As the V.P. of People Operations, Eleni Tio works hard to lead the Prosum human resource, talent acquisition, and marketing teams. But she’s quick to attribute her 20-year successful career path to a lot of help from her friends.
Eleni is a huge advocate for mentoring programs to nurture talent. She points out that 90% of employees who have a mentor are happy in their jobs. Eleni counts herself in those statistics, stating, “I have always hitched my wagon to good leaders.”
We interviewed Eleni and learned more about how mentoring benefited her career and her life. Here’s what she had to say in her own words.
In Her Own Words: Eleni’s Top Mentors Today and Yesterday
I joined Prosum back in 2012, but I have been very lucky to work with some amazing leaders throughout my career. It all started when I was an intern at Geffen Records and Lisa Finn took me under her wing. I ended up following her to Prosum, which is still hands-down the best job I ever had. Lisa ended up teaching me the field of human resources. I learned so much from her, but especially the need for disciplined processes and professional communication.
While Lisa was a huge influence, my other long-time mentor, boss, and best friend, Judy Carson, was always in my corner. While Lisa Finn showed me the nuts and bolts and the small details that make up HR workflows, Judy taught me about the people intuition and empathy you need for any professional leadership position—but especially in HR.
Bob Phillips is another mentor of mine from my years in the publicly traded multi-billion-dollar business world at Harris Corporation. Bob is the author of Absolute Honesty, which is a kind of manual for integrity and accountability in the HR field.
“I learned so much from Bob, but what really resonates is how he taught me to professionally tell it like it is and to love and promote healthy debate among leadership and your employees.”
Creating this kind of open candor has been nothing but a good thing for Prosum as an organization. But Bob isn’t the last mentor I should mention. There are so many:
- Sherry Adams taught me to bring my whole, authentic self to work—and that’s not only okay, but it’s also a best practice. She also showed me how to mentor other women in the workplace, something I still do every day.
- David Cunningham values intellectual curiosity and believes that the best employees have this trait. He showed me that sometimes the best answer comes in the form of an open question that can lend clarity when things get muddy.
- When I worked with Paul Eisner, he showed me how to build a tight, agile team where collaboration flowed smoothly.
Mentoring and being mentored is the most important thing I can think of to help a professional career grow. This supportive environment led me to 10 years and going strong at Prosum. Under the direction of our co-CEOs, Ken Aster and Ravi Chatwani, I’ve thrived professionally and personally. Over the years, Ken and Ravi trusted me to take on new opportunities even when I doubted myself. At Prosum, we all understand that it’s okay to make mistakes and learn, something that many people talk about but don’t always do. Our team has built something important here, a safe space for risk taking and ultimately, high performance and accountability.