AHRI’s mentoring program: Josie Thomson and Daleen Van Der Merwe


Mentor: Josie Thomson

Current job title: Trainer and mentor at Josie Thomson

Q. Tell us about your career history.

I began working for the State Bank of Victoria, then moved to the tax department of BHP Billiton. Then I somehow ended up in HR leading learning and development for BHP Coal in the late 1990s.

I began my own business in executive coaching in 2001 and have never looked back. I’ve always been interested in what enables people when faced with adversity, and how to encourage people to unleash their full potential and live life to the fullest. I became an ambassador for Childhood Cancer Support in 2014, and my work has been recognised on the global stage. It’s an honour and a joy to be doing something I truly love every day.

Q. How did your mentoring relationship come about?

Daleen and I were matched by AHRI, and there was an instant synergy between us. I knew we were going to achieve much together.

Q. What have you learnt from your mentee?

I learned that women are capable of juggling many roles and priorities extremely well when they practise discipline and healthy boundaries. Daleen and I both completed masters studies in the past three months and have enjoyed successful professional careers. Daleen is an ambitious woman, keen to make a difference and keen to add value to whatever she sets her efforts towards. She has shown me just how much a woman with fierce focus, spirited action and grit can achieve.

Q. What do you hope your mentee has taken away from the experience?

I hope Daleen has gained value from allowing herself to receive genuine care and support. Daleen is an extremely competent professional. What Daleen most needed to achieve her goals was capacity, drive and discipline. All I did was shine a light to remind her of the bright spark she already is!

Mentee: Daleen Van Der Merwe

Current job title: HR job professional between jobs

Q. What did you get out of the mentoring experience?

It helped me to clarify some of my personal and career objectives while completing my MBA (majoring in HR) in preparation for new career opportunities. It was often the oasis in the desert. It gave me valuable time to concentrate on the bigger picture with the realisation that sometimes small adjustments can have major effects.

Q. What’s the most important lesson you’ve learned?

To be truly resilient through conquering your fears, dealing with change and reminding yourself who you are, what you stand for and what really matters.

Q. Tell us about your first session. How often did you meet?

I was so excited after our first meeting. We talked through our backgrounds, interests and challenges, and discussed our expectations for the year ahead. At our monthly meetings, Josie would give me some ‘homework’ in preparation for our next catch-up that assisted me in setting and aligning my goals.

Q. What is your dream HR job?

My aspirations are to find a role with a strong focus on strategic HR and an opportunity to translate business strategies into HR priorities. I want to work for a company that values HR as part of the strategic team and is seeking to improve broad organisational issues relating to effectiveness, changes in structure and culture, matching resources to future requirements, the development of distinctive capabilities, knowledge management and the management of change.

Q. What advice would you give to a mentee about to start the program?

Set clear expectations and goals before starting the process and revisit these goals to ensure you are achieving them. Don’t be afraid to ask a lot of questions of your mentor. Always value their time and be prepared for all meetings because it will maximise your learning. Enjoy the experience – it is great!

Applications are now open for the AHRI mentoring program. Find out more on the AHRI website.

This article is an edited version. The full article was first published in the July 2015 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

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AHRI’s mentoring program: Josie Thomson and Daleen Van Der Merwe


Mentor: Josie Thomson

Current job title: Trainer and mentor at Josie Thomson

Q. Tell us about your career history.

I began working for the State Bank of Victoria, then moved to the tax department of BHP Billiton. Then I somehow ended up in HR leading learning and development for BHP Coal in the late 1990s.

I began my own business in executive coaching in 2001 and have never looked back. I’ve always been interested in what enables people when faced with adversity, and how to encourage people to unleash their full potential and live life to the fullest. I became an ambassador for Childhood Cancer Support in 2014, and my work has been recognised on the global stage. It’s an honour and a joy to be doing something I truly love every day.

Q. How did your mentoring relationship come about?

Daleen and I were matched by AHRI, and there was an instant synergy between us. I knew we were going to achieve much together.

Q. What have you learnt from your mentee?

I learned that women are capable of juggling many roles and priorities extremely well when they practise discipline and healthy boundaries. Daleen and I both completed masters studies in the past three months and have enjoyed successful professional careers. Daleen is an ambitious woman, keen to make a difference and keen to add value to whatever she sets her efforts towards. She has shown me just how much a woman with fierce focus, spirited action and grit can achieve.

Q. What do you hope your mentee has taken away from the experience?

I hope Daleen has gained value from allowing herself to receive genuine care and support. Daleen is an extremely competent professional. What Daleen most needed to achieve her goals was capacity, drive and discipline. All I did was shine a light to remind her of the bright spark she already is!

Mentee: Daleen Van Der Merwe

Current job title: HR job professional between jobs

Q. What did you get out of the mentoring experience?

It helped me to clarify some of my personal and career objectives while completing my MBA (majoring in HR) in preparation for new career opportunities. It was often the oasis in the desert. It gave me valuable time to concentrate on the bigger picture with the realisation that sometimes small adjustments can have major effects.

Q. What’s the most important lesson you’ve learned?

To be truly resilient through conquering your fears, dealing with change and reminding yourself who you are, what you stand for and what really matters.

Q. Tell us about your first session. How often did you meet?

I was so excited after our first meeting. We talked through our backgrounds, interests and challenges, and discussed our expectations for the year ahead. At our monthly meetings, Josie would give me some ‘homework’ in preparation for our next catch-up that assisted me in setting and aligning my goals.

Q. What is your dream HR job?

My aspirations are to find a role with a strong focus on strategic HR and an opportunity to translate business strategies into HR priorities. I want to work for a company that values HR as part of the strategic team and is seeking to improve broad organisational issues relating to effectiveness, changes in structure and culture, matching resources to future requirements, the development of distinctive capabilities, knowledge management and the management of change.

Q. What advice would you give to a mentee about to start the program?

Set clear expectations and goals before starting the process and revisit these goals to ensure you are achieving them. Don’t be afraid to ask a lot of questions of your mentor. Always value their time and be prepared for all meetings because it will maximise your learning. Enjoy the experience – it is great!

Applications are now open for the AHRI mentoring program. Find out more on the AHRI website.

This article is an edited version. The full article was first published in the July 2015 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

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