The Plank Center recognizes and promotes the critical role mentors play in helping to develop leaders and advance the profession and honors leaders throughout the profession who, by word and deed, have demonstrated a superior commitment to mentoring others, and who are committed to accelerating the success of others in the field at its annual Milestones in Mentoring Gala. Our question-and-answer series introduces the 2023 Milestones in Mentoring award recipients.
Meet D’Anthony Jackson
D’Anthony Jackson is an author, founder, and award-winning marketer based in New York City.
He is a vice president and director, strategy at Ogilvy, where he is building a team of social strategists and creating dynamic work for the agency’s social and digital health offerings and clients. He is also an adjunct professor at Tulane University, where he built the first-ever influencer marketing strategy course and teaches mass communications.
Read on to learn what mentorship means to D’Anthony!
What Is One Powerful Thing You’ve Learned From Mentoring Someone?
You won’t always have the answers, but you always have your experiences and what you learned from them.
What Advice Can You Give Mentees in Our Profession Right Now So They Will Be Prepared To Assume Leadership Positions in the Future?
Learn as much as you can in every step of your career. Raise your hand when no one else will. Face challenges head-on. And lastly, look at your career as a building made with bricks. As Will Smith said, “Lay every single brick as perfect as you possibly can before moving to the next.” Be okay with making mistakes because that is when you learn the most.
What Do You See as the Differences Between Mentorship and Sponsorship, and How Do You Approach Each One?
A mentor is someone who provides guidance to a mentee professionally or personally. A sponsor is someone who actively advocates for professional growth. Both can happen simultaneously.
The way I approach mentorship comes in many forms, but ultimately, it depends on the needs of the mentee. Some people need a cheerleader in their corner, some need constructive feedback, others need real guidance and advice, and sometimes people just need a listening ear. All can also be true, but clarifying my role and setting expectations is important. I learned how to be a sponsor by watching a sponsor in action. I now approach sponsorship by building a genuine relationship with a person first, understanding their goals and aspirations, and publicly and privately advocating for their growth and new opportunities.
Now it’s time for some fun and rapid-fire questions!
What’s Your Favorite Way To Spend a Saturday?
I like calm Saturdays because my weekdays are so busy, so spending time with myself, my pup, friends and family.
If Given the Choice to Trade Places With Anyone (Living or Dead) For One Day, Who Would It Be and Why?
I would trade places with Kevin Hart for one day. He seems to have a pretty dope and fun life. And who doesn’t want to be unintentionally funny all day, every day? I would just laugh at myself.
Favorite Place to Vacation and Why?
Cape Town was one of my most recent trips, and so far, it’s been placed at the top of my list of vacation spots.
My leadership tip is… to be a good listener.
My mentorship tip is… to be open to feedback.
Every mentor is… human.
A lesson that took you the longest to learn… You don’t always have to explain yourself. The behavior can be rooted in a desire for validation and fear of judgment from others.
Habits in your daily routine that strengthen your leadership skills… reading, listening and communication.
Three things you do to inspire and encourage teamwork… A. Recognition and appreciation. B. Clear goals and vision. C. Open communication.