Protege Cheryl Byrne: Building a Life-Long Dream

Cheryl Byrne is a life-long learner with over 25 years of administrative experience reaching the top of her profession as assistant to the city manager of one of Canada’s largest cities.  Married to a military man, she has moved across Canada on more than one occasion, working and taking courses part-time. 

Originally, her life-long dream was to continue with her education and complete her Bachelor of Arts degree in Industrial/Organizational Psychology, which she did in 2008 while living in Halifax, Nova Scotia and attending Saint Mary’s University.  However, Cheryl she wasn’t finished, so she continued on with her part-time studies, now living back on the West Coast and completed her Human Resource Management Certificate in 2011. She then moved into a role working as an HR associate to gain HR experience. 

The next goal was CHRP certification, which she achieved in December 2012. Cheryl became a protégé in Winter 2013 and hasn’t looked back.

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What made you decide to apply to the BC HRMA Professional Mentoring Program?
I decided to apply for the mentoring program to further my knowledge and understanding of HR.  I was keen to be paired with someone with whom I could have great HR-related conversations.

How would you describe your experience as a protégé?
My experience as a protégé was a very positive one.  My Mentor had many years of experience in the field, and I really enjoyed hearing her stories and issues which she shared and which led to discussions on outcomes and results.

How was the program and/or mentoring relationship different for you as an experienced professional?
I think because I came with a professional background, we just hit the ground running. I approached it with a ‘sponge-like’ attitude, to soak up everything I could in our time together. I wanted a positive experience and we had that.

What was the top benefit you received from participating in the program?
The greatest benefit, for me, was gaining a colleague with whom I could spend time and really delve into HR topics and issues, get feedback on my issues, and hopefully share my experiences and ideas.  At our daily jobs, because we are always so busy, we don’t often get to take the time and have these really great face-to-face conversations.

Mentoring is a two-way street. What do you think you taught your mentor?
I’m hoping I taught my mentor that she was really doing a great service by sharing her time, her knowledge and experience, and that it was very much appreciated.

What are your top tips for a successful mentor-protégé relationship?
Commit, show up. Be involved. Respect the other person’s time and let them know you appreciate their input.

Applications are currently being accepted for the 2014 Professional Mentoring Program. Deadline to apply, for both mentors and protégés, is 9:00am PST on September 30, 2013. Please visit www.bchrma.org for more information.

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