Three Questions with Courtney Harris ’13 and Djenaldbeth Louis ’20 MS
Courtney, a graduate of the School of Communication and digital marketing manager, and Djenaldbeth, a current master’s student in the Medill School of Journalism’s Integrated Marketing and Communications program, connected in April 2019 via the Northwestern Network Mentorship Program. Utilizing the full breadth of the program, Courtney has been a mentor, mentee, and mentor circle leader through the program. Read below to learn more about their mentorship experiences.
- What motivated you to join the Northwestern Network Mentorship Program?
Courtney: I’ve always wanted to give back to my community and make some sort of impact. When I found the Northwestern Mentorship Program, I was excited about the level of personalization in the system that both mentors and mentees had for searching matches. While getting any type of guidance is great, I knew it would benefit not only myself but my mentee to have the opportunity to match with someone that he or she could relate to. Conversations and meetings are much more fruitful knowing that I can speak on experiences that can relate to hers.
Djenaldbeth: Being new to the Chicago area, I wanted to connect with someone that had experience within the marketing/advertising industry. Since I was transitioning in, I knew I needed guidance and someone to seek advice and learn from.
- What have you gained, personally and professionally, from being part of this program?
Courtney: Professionally I have gained an opportunity to better articulate the work that I do, as well as learn about different opportunities from my mentee. On the flip side, I’ve been able to talk through career challenges with my mentor and get his insight on how to navigate situations based on his experiences. Personally, I’ve gained a sense of fulfillment with being able to see Djenaldbeth flourish and make connections beyond myself. My tribe has also been willing to meet with my mentees and help them get additional perspectives. Each encounter has taught me something and overall the experience has been amazing.
Djenaldbeth: Professionally, I’ve gained connections that have helped to build my network—valuable connections that shaped the direction of my career path. Personally, I’ve gained perspective that has developed me as a person. Being a black woman, it’s sometimes difficult to navigate unfamiliar situations, and Courtney has showed me how empowering being who you are all the time is to my development.
- What is the best career advice you’ve ever received?
Courtney: The best career advice that I’ve received is to always be vocal about your goals and desires, more casually said, “Closed mouths don’t get fed.” Advocating for yourself is so important because no one else will do it. Although people are likely to be in your corner, it’s important to remember that it is business and people often can only do so much. Push for yourself and make your voice heard!
Djenaldbeth: The best career advice I ever received was to know your worth and never settle. This was not something Courtney said but what she exudes every day. Through conversation with her about her experiences in the industry, I constantly see how understanding what you provide fuels what you’re willing to do and not do.