someone’s, in this case Meghan’s, professional development. It’s been a fulfilling experience teaching her about Epstein and the industry. While she has similar experience working in a small studio, the AEC industry as a whole is a different animal. I have been fortunate to have had my own mentors, and it has been a pleasure to be able to return the favor.

Meghan: The biggest takeaway for me is knowing I have Katie as a reliable resource to gain insight into both the industry and my role specifically. It’s been invaluable having someone who is generous with her time and knowledge to answer all my (many) questions!

What did you gain from being a mentor/mentee?
I oftentimes think back to my mentors and the common traits among them: they demonstrate strong leadership, provide constructive feedback and hold an almost unwavering confidence in their role. Keeping this all in mind, I try to be an example of these traits so my mentee trusts the knowledge to move her career forward. It’s given me my own confidence in my career.

Meghan: Knowing that Katie has valuable professional experience and practical skills she’s honed throughout her career; it’s rewarding that she is willing to share that understanding with me.

As a mentor/mentee what experience(s) are you most fond of?
Getting Meghan involved in the Society for Marketing Professional Services (SMPS)! During the early days of my marketing career, SMPS gave me every single tool I needed to learn everything about a Marketing Coordinator from top to bottom. Meghan has been able to attend a couple of events with me, and I’m excited for her involvement to evolve alongside her role here at Epstein.

Meghan: I’d have to agree with Katie on this one! Within my first week here Katie was telling me about SMPS and the benefits its provided and continues to provide her throughout her career. After attending a few events and now becoming a member I am excited to have this group as a resource for continued learning, training, and networking.

In your opinion, how can mentors/mentees build a strong relationship with one another?
Having hobbies and interests or even beliefs in common outside of work. Creating a professional foundation takes a personal understanding of what attributes make a person tick. Creating that connection can only build professional rapport.

Meghan: I think making a conscious effort to foster an open, honest, and respectful environment sets the foundation for a strong relationship. Learning and understanding each other from a personal and professional standpoint is what can make the mentor/ mentee relationship so strong.

What are your secrets for a successful mentor/mentee relationship?
Communication is key above all else. As a mentor, I’m obligated to be available to my mentee but also avoid gatekeeping any essential wisdom or advice. Governmental and private proposal processes vary, as do messaging, images, themes and of course the administrative steps as well including obtaining signatures, completing forms and double checking the final deliverables. We also have specific standards for our internal and external communications which simply get easier the more often you work with them. These two overarching tasks require a combination of hands-on “doing” and plenty of verbal questions and answers. So whether it’s over the phone, in the office, or via email, communication is crucial to successful learning.

Meghan: Patience and listening skills! When in a mentee role I think it’s important to have patience and grace as you learn and evolve in your role. Ask questions and actively listen to how and why things are the done the way they are. It’s key to be transparent and open with feedback to truly take advantage of the knowledge and advice your mentor is offering you.