While swipe files are a great place to start when you need inspiration to hit fast, we’re also big believers in learning from other people.

Normally, when people talk about mentoring, they mean long-term relationships with people who are 20-30 years ahead in their careers. And while formal structures like that can be hugely beneficial in terms of professional growth, they’re not the only way to help you get ahead.

In fact, DC has pushed us to broaden our view of mentoring in three different ways:

First, somewhat similarly to the traditional model, DC has armed our marketing team with two external advisors: Mike Volpe and Tom Wentworth. These local industry OGs who come to the office to work with us, share their ideas and give us feedback on a regular basis.

These visits are extremely valuable to the whole team, because being able to share our content and numbers with them and getting individual feedback really pushes us forward. It makes us aspire to that next level and work even harder to get there.

Second, we’re big on role models we don’t necessarily know but from whom we actively learn.

That’s why each person on the marketing team has at least a mental if not a physical list of all the people we’re currently studying and trying to learn from.

One of the greatest things about these kinds of role models is that you don’t have to commit to a long-term relationship with them like you normally would with a mentor. Instead you can — and should — keep changing them as you learn new things and progress in your career.

Third, we’ve realized that we don’t need a formal mentorship program in the company to learn from our co-workers. We simply surround ourselves with smart people, listen to them and observe them as they do their work.

Not everything has to be a formal process. You can learn a lot without having to go far out of your way.

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