Younger employees help senior executives unlock social media mystery

Both groups benefit in reverse-mentoring programs

From 10/25/09 Chicago Tribune Online
By Barbara Brotman

Janet Cabot couldn't wait to show Ashley Spohn her latest accomplishment.

"I am so all over this Delish thing," Cabot bubbled, punching up on her computer in her office at Edelman, a Chicago-based public relations firm.

"Oh, you're doing so well!" Spohn said delightedly, counting the recipes Cabot had collected on the food lovers' Web site. "Look, you've got so much!"

Her pride was as evident as the exchange was notable. Though Cabot, 56, is Edelman's central region president with more than 30 years in the business, she is the student. Spohn, a 23-year-old account executive on the firm's digital team, is the teacher.

Many organizations eager to strengthen their presence in the online world have discovered that they have the perfect consultants on their staffs: 20-somethings who live in that world.

"We grew up with social media," said Matthew Clay, 23, a media executive at Edelman. "We spent eight hours every day on AOL IM." For more of this article, click here!


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