Leadership & Mentorship in the Lives of Accomplished Millennials: Implications for Practice

Diana Martinelli, Elina Viktorovna Erzikova

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Through in-depth interviews with 25 award-winning millennial public relations practitioners in the United States, this study examined if and how mentorship (having a mentor and/or mentoring others), leadership development (learning about and/or practicing leadership), and organizational culture (professional formal/informal development practices) helped awardwinning millennial PR professionals succeed. <br><br>Findings suggest that these three factors – mentorship, leadership development opportunities and organizational culture – have the strongest impact over time. A cumulative effect is based on continual mentorship from a young age (e.g., parents, K-12 teachers, college professors, peers and organizational leaders), leadership development opportunities (inspired or provided by mentors starting at an early age) and an open and supportive organizational culture that rewards service in various forms and a desire for self-growth. This study also found that millennial professionals with high potential are not simply recipients but rather energetic pursuers of mentorship/mentoring and leadership opportunities, and the concepts of leadership and mentorship are intertwined in their minds.<br><br>Implications include discussions of areas of concerns that the 25 interviews revealed, including a lack of a firm grasp of communications ethics, the existence of a power gap that makes millennials leave the company and few (or no) development opportunities specifically designed for millennial professionals by their employing organizations.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-19
JournalPublic Relations Journal
Issue number20
StatePublished - Jan 12 2020


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