Mentor Spotlight: Heather Campbell
Updated: Jun 26, 2019
Today we're talking to Heather Campbell,
Junior Account Manager and Data Analyst at C3 Metrics in Portsmouth, New Hampshire.
After receiving a double Bachelor of Arts in Communication & Media and Italian Studies from the University of New Hampshire, the Massachusetts native relocated to the New Hampshire seacoast and started her career with a local tech recruiting firm. After learning more about the tech industry and finding enjoyment in working with clients, Heather made a jump into the field of market research.
Hey Heather, could you tell us a little about your career path and what brought you to your current work?
It starts when I graduated from college. I was not sure what I wanted to do. I didn’t have a clear vision of my career goals going into my last year of school, which made me nervous. I think that is why I decided on a communications major as I figured reading, writing and interpersonal skills would help me out no matter where I landed. After school, I applied to a lot of odd jobs based on location and figured I was young and could try them out and at least I gave it a shot event if it was not the best experience. My first job was with a small boutique style IT recruiting company called TSP right here in Portsmouth. I really enjoyed it. The guys were awesome and the business style was great. It was not the same recruiting as some of my friends had landed in after school, with a lot of uncomfortable cold calling. We were not doing temporary placement; it was all permanent jobs so it was about relationships and felt to me like the way recruiting should work out. I liked it but it was not the thing I really wanted to be doing. The growth was not really there as far as professional or personal development.
After about a year and a half, I transitioned to a market research company as a Project Manager right in Greenland. I was also there for about a year and a half. That job was just the opposite of my experience at TSP. We have a lot of long days, travel and weekend work. While the work was great, the environment was not what I was looking for, especially after my last experience. At TSP it was more laid back. Here, there was a lot more individual work and I felt a lot more pressure day to day. I got to the point that I was looking when my position there was actually cut. It was tough at the moment but I was internally pretty grateful that I could start searching for a job full time.
One thing I learned between those two roles was how to become comfortable with numbers and data analysis. I felt so much more capable than I did in college. And now that is a big part of what I do here at C3 Metrics. I can review the numbers and figure out what we see there to tell our clients what is working, what is not and what looks good. I have been here since July and am now getting a new job title, which is really exciting. I also was able to go to my first real client visit recently and helped them with problem solving and completing a certification course - it was really great to be there for that. I like what I am doing. We are a new comer to the market. Market attribution is pretty new and our biggest competitor right now is Google. It is nice too because everyone sits here in the office and everything we do here has been built and grown organically in house. That creates an atmosphere where if you are willing to learn and willing to ask questions, there is so much opportunity to grow. The management team here is also great at pushing you in areas that are best for what the company needs but also what is best for your growth.
So how did you get into mentoring? How would you describe your approach, and what you try to achieve when working with mentees?
I was involved in a lot of organizations when I was in school and really none of them had a mentorship program. I am fairly self sufficient and I like to do trial by fire, but I always thought it would have been helpful to at least have someone I could talk to who had gone through similar issues that I was experiencing. So I knew eventually I would want to be a mentor. I did peer mentoring in high school for incoming students as a Jr. and Sr. and I was able to be there for students who were insecure or not sure how to address something. They could come to me as a resource and talk with someone who has been there and who has felt what they were feeling. Because of that intersection with students and industry I felt like this program was a really cool opportunity and wanted to apply. I also thought it was great that it was local and so working with UNH students was an added bonus for sure.
What’s the biggest buzz you’ve got during your time mentoring?
I do like meeting a person I am working with face to face. You can read in their expression how your meeting is going as far as what you are saying or even in the questions they are asking. Seeing a person relax and smile, that makes me feel good as I want to make sure that anything I am sharing is beneficial and putting them at ease. So physically seeing a person become more relaxed and comfortable as we work through issues and stories is a win for me.
What would you say that you get from mentoring, both personally and professionally?
It gives me another viewpoint to look at, as everyone’s path is a little different. The person I am working with in the current program for example - we are different stages in life. For me it helps to take a step back and reconsider from their view where I am and how I got here. It also helps me see what could be in my future and a different way I can approach my future. As they are seeing their future differently than how I was seeing my own at that point in my career. Considering that almost opens the door for me to consider additional possibilities.
One word -- verb, noun, adjective, adverb -- that describes a Mentor's role.
Powerful - because you have an opportunity to make an impact on someone.
Are there any tips you’d give to new mentors who are unsure what they’re letting themselves in for?
I would say to just be honest with the person that you are working with or being partnered up with. Be honest about what you can offer to them so their expectations can be met and ask them to be honest with you too. My biggest fear would be to make all kinds of future plans and then not come through on them. I would not want to let someone down as that just sets them up to assume they will have a similar experience from others in the future, which is not fair. So if your commitment level needs to be that you are in contact mostly via email with periodic phone calls – it is ok, just be honest about what that needs to look like for you.
You cannot pour from an empty glass so don’t tell a person you can do more than you can do.
And how about mentees who’ve never experienced 1-on-1 mentoring before—do you have any advice on how they can approach the experience to get the maximum benefit from it?
I would suggest that they ask questions or save questions somewhere in their phone or a notepad – or even draft an email once a week. There is nothing better than having a resource just for you in case things come up. I don’t think there is a question you can’t ask, that is silly or you should not ask. Asking questions is the best way to learn more but it may also spark an idea you didn’t have before and may change your perspective on something. It may also open ideas from your mentor as well. It is really the best way to learn so definitely don’t be shy and ask questions. It is also weaved into relationship building and you will have greater benefits for both of you if you can have open conversations without holding back and filtering your questions.
How do you think mentoring can help create an inclusive culture?
I think it inspires confidence especially since it is with young women in STEM fields and working with men and women that are in the tech and STEM industry as well. It has a really good chance to change their confidence. They are looking to get into fields that have not always been as diverse. You are seeing now that it is changing and you have a chance to help make more change. There is no reason to let yourself think you are not good enough or as good because they are a man or older than you - or any of those things we tell ourselves. It should be a great confidence builder for everyone involved.
Finally… funniest story from your career so far?
I attended a networking event in Boston earlier this year and got to know someone that actually quoted my CEO’s book to me before realizing where I worked. I personally found this funny because the event was geared toward women in research and C3 is not technically a research company and earlier that week in the office a few people were discussing how they ought to finally read Mark’s book themselves.
You can find more information on becoming a mentor and participating in our next program here.