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November 2014 HRMonthly 37
Each month we talk to two people who have participated in the
AHRI mentoring program. This month has an international twist.
MENTOR: LYN STRINGER CAHRI
CURRENT JOB TITLE: HR MANAGER, COURTS
ADMINISTRATION AUTHORITY, SOUTH AUSTRALIA
Q. TELL US ABOUT YOUR
As a member of the Courts
management team, I am
responsible for managing
people and culture in the
business. Throughout my
career I have worked in areas
as diverse as health and
justice to environment and IT.
Q. HOW DID YOUR MENTORING RELATIONSHIP WITH
SIMEAMATIVA COME ABOUT?
The coordinator of a Pacific Leadership Program contacted
AHRI to seek a mentor for one of its participants. AHRI
approached me, along with others, to register interest and
submit a résumé. Simeamativa chose from the résumés
Q. HAVE YOU LEARNT ANYTHING FROM SIMEAMATIVA?
I found that the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional
Environment Program has many challenges associated
with combining a local and expatriate workforce. The
considerations in catering for this multinational workforce
were something outside my own experience. I was also
surprised by how similar our organisational HR issues were,
given how different the organisations are.
Q. WHAT DO YOU HOPE SIMEAMATIVA HAS TAKEN AWAY
FROM THE MENTORING EXPERIENCE?
The face-to-face visit to my organisation, I believe, was
the most valuable part of the experience, as I was able to
immerse Simeamativa in the life of HR in my organisation
for three days. I don't think any amount of emails, Skype or
phone calls could have provided this level of information
sharing. Simeamativa was also able to attend the 2013
AHRI National Convention, from which I hope she gained a
great deal of new ideas and plenty of fresh inspiration.
Q. WHY DO YOU THINK THAT IT IS IMPORTANT FOR
MENTOR-MENTEE RELATIONSHIPS TO EXTEND BEYOND
The HR profession is global and the trends are similar
throughout the developed world, including the global
financial crisis, skill shortages, growing awareness
of environmental protection and the increase in
multinationals. Australia is a lead nation to many smaller
countries in Asia and the Pacific, and I think it is incumbent
upon us to share our wealth of knowledge and skills with
Q. WHAT DID YOU GET
OUT OF THE MENTORING
I found it very useful to have
a senior and experienced
HR professional, like Lyn, to
share and bounce ideas off.
Lyn put me in touch with a lot
of HR professionals who all
had different perspectives
and ideas on issues. Plus, she
introduced me to the AHRI
National Convention, which I found very useful. I also found
myself a friend.
If I got stuck on an issue or needed a second opinion on
something I was working on, I would send a quick email to
Lyn and see what her thoughts were and how she would
have dealt with that particular situation if she were in my
shoes. We acknowledged that we were working in different
environments, so we'd focus our discussions around that.
Q. WHAT'S THE MOST IMPORTANT LESSON YOU'VE TAKEN
AWAY FROM THE MENTORING?
I have learned the value of sharing information and
networking among professionals. I also learned that
sometimes we are too hard on ourselves and we need to
appreciate the work we do and those in our teams do.
Q. HOW DID YOU CONDUCT THE MENTORING
RELATIONSHIP ACROSS TWO COUNTRIES?
It was a challenge for us, being busy with our own jobs and
in different countries. We kept in touch by email and tried
our best to conduct a Skype or phone call once a month.
We did meet face-to-face twice, for the AHRI National
Convention and at Lyn's workplace in South Australia, where
she arranged for me to spend time with the HR teams at
the Courts Administration Authority and the Environment
Protection Authority SA, which was invaluable.
Q. WHAT'S YOUR DREAM HR JOB?
To work in the HR field in an international organisation, or
set up my own consultancy with my husband, who is also a
MENTEE: SIMEAMATIVA VAAI CAHRI
CURRENT JOB TITLE: HR ADVISOR, SECRETARIAT OF THE
PACIFIC REGIONAL ENVIRONMENT PROGRAM, SAMOA
"I HAVE LEARNED THE VALUE
OF SHARING INFORMATION."
SIMEAMATIVA VAAI, HR ADVISOR, SECRETARIAT OF THE
PACIFIC REGIONAL ENVIRONMENT PROGRAM
For more information,
mentoring or email
Whether you are a mentee
wanting to excel in your
current position, or a
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 and mentor and
mentee applications are
now open for 2015.
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