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Mentor MacIntyre pays it forward

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While finding her way in the highly competitive New York broadcasting market, Penny MacIntyre benefited from mentorship by an industry veteran. More than two decades on, she is paying it forward by helping entrepreneurs in the Ignite Bermuda accelerator programme.

Ms MacIntyre, a partner with Rego Sotheby's International Realty, graduated from New York University with a degree in journalism broadcasting.

She was accepted into an internship/work-study programme at CBS in New York, where she met Susan Zurinski, an executive producer on the programme, Eye to Eye with Connie Chung.

Ms Zurinski was among several mentors who helped Ms MacIntyre.

“She was fantastic, she taught me to research and be prepared for a meeting, whether that research was about a topic or a person,” Ms MacIntyre said.

“Susan also helped me with how to present myself, and how to understand your audience. She had a fantastic influence on my career.”

Ms MacIntyre, 48, mentored Nesi Armstrong, founder of luxury high-tech hotel pod business Capsule Bermuda, during the first Ignite cohort in 2019, earning an award from the programme as “Mentor of the Year”.

Prior to the second cohort, Ms MacIntyre was asked what “superpowers” she possessed so that she could be matched with suitable mentees. She replied: “Networking and putting people in touch with the right resources.”

Since January, she has been guiding Ignite entrepreneurs Andrea Sundt and Peter Lapsley, Thoshlae and Taylor Williams, and Kristen Scott-Ndiaye.

Ms MacIntyre also continues to mentor Ms Armstrong. “We talk about her business concepts and I help her to engage with the business community here, in particular landlords for her real estate needs,” Ms MacIntyre said.

“We talk about who to talk to, how to prepare for meetings, and what to have as takeaways from those meetings. We also talk about follow-through. What are you doing with the information people gave you?”

Ms MacIntyre said she meets weekly with her mentees. “It is a proper commitment, you get to understand their business,” she said. “You go to their store, if they have one, and you see their product or their vision.”

She said the connection between mentor and mentee can extend beyond a purely business relationship. “You are also their coach and their counsellor,” Ms MacIntyre said. “Life is part of everything we do, so if they have matters happening with their family, or are not feeling well, it is imperative as a mentor that you know about that element in each of your mentees.”

Ms Armstrong said Ms MacIntyre has taken a personal interest in their mentoring relationship, and she particularly appreciates and values her mentor's guidance, constructive feedback and motivational challenges.

She said: “Penny has demonstrated that she is dedicated, committed and invested in my success. I trust her judgment, and admire her warmth, leadership and strength.

“Working with her she was keen to identify my leadership qualities, understand my vision, assess my business proficiency and strengthen my business acumen. She has been influential in the implementation of my business strategies.”

Ms Armstrong added: “Ignite Bermuda cares about my professional development and I have gained a lifelong friend and supporter in the process.”

Ms MacIntyre counsels her mentees to become involved in the community. She is deputy chair of the real estate division of the Chamber of Commerce and the Bermuda Hospital Charitable Foundation, and sits on the committee of management of the Royal Hamilton Amateur Dinghy Club.

“Running a business, you have to get out of your comfort zone,” Ms MacIntyre chuckled. “I am not a great golfer, for example, but I will dress the part.

“I get to meet people who round me out. Boards are amazing because the people who sit on them are all experts, and I am able to volunteer and give back to the community simultaneously.”

Ignite is seeking to grow its network of mentors who have a broad range of skills and experiences and who have excellent interpersonal skills. Being passionate about supporting entrepreneurs is a must, the organisation said.

An Ignite spokesperson added: “Good mentor-mentee relationships are a two-way street. They require genuine interest, open collaboration and a willingness to commit to the process from both parties.”

Anyone interested in mentoring is asked to submit an application online via Ignite's website at, where you can find more information about the programme, or by sending an e-mail to

Paying it forward: Mentor Penny MacIntyre, right, with mentee Nesi Armstrong (Photograph by Akil Simmons)
Rewarding experience: Don McKenzie, chairman of Ignite Bermuda, with award-winning mentor Penny MacIntyre (Photograph supplied)
Nesi Armstrong: benefitting from Ignite Bermuda's mentor programme (Photograph by Akil Simmons)

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Published March 16, 2020 at 9:00 am (Updated March 15, 2020 at 6:52 pm)

Mentor MacIntyre pays it forward

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