The Plank Center is committed to developing the next generation of leaders and advancing the profession. It is our honor to recognize six leaders whose commitment to mentoring generates a powerhouse of influence and accelerates success in our profession.
Our question and answer series introduces the 2015 Milestones in Mentoring award recipients.
Meet Danny Rubin.
As Vice President of Rubin Communications Group, a public relations firm in Virginia Beach, Virginia, Danny Rubin works with clients on a variety of local, state and national PR campaigns. He specializes in content marketing, video production and how to reach the millennial audience. Danny also maintains a blog, News To Live By™, which shows young adults the career and leadership lessons “hidden” in the day’s top stories. His columns appear regularly in The Huffington Post and Business Insider.
Danny is this year’s recipient of the Plank Center for Leadership in Public Relations’ “Milestones in Mentoring” Young Professional Honoree. This award recognizes young professionals who are up-and-coming leaders and already paying it forward. Danny shares his thoughts on the award, mentorship and offers advice to mentees.
What does it mean to you to be honored with the “Milestones in Mentoring” Award?
It’s gratifying to be part of the ceremony and share the stage with such accomplished public relations professionals.
I’m a young guy at the start of my career so I’m excited to learn from PR pros and meet new people in the industry. Thanks again to Ron Culp and the entire Plank Center team for affording me the opportunity.
When did you first realize you were a mentor and a leader?
From an early age, I found myself teaching and sharing knowledge I gained along the way. I came by it naturally. It’s who I am.
At every stop (high school, college and now as a young professional), I’m the guy you can count on to roll up my sleeves and do the job. It’s my work ethic that has made people view me as a leader because I’m willing to “get it done.”
If others believe my reputation makes me a “mentor” and “leader,” then I humbly accept both terms.
Describe your role as a mentor.
As a mentor, I am practical and businesslike. That’s because I coach working professionals on their resumes, cover letters, LinkedIn profiles and other communication challenges.
I provide the most value when I work one-on-one (or with a group) and help people draft and edit documents as well as act out conversations to teach smarter networking.
What is your biggest mentoring challenge?
Time and again, I find people have the necessary skills and talents to compete in the job market. They just don’t know how to “sell” their experience in the most effective way possible.
When I show people how to rely on short, personal stories in a job application, it can be a game-changer. It’s an “a ha” moment I love to observe.
Every challenge is an opportunity in disguise. I truly believe that.
What advice would you share with new mentors?
Stay within yourself. I don’t go around giving financial advice or home improvement tips. I am a writer, editor and communicator. That’s my identity, and that’s how I make an impact.
I also think it’s essential to test my advice so I know if my ideas have merit. I love my blog (newstoliveby.net) because I can always put my columns out on the web and monitor how they’re received. In a sense, I use the audience as a mentor.
What is your advice for mentees (young professionals, students, etc.)?
You have a story no one else can tell. All of your work experiences — the good, the bad and the ugly — made you who you are. Now you need to rely on the past to build the future.
That means infuse every job application and job interview with colorful anecdotes from your professional life. Let employers connect with you as a human being rather than “just another applicant.”
Also, send handwritten thank-you notes. A lot. To everyone who guides you along the way.
What inspires or motivates you to be a mentor?
I love to work with someone who feels defeated by the job market or their supposed “bad luck.” Once the person learns how to tell his/her story, doors begin to open. Each time, I know I played a key role in launching (or re-launching) the person’s career.
It’s such a special feeling, and it never grows old.
What advice did you receive from your own mentor that you will always pass along to others and why?
Throughout my twenties, I relied on many people in a mentor capacity. Now 31, I still ask for advice, feedback and critiques. So I haven’t burdened one person all these years — I try to spread the questions around.
One of the people, Pat Flynn, doesn’t even know he mentors me. That’s because Pat runs a website called Smart Passive Income and teaches people how to grow their own blogs and online platforms. Pat understands how to communicate with authenticity. People trust Pat because his advice is so genuine; he only wants the best for those who heed his advice.
If you’re authentic, the real “you” shines through. That approach makes all the difference in the job market and work world.
In short: just be you. The rest will fall in line.