Tuesday, December 22, 2009

The All-Important Plan B by Lyle Landon & Adrienne Blanks

The AWNY Mentoring pairing of mentee Adrienne Blanks, Account Executive at the New York Times, and mentor Lyle Landon, National Sales Director at NCI got off to a great start with a friendly phone conversation and plans to meet for lunch in January. As soon as they were seated, Adrienne announced, “I have some news, I’ve been laid off.”

Lyle, an experienced mentor, realized that her anticipated agenda would have to be scrapped to deal with this new, urgent development. Adrienne was adamant that she wanted to continue with the program, and that she would be relying on it even more to help her develop and execute a new short-term and long-term plan. When Lyle got back from lunch, she got the news that her position, among others, also had been eliminated, effective immediately. What a beginning!

Adrienne and Lyle continued to have mentoring meetings - in diners in NJ, in cafes in New York and then via phone conversations when Adrienne went home to Houston to explore employment opportunities there. They both encouraged one another to investigate other specialties within media, as advertising sales positions were continuing to disappear. Adrienne networked through colleagues and friends and worked as an Independent Contractor managing regional marketing promotions. Lyle, who had established her own company in 2007 for freelance sales and marketing projects, became an independent representative for her former employer and an out-of-home college media company. These were short-term solutions for both women, but important steps that generated cash flow and built confidence.

As of December, Adrienne continues to do contract work as a marketing manager and has launched theblvdmag.com, an online magazine catering to the lifestyle of the culturally aware twenty-somethings in the greater Houston area. Lyle’s client base has expanded beyond ad sales to include an outplacement services company, Bloomingdale’s, the US Census and a nonprofit dance company.

Adrienne said, “The AWNY mentoring program afforded me the opportunity to meet a dynamic mentor who helped guide me through this challenging year.” Lyle said, “I can’t wait to see what happens in the AWNY Mentoring 2010 program!”

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