Lesson 3: Empower and Invest in Others

Lesson 3: Empower and Invest in Others

NST’s New Learning Manifesto Continues Legacy of Mentorship

This column is part of a 2024 series celebrating learnings from NST’s 50 years in business.

“What happens if we train them and they leave,” asked one agency leader to another. “What happens if we don’t and they stay?” his colleague replied.

I heard past NST President Bill Trumpfheller tell this tale at least a half dozen times. It stuck with me. Bill knew what I now know myself: investing in your people and helping them grow is not only the right thing to do to keep them passionate and engaged, but also makes good business sense. This is true now more than ever, as the world is changing rapidly and constantly evolving one’s skills is not only a “nice to have” but rather a “must have.”

Early on in my career, Bill invested in me through his time, and offering professional development and education opportunities. Kerry Tucker took me under his wing like no other, becoming an influential mentor I still rely on for support. The culture of mentorship ran deep. In fact, my biggest mentors early on were not necessarily Bill or Kerry, but rather account executives or senior account executives who took the time to help me grow. That investment in my learning was coupled with empowerment to put my skills to the test through new opportunities.

Today, the legacy of mentorship, investment in and empowerment of others continues in new ways, with programs like our ongoing professional development sessions; our Exploration Fund, which allows NSTers to pursue outside education and passion areas; and our ongoing commitment to learning and teaching. While learning and teaching has always been embedded in NST, we recently put pen to paper on our learning and teaching philosophy, which was vetted and refined by our full team.


I am here to learn and grow, and help others do the same. This means being curious, and seeking new skills and opportunities. It means a commitment to quality, constant exploration, raising my hand for new experiences, embracing learning moments no matter how big or small, and asking questions. It means not being afraid of candor in giving and receiving feedback, and recognizing that each person is both a learner and a teacher with unique experiences and perspectives.

It also means openly sharing my learnings with others, slowing down, explaining decisions and recognizing the significance of my role among a constellation of mentors, who, together, hold the key to achieving big things. It means taking the time to meet people where they are and sharing my knowledge with kindness and in a way that resonates. It means knowing that the only way to truly live our vision to Redefine PR is to put learning and teaching at the heart of all we do, and that, along the way, we each become the best versions of ourselves.

Like many modern-day NST initiatives, the foundation for how we operate today is rooted in the lessons learned from our past, which will continue to guide us well into the future. Read about other lessons learned during our 50-year journey.