The Power of Co-Ownership in Career Development

Megan Kessler

A former manager said it best: “You are in the driver’s seat of your career.”

That’s the truth, but achieving true ownership of your path can be a battle – especially in an agency setting, where masters can multiply across client and internal teams. So, while it’s easy to put the onus on the employee to “drive” his or her own professional growth, they won’t get very far without supportive leaders paving the way.

PR career developmentSource: used under CC license.

According to Human Resources consultant Josh Bersin of Bersin by Deloitte, truly supportive management offers regular goals setting, always-on coaching and modern performance management, among other things. Enter the career coach – that one, devoted individual who is putting their money where their mouth is when it comes to empowering your career aspirations. At PAN, every employee is set up with a career coach on day one, and it’s that leader’s job to partner with you in your growth – not only through shared client work, but throughout your 360-degree professional experience.

Just a few of the benefits of the career coach relationship include:

  • A quarterly cadence of goal setting, where you meet with your career coach to review progress against three-to-five individualized goals aligned to your level, your personal strengths and development areas.
  • Quarterly feedback cycles, where your career coach checks in with your account teams for firsthand insight on your performance, progress against the last quarter’s goals and new areas for growth. These insights are used to evolve your goals for the next quarter.
  • Monthly one-to-one meetings, where you and your career coach have an open discussion around your evolving interests, successes and challenges, and share best practices or identify further agency trainings.
  • Dedicated management. Every employee at PAN has a VP dedicated to their professional development, closely partnering with your career coach to manage your path and looking out for exciting new client, agency and development opportunities that align to your interests.
  • 360-degree performance review and “look back,” including direct feedback from your agency peers at all levels. This annual “look back” offers a holistic view of your progress, highlighting top achievements and ideas for your next stage of growth.

When it comes right down to it, there is only one proven path to professional success, and that is through partnership. It takes two (at least) to make career dreams come true, so finding managers who are dedicated and capable coaches is essential. At PAN, mentorship and dedication to our people are core values.

But don’t just take my word for it – ask our employees.

“The career coach program was one of the primary reasons I decided to join PAN – I was looking for that one-on-one mentorship and career guidance from somebody who was already established in the industry. Now, having worked here for eight months, I can confidently say this program is career-changing. It’s wonderful to have a mentor in a leadership position who has your best interests at heart. This person is your go-to for everything. They’re your support system internally, and there for you when it comes to career guidance - or even if you just need a laugh! It’s clear that PAN cares about their employees deeply and on a personal level, and this program is a great example of that.” 

  • Dana Trismen, SAE, Boston

“It’s pretty incredible to look back and think about how much I’ve learned from everyone here at PAN both from a media relations and client management standpoint. PAN has been able to strike a rare balance with its mentorship model, providing continuous, valuable support for employees at every level – from interns to supervisors – while also encouraging each person to challenge themselves and problem solve independently. There isn’t a day that goes by where I don’t feel supported by my supervisors, VPs and CEO, which is a rare quality to find at any company. Ultimately, PAN has been able to identify and draw out my best qualities – even ones I didn’t know previously existed – while also building up my areas of weakness to make me a more well-rounded PR professional and person. I just hope one day I can provide the same level of mentorship for my colleagues here that I’ve had the pleasure of receiving.”

  • Cameron Martin, SAE, Boston

“What sets PAN apart from other agencies is its dedication to hiring sharp, creative thinkers, and putting them in a position to succeed. I’ve never felt more supported by my teammates and senior leaders, while simultaneously being challenged to work outside my comfort zone. It’s a difficult balance to achieve in a fast-paced industry like PR, but PAN nails it.”

  • Michael Wood, SAE, Boston

“I’ve been with PAN for about 3 years, and the support I’ve received from my managers and VP has been incredible. From my experiences transferring offices to moving to the next level, I’ve always had an ear to talk through my concerns and decide what the next best step is. Having a go-to person through PAN’s career coach program has been a game changer.”

  • Lauren Winer, SAE, San Francisco

“As a recent graduate, diving into the working world can be both taunting and intimidating. PAN’s quarterly feedback process and career coaching makes me feel more encouraged to ask questions and seek advice.”

  • Grace Petro, AAE, San Francisco

 “PAN’s dedicated model is a true differentiator. As someone who has worked at previous agencies, I’ve never come across another model that is as hands-on and supportive as the one PAN offers. The dedicated team leaders truly care about the growth and career trajectories of each of their team members. It really is a partnership – working together with your dedicated team leader to identify the goals that best meet your specific career path. The shift to receiving feedback quarterly has made the process more open – I now have a clear understanding of what goals I’m marching towards and receive the feedback I need to keep learning and growing.”

  • Alex Evans, AS, New York

“One of the things I love about PAN is how much management cares about its employees and their futures. As with our clients, PAN is always thinking steps ahead when it comes to its personnel – creating initiatives to help us get where we want to be on our PR path. I feel very fortunate to have a dedicated VP that lives up to the meaning of the word and is truly committed to seeing us thrive – whether that’s helping us find our perfect role within the company or ensuring we have a healthy work/life balance. It’s these types of programs that separate jobs from careers, and at PAN, I see vast possibilities for my career.”

  • Staci Didner, Senior Account Executive, Orlando
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Topics: Culture

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