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My Mentoring Experience - Patrick McCrae

Patrick McCrae (History, 2009) is the CEO of international art agency Artiq. We spoke to him about his experience of mentoring Laura Xu (Creative and Cultural Industries, 2022), who has recently started working as the Foreign Rights Manager for Watkins Media Limited.

An image of Patrick McCrae, CEO of Artiq and King's College London graduate. He is wearing a blue suit and bowtie.

Why do you mentor with King's?

I established my company after leaving King’s and have been lucky enough to have had several mentors who have genuinely shifted the dial on my career and the future of my business. I understand the importance of seeing different people’s career trajectories when wanting to work out the purpose of your own work and therefore joined the mentoring programme at King’s in 2019 to help give back.

 

How have you benefited from your mentoring experience?

I have been mentoring with King’s for a few years now and have met universally engaged and inspired students whose take on the world and their future is so refreshing. And, in answering questions and talking about my own journey I have learned a lot about my own drivers, and myself.

 

Why do you think mentoring is important?

Doing life and building a career is not a new thing. Why struggle to figure out how things work when you can talk to people who’ve done it before, who have a vested interest in ensuring their own sectors and industries continue to attract the best talent? It’s genuinely a win win.

 

What do you think are good qualities to have as a mentor?

I think there are three important qualities to being a mentor. The first is to listen and try to rid yourself of your own assumptions. The second (and I realise the irony in giving advice here) is to not give direct advice; it can be so tempting to see a problem and try to “fix” it, but it’s not your career, it’s theirs. And finally, be generous with your network.

 

Why struggle to figure out how things work when you can talk to people who’ve done it before, who have a vested interest in ensuring their own sectors and industries continue to attract the best talent?– Patrick McCrae

Do you have any advice for aspiring mentors, or those who might have just started mentoring someone for the first time?

I remember worrying about what I was going to say, so I wrote a list of a few things I felt I could help with. That list of “things” ended up being a full year of mentoring meetings.

What would you say to recommend mentoring to other alumni?

Honestly, I think anyone who is hiring, managing or has a general interest in the future of society should spend some time mentoring the next generation. It’s not only the right thing to do, it will help you understand your own horizon.

What (or who) has had the biggest influence on you to help you achieve your success?

I’ve been incredibly lucky to have come from a family of entrepreneurs, my mother is an artist, and my father has run businesses. They are both self-starters and I like to think that rubbed off.

How can King’s Connect help?

Ultimately, it’s a LinkedIn for King’s students and alumni, which is great. You can network with alumni, find events to attend and even mentor current students to help give back to the King’s community.

 

King’s Connect is a networking platform that allows both students and alumni to connect to the wider King’s community and expand their professional network by building long-lasting relationships. Sign up today at kingsconnect.org.uk

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