Team Approach Benefits Partner and Student

Taking a team approach to mentor and supervise their student worker paid off in many ways for both DPCR student Salina and her employers at Catholic Health Initiatives. Salina worked in CHI’s Human Resources Operations Department during the 2011-12 school year, and is bringing the confidence and skills she learned to her new position this year at Turner Construction. When her CHI job ended in June, her supervisors had witnessed Salina’s transformation from student to young professional. “She came to us very shy and reserved and we saw her blossom and open up as the year went on. Her transformation was quite impressive,” says Lisa Cornett, senior human resources analyst.

At CHI, the four staff members who oversaw Salina came to refer to themselves as her mentors, not her supervisors. Each mentor took a 10-week rotation of Salina’s schedule and focused on teaching her a different skill set. HR Specialist Pam Cable had the first rotation and says, “My responsibility was to introduce her to the office environment, teach her basic skills and set up our work expectation. We gave her a daily schedule and her own desk so she could feel she belonged here,” explains Pam.

Pictured left to right are: Pam Cable, Salina, Rachel Alfaro and Kiley Wilson.


During the second rotation HR Specialist Kiley Wilson focused on communication skills while transitioning Salina to take more ownership of her work. “With me, she developed a resource library then she created a spreadsheet of its contents,” says Kiley. When HR Specialist Rachel Alfaro began the third rotation she took a hands-off approach as she focused on presentation and communication skills. “I set up the expectation that you’re here to manage your workload. I thought it was very important that she take what she learned at CHI and apply those skills elsewhere. I preached to her that these are life skills you’re learning. She was very responsive and I saw the light bulb go off,” says Rachel. Then Lisa Cornett wrapped up the year by transferring what Salina had learned to the future. “I taught her how to apply for jobs online and we created her resume,” says Lisa.

Salina is well aware of the many benefits she received through the year spent at CHI. “I learned how to write professional emails, use Excel and Microsoft Office, use my time efficiently, and pay attention to details,” she says. In addition to these office skills, the respect with which she was treated and the kindness shown to her remain as valuable unspoken lessons learned. “My mentors at CHI work very hard and they were so nice. What I loved most about my job were my mentors,” she says.

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