Mentor of the Week: Lila Thomas


Marketing Manager | Chegg

Lila helps develop and execute SPURstartup’s go-to-market strategy. She has built high-profile programs to target and recruit millennial talent for companies including Chegg, where she currently works to create marketing campaigns that engage their student audience. When Lila isn’t dreaming up her next big marketing stunt, she’s teeing up for a round of golf or hiking with her dog, Dixie.

Advice for 1st time entrepreneurs

There can be two types of entrepreneurs: entrepreneurs and intrapreneurs. I'm the latter. Though I've never started my own venture, I've been around a lot of successful entrepreneurs which have taught me how to be a better intrapreneur. One great piece of advice that I've received, that I believe applies to both types of entrepreneurs, is never be afraid. This can mean many things - never be afraid to speak up in a room, no matter what experts are sitting in front of you. Never be afraid to ask questions, no matter what level of experience you are surrounded by. And never ever be afraid to go pursue a new idea. The thing that makes our society great is not only the desire for innovation, but the brave people who aren't afraid to go for it.

Biggest learning experience of your career

I was exploring different companies and job opportunities, and I learned about my now current boss and her role at Chegg. I immediately knew I wanted to work for her, so I reached out. I didn't know exactly what she needed from an employee on a day to day basis, but I showed her what I could do and how we could think about partnerships and innovation. I ended up getting hired a few months later. You never know what someone is looking for, in a partnership or employee. It was scary to reach out to someone who didn't even have to take the call, but in the end I landed my dream job.

How to be a great mentee

Being a great mentee means respecting the type of relationship, which is going to be different with every mentor. There's a difference between a mentor you're in touch with on a daily/weekly basis and one that you stay in touch with for the bigger, life/career changing moments. One really important thing to remember is that if someone is your mentor, it's because they want to help you. They know it takes a supportive network to achieve your dreams, and they want to help you get there. In return, they want you to support them! Cheer them on when they reach their big milestones or are recognized in their community. Mentors are often busy, but you can find ways to keep them updated on your life - whether that's via email, phone calls, or grabbing coffee. For me, I play golf with a lot of my mentors, which is a relaxing way to catch up and keep them posted on how I'm doing, without the conversation always focused on work. Remember, they care about you as a person, not just your job!