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Tips I Wish a Mentor Had Told Me

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Lisa Murray (second from right) with other mentors at a WISE Within NYC Metro group session.

As I have thought about the enriching experiences I’ve had as a WISE Within mentor, I realized that while I’ve had the great fortune to have many positive and powerful influencers in my career, I never had a true mentor.

That prompted me to ask myself: What guidance would I give myself if I could rewind my career?

Here’s my short list:

Work abroad full-time

My role with a global company and for global clients has afforded me numerous opportunities for short stints (two to eight weeks), all over the world ... but what if I had taken a permanent position overseas? My career path would have been a bit more robust AND my personal and professional experience would have been even more exciting than it was.
Tip: Go global if you can!

Learn a language

Multi-language capability will only grow in value as a powerful career accelerator. Sure, I can order a croissant in Paris and order sushi in Japanese ... but what if I had obtained fluency in a language? My new business success may have exceeded anyone’s expectations!
Tip: Become fluent in a language; learn while commuting!

Keep a journal

Even if you never plan to write your memoirs (more good advice in its own right), keeping a diary across the arc of your career will help you learn from your achievements, your failures and, more importantly, remember the fun! Despite an effort to save mementos and credentials from the events I managed ... what if I had documented my experiences? My lost luggage episode in Hong Kong with my meeting only an hour away ... the meals I ate ... and the bout of food poisoning I received in return ... I actually could write a book!
Tip: On the plane home, open up your laptop and write a few paragraphs about your experience.

Take up golf at an early age

It may sound like a cliché, but golf is a great platform for business networking. I often think ... what if I had really learned how to play? Would I have met more interesting people? Could I have obtained more new business, or built better relationships with colleagues or managers?
Tip: Learn the game of golf — it’s a powerful career-building asset.

Enjoy the sights along the way

I have encircled the world numerous times and visited most of the world’s capitals. But, in the press of business, I did not take enough personal time to enjoy my travels. It doesn’t have to be days but ... what if I had taken the time to visit the Great Wall and a few Great Shops?
Tip: Do a bit of research before you go and pick one or two “tourist attractions” to get a better sense of the culture.

By no means read this as a list of regrets. Actually, I still can apply all of this advice to improve and enrich the balance of my career and add chapters to my future book, although a reality check tells me that I’ll never be a threat on the links!

Lisa Murray

About Lisa Murray

As Executive Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer of Octagon Worldwide, Lisa Murray oversees the agency's strategic marketing initiatives and longstanding consulting clients MasterCard Worldwide and Allstate. In addition to her client responsibilities, she works with Octagon offices in the U.K., South Africa, the Asia/Pacific region and South America on business development. Recognized by Sports Business Journal and The Sporting News as one of the most influential women in sports marketing, Murray has applied her expertise in developing and implementing integrated event marketing strategies for clients across a number of major sports platforms, including the Olympic Games, FIFA World Cup, the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, professional golf, Major League Baseball and college football. A frequent speaker, Murray has conducted workshops on industry issues at the University of Delaware and Yale University and currently serves on the Sport Management Advisory Board at the University of Michigan. A graduate of the University of Delaware, she was a partner for four years in an Atlanta-based sports marketing firm until its acquisition by Octagon’s predecessor agency Advantage International.

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