Women in Comms: Have you had a sponsor or mentor who made a lasting impact on your career?
Micaela Giuhat: Yes, I did have one who made an absolutely lasting impression on me. I have had two, but the first was at Newbridge Networks. It was my first product management job. My mentor was an extremely tough lady, but lovingly tough. I respect her and she was instrumental in showing me the ropes and the secrets of product management.
Then I was lucky enough with another startup company here in Texas, the first one that I joined, and the GM was a very good man who helped me quite a bit to understand the environment, and gave positive feedback on everything that I was doing. It's very important that you provide some criticism or some feedback in such a way that people feel are proud of their work and want to get better. And that's exactly what he did.
WiC: What would you say are some important qualities in a mentor? It sounds like giving constructive criticism would be one.
MG: There are several important qualities – giving constructive feedback and criticism is important, and giving it often along with praise.
For me, and I think for many people, not only women, it's very important to feel valued in more than the monetary advantages that you get in a job – it makes you to want to do better and do more for the company and for the people that you work with. My mentors were extremely friendly and open, so it wasn't only a strictly professional relationship, it was a truly friendly relationship.
I thought that was very important because most of these relationships are very, very professional, and you step out of that and you realize you don't know anything about the people that you work with. That's not the case with these two individuals.
WiC: What's your best piece of professional advice that you've received in your career or that you would offer to other women in comms?
MG: You can't choose your manager and when you don't like your manager – there will be times where you won't like your manager – that doesn't mean that you have to change companies. Managers come and go – you need to make it work on your own.
— Kelsey Kusterer Ziser, Senior Editor, Light Reading