Mentor: Scott Bourke CAHRI
Current job title: Director of SB Consult Pty Ltd
Q. Tell us about your career history.
I was previously in management and HR roles in the public service, Australian Federal Police and Australian Defence Force. I now run my own consultancy, based in Canberra. I came to the HR profession somewhat later in my professional life, so I undertook postgraduate studies. I strongly believe in professional development and the concept of lifelong learning.
Q. Why did you decide to become a mentor?
I view AHRI’s mentoring program as a way of contributing to the broader HR profession. Plus I was a mentee myself some years back. AHRI has a pivotal role in guiding and developing future HR leaders, and the program is an extremely effective means of doing so. Being a mentor is also part of my own professional development. Many don’t realise that mentors learn just as much as the mentees.
Q. What have you learnt from Megan?
Megan brought innovative and perceptive insights into our discussions, particularly topical and ‘big ticket’ HR issues. She has focused my attention on some of the challenges that face younger HR professionals, and our discussions have been excellent opportunities for me to assess my own expertise and competencies. Together we’ve learnt the value of good conversation, over good coffee.
Q. What do you hope Megan has taken away from the mentoring experience?
I’d like to think I’ve been able to provide Megan with guidance on overcoming some of the everyday hurdles we face as a profession, as well as imparting some broader strategic HR understandings within both public and private sector contexts. I hope Megan has gained some insights for her own career path.
Q. What are your recommendations for mentees to get the most out of the experience?
The planning and scheduling of regular meetings is extremely important, as is regular contact via email and phone between meetings. I think the golden rule is to commit to the mentoring experience, and view each meeting as a two-way opportunity to exchange and learn.
Mentee: Megan Boyd CAHRI
Current job title: HR consultant at the Australian National University (ANU)
Q. What did you get out of the mentoring experience?
My initial aim was to learn about the ins and outs of being an HR consultant, pathways to transition from the public sector into the private sector, and the pitfalls and advantages of working for yourself. My mentor taught me a lot about those things, and I’ve also been able to discuss HR theories and ideas with him and learn ways to reframe my thinking from the operational to the strategic.
Q. What’s the most important lesson you’ve taken away from the mentoring?
My most important learning is that regular self-reflection is critical in order to grow from your experiences. It helps to ensure that you’re travelling along your chosen career path, rather than just drifting through the day-to-day work.
Q. How often did you meet?
We didn’t set a strict schedule, but rather met in person every few weeks. We caught up more regularly when there were particular challenges I wanted to discuss. When we were both busy, we would slot in some email discussions. The flexibility of the arrangement worked well for us because it never felt like an obligation.
Q. What’s your dream HR job?
To be an independent HR consultant, with a focus on providing creative solutions and adding value rather than maintaining the status quo. I love working on equity and diversity policy, facilitating training and undertaking workplace investigations, so my dream job would definitely incorporate all of those areas.
Q. What advice would you give a mentee wanting to participate in the program?
It’s really important to think about what you want from the program before you sign up. I took time to evaluate and articulate this. It paid off, as I was matched with a fantastic mentor who really enriched the experience.
Whether you are a mentee wanting to excel in your current position or a seasoned professional looking to develop your coaching and mentoring skills, AHRI’s members-only mentoring program will give you valuable insights from the sharing of advice, knowledge and experiences. The program runs over a 12-month period. Find out more information on the AHRI mentoring program.
This article is an edited version. The full article was first published in the October 14 issue of HRMonthly magazine as ‘Mentor. Mentee’. AHRI members receive HRMonthly 11 times per year as part of their membership. Find out more about AHRI membership here.