Each month was talk to a pair who have taken part in AHRI’s mentoring program. How did they find it?
Mentor: Ted BradshawFAICD, FAusIMM, FAIM, CAHRI
Current job title: Director at Kimberley Consulting Group
Q: Tell us about your career.
I began as a mining engineer at Mt Isa before moving into the coal industry in the Hunter Valley to work in a broad role managing HR, OH&S, research and IT. This was followed by a number of roles leading HR teams in professional services, insurance, finance, construction and energy industries. I learnt a great deal about mergers and acquisitions, change management and high performance cultures.
Q: Why did you want to become a mentor?
I have mentored informally for a long time, but I decided to get involved formally when some of my team asked me to share my broad experience across industries and talk about the different roles I have held. I was also keen to give something back and to see how I could provide a sounding board for people with less experience. I must have been doing something right because one of my daughter’s bosses who I met said to her, “If you ever leave here can you please give me your father’s phone number?!”. I am currently mentoring a woman in WA who runs her own HR business via Skype. My initial reservations about doing this have proved unnecessary; it has worked vey well.
Q: What do you think Ryan has learnt?
I hope he valued challenging his goals, projects, career objectives and considering issues from a different perspective. I also hope he has developed his confidence to enable him to open up and have challenging, confidential conversations.
Q: What did you learn from Ryan?
Mentoring helps get me in touch with how 20-somethings look at situations with fresh eyes, open minds and a focus on the future.
Q: What advice do you have for others?
Be clear on your expectations and goals, and be open to feedback. Listen and challenge, and be willing to share or discuss your successes and failures. Rapport is crucial, so make sure you get a good match and feel comfortable.
Mentee: Ryan McConnon MAHRI
Current job title: HR Business Partner at Crowe Horwath
Q: What did you get out of the mentoring experience?
It was great to draw on Ted’s experience dealing with similar challenges to those I was facing in the role I had at the time. A number of times I would come to the meeting with a certain idea of how I would tackle an issue, and after talking it through with Ted, I would come away with a different perspective and better strategy.
Q: What’s the most important lesson you’ve taken away?
Not to be afraid of taking on challenges and to actively seek out opportunities for career development. Following on from the mentoring program, I decided to take on a role which would broaden my HR skill set, which I previously would not have had the courage to do.
Q: Tell us about your first session with Ted.
At our first meeting we spoke about the structure of the mentoring program and how often we would meet. Ted asked me about my role at the time and what challenges I was experiencing, and told me about his career journey and the challenges he had experienced in his various roles over the years. We also had a good general chat about our lives outside of work.
Q: How often did you meet?
We met every few weeks in person at a cafe close to where Ted worked. We also kept in contact via email between meetings.
Q: What advice would you give a mentee completing the program?
Come prepared to each meeting with questions, ideas and personal challenges that you want to talk about with your mentor. Write down notes between sessions about challenges that you have experienced or ideas that you have had, and refer back to them in preparation for the meeting. It shouldn’t be a one-way ‘teaching’ scenario, where the mentor is only imparting knowledge to you. The mentor should also hopefully learn something new from the experience.