Regina Waldo and Charles Williams, SHRM-CP
HR Magazine asked four mentoring pairs from the Just-in-Time Mentoring Program at the Austin HR Management
Association chapter of SHRM, a mega chapter with 600 members, to share their advice and insights.
Office manager and solo HR
Austin Eastciders, a hard
cider craft brewing company
Charles Williams, SHRM-CP
Senior business process
Austin Energy, an electric
Why did you seek a mentor?
Waldo: After 18 years with
another company, I made
the move to a startup where
I was the HR leader. I’d never
been the main decision-maker
before, and I wanted someone
to talk to. Charles and I met in
person and communicated by
phone once a week.
My first big project was to
develop an HR brand book
and explain our HR function to
senior leaders in a 30-minute
never done before. I delivered
my talk to Charles to get feedback and experience. I learned
to use my slides to supplement
my points rather than reading
straight from them.
What was your role as a
Williams: To ask intelligent questions that would
prompt Regina to find solutions, not give her advice
based on what I did years
ago. Mentors should spend
80 percent of the time listening.
What benefits have you
Williams: I didn’t know anything about startups, so it was
fascinating to visit Regina’s
office. Seeing another type
of organization helped me to
keep things fresh. I’ve been
in HR for over 30 years, so it’s
easy to get settled. Mentoring
is a way of challenging yourself not to do that.
Waldo: My CEO and executive team say my speaking
skills improved greatly.
Charles also assisted me with
a difficult termination. I had to
sit in as an employee I knew
well was let go. We’re a small
office, so we had worked
together quite a bit. Charles
helped me understand it was
OK to separate the business
from the person.
“Mentoring used to be more of a ‘lead
people by the hand’ approach. Now, it’s a
lot more like coaching with a questioning,
Socratic method,” says Charles Williams,
SHRM-CP, senior business process consultant at publicly owned electric utility
Austin Energy in Austin, Texas.
Moreover, there’s growing recogni-
tion that mentors need not be levels
above the people they’re mentoring on
the organizational chart to be efec-
tive. Many senior leaders are realizing
they have much to learn in the realm
of digital technology and social media,
for example. In so-called reverse men-
toring programs, junior stafers teach
executives, typically in monthly meet-
ings for six months to a year.
Williams participates in the
Austin HR Management Association (AHRMA) Just-in-Time Mentoring Program. In 2014, Darlene Templeton, co-VP of career development for
AHRMA, took over the program for the
SHRM mega chapter and implemented
a short time-horizon for mentoring relationships. “It used to be mentees would