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The importance of mentoring

Part 2

In part one of this blog, I outlined the advice given by a panel for Women In Travel recently. In this section, I will look at the outcomes of the mentoring session that followed.

For me, Arabian Travel Market (ATM), Dubai used to mean working through the night to write, edit and approve numerous pages of copy, that would be sent to the printer’s by 2am, for distribution by 9am the following morning to all show exhibitors and visitors.

In another life, I was the Editor of TTG (Travel Trade Gazette) Middle East & North Africa. As the official media partner of ATM, TTG MENA launched the show dailies. Once a year, I went from producing a monthly magazine, with an average pagination of 60 pages, to churning out three dailies on site, topping more than 100 pages each in their prime, as well as delivering that month’s bumper ATM issue, with a limited team and to very tight, inflexible deadlines.

The pain and sleepless nights were worth it, as we watched the dailies increase in size and popularity each year, as more exhibitors wanted to get involved and feature their success stories.

I remembered all this as I attended ATM this year – not as an editor (I crossed to the ‘dark side’ of PR several years ago), but as a mentor, to women in travel. What experiences could I share with young women, entrepreneurs and those with business challenges, that would really benefit them and help shape their decisions?

As it turned out, I learned a lot from the women I was surrounded by, who shared their stories on how they are developing new, or established, businesses to keep up with the times and reach the right target audiences. There were participants from Russia, Kazakhstan, the UAE, the UK and countries, but they all shared a common thread: as female professionals, we face similar challenges in the workplace that test our confidence in our own abilities, despite all evidence to the contrary.

Just meeting like-minded people and sharing information, experiences and advice, gave me a new spring in my step, not least as I left ATM with not a page of copy in sight!

Sarah Longbottom is Director of Strategy & Planning at Cicero & Bernay Public Relations, an independent PR agency headquartered in Dubai offering new-age public relations consultancy to the UAE and across the MENA region. | www.cbpr.me