Interview Segments on Topic: Mentors
Angela Buonocore is senior vice president and chief communications officer for Xylem, a spinoff business from ITT Corporation. She is responsible for global brand and reputation management, public relations, employee communications, corporate advertising, community relations and corporate philanthropy.
INTERVIEWER: So you would see a role for mentoring in the workplace in ethics?
BUONOCORE: Yes. I think that mentoring is critical and particularly in jobs in the selling organization. In any jobs in purchasing where there’s negotiating that goes on. And clearly just even in this day and age, companies are not islands as we often used to be… you have to partner. Sometimes you compete with other companies in one arena and you partner with them in a different way. And you really have to understand kind of the rules of the road about how to do that. Even when you’re working together in industry and in trade associations, a lot of that, it doesn’t necessarily come naturally so you really have to understand and make it your business to understand that. It’s kind of like the road signs when you’re driving, you just really have to be able to understand when a flag goes up, when a light turns red and if you’re not sure, to go ask and get help. Some of the biggest mistakes get made; not from malicious intent, but just because people don’t really understand and they don’t ask and that can cause a lot of problems, not only for them personally, but for their corporation and many times—I’ve done a lot of reading on this and frankly I’ve experienced some of it too—many times it’s employees trying to do the right thing. For example, trying to speed a product to a customer, get a decision made quickly that they skip some steps that they shouldn’t skip in a process. It’s with every good intention.
INTERVIEWER: Sure, those are both virtues under normal circumstances.
BUONOCORE: Yes. And I think that that’s part of just really understanding what the rules of the road are and in order to do that, you have to be trained and you have to refresh that training, and particularly these days, because so many businesses operate globally. And operating on a global stage does create a lot of opportunity, but it also creates a lot of challenge that can get you into some murky waters ethically.