A year before she started the Communications Director Mentoring Program, Rilda Means was transitioned into the Communications Team at Red Cloud Indian School. “I had no prior work in the communications field at all, and so it was overwhelming trying to wrap my head around what the communications team does,” says Rilda, who had extensive experience with the school in other departments. “I was placed into a director position, so I wanted to understand and learn how to keep the communications team machine moving while also trying to be helpful to the other teams in our organization that needed communications to do their work.“
Rilda found that learning from her fellow communications directors in the program was especially helpful. “Listening to their struggles and discussing items that have helped them in their positions truly helped,” says Rilda. “Understanding the ‘trial and error’ or ‘trial and success’ of others has really given me the confidence to do this communications work.” Understanding that she was not alone in facing the challenges was also an important realization. “You gain friends and knowledge and a great mentor in Kivi,” says Rilda. “There was never any pressure to understand everything all at once. You have the opportunity to grow at your own pace.”
Rilda’s team has implemented many of the tools discussed in the Mentoring Program, including outlining team goals and setting up an editorial calendar. “It truly helped us become a well-oiled communications team machine,” says Rilda.
Before the Mentoring Program, Rilda admits that she wasn’t really sure if communications work was right for her. After the program, she says, “I definitely feel differently now. I am confident, I feel like I understand more, and I am looking forward to enjoying the communications work. I’ve gained the tools and the knowledge to keep growing in this work and in myself. This program has helped self-empower me and that is the most important thing I am walking away with.”