Assignment Week 8: Digital Journalism

An earlier version of this story appeared on the UNC Finance and Operations website.

SCE Mentoring Program Completes Successful Second Cohort

The Finance and Operations Service Center of Excellence Mentoring Program (SCE-MP) committee honored five pairs of mentors and mentees at a luncheon on September 19 after the successful completion of the second cohort of the program.

2019 SCE Mentoring Group participants: Devin Williamson, Marcus Wooton, William Lunn, Donald Hamm, Carly Perrin, Christine Shia, Cathy Hatley, Collette Brown and Bill Stockard. Not pictured: Alan Forrest.

The SCE-MP originally met as a staff-led club in the Fall of 2017 to “foster a strong sense of community, provide professional development opportunities for SCE Employees, and improve employee retention,” according to program coordinator Devin Williamson.

A club becomes a committee

SCE executive directors chartered the club as a full committee in October of 2018, after the completion of the program’s first cohort. Williamson along with committee members Justin Case, Joanne Filley, Bea Muganda, Allison Reid and Donna Stelzenmuller expanded the focus of the Mentor Program and secured funding through the SCE clubs and committees budget at that time.

Mentors and mentees meet once a month during the six-month program. Participants drew on materials provided by the SCE-MP committee and from other successful mentoring programs at places like UNC School of Medicine and Kenan-Flagler Business School. Some mentoring pairs met more frequently.

An opportunity for growth and development

Williamson spoke to the growth and development he has seen in participants, “I’ve seen more and more growth and engagement in the colleagues that have participated and I’ve witnessed those participants develop a stronger connection with the rest of the office.”

“I’ve seen more and more growth and engagement in the colleagues that have participated and I’ve witnessed those participants develop a stronger connection with the rest of the office.” — Devin Williamson, SCE Mentoring Program Coordinator

Via a post-cohort survey, the current group of mentees almost unanimously characterized their participation as a success. According to Williamson, participants said that they “felt more satisfied with their job, more certain of their career path at UNC, more comfortable in the workplace, more socially connected, and that their skillset had been improved.”

Williams also said that all respondents to the survey said they would recommend the Mentor Program to their colleagues in the SCE.

Mentors speak to success

Accounting technician, Donald Hamm, said the mentor program was not a large time commitment and that six months went by very quickly. Based on initial recommendations and introductions from his mentor, Carly Perin, executive director of finance, Hamm continues to meet regularly with colleagues about career development goals.


William Lunn, a technology support technician, looked for help developing goals and finding a plan. Lunn said he read the book “The Inner Game of Tennis” at the recommendation of his mentor, systems programming specialist Alan Forrest. Forrest also encouraged Lunn to look into continuing education opportunities at UNC.

“The book alone was great, but I did a very detailed one-year, three-year and five-year plan and identified multiple steps and deadlines for personal and professional goals I wanted to achieve,” Lunn said.  “It helped me tremendously with my self-confidence.”

Develpoment despite departures

Joanne Filley, committee member and senior training and documentation analyst, touted the professional development aspect of the group’s mission. Despite the departure from the SCE of five employees affiliated with the program, Filley considers the program a success in terms of career development.

“Three of the five [departees] went on to pursue advancement opportunities at UNC for which they were better suited. That shows the benefit of this type of program for the University as a whole.” The other two staff members who left went on to pursue career advancement opportunities in the private sector according to Filley.

Mentors learn too

Mentors interviewed for this story also had resoundingly positive experiences with the program.

Mentor Collette Brown, executive director, Continuous Improvement, Staff Development and Engagement, unofficially mentors two other proteges outside of the program and continues to meet with her Mentoring Program protégé, Christine Shia.

Brown said she was drawn to be a mentor in the SCE-MP because of the resources available from the program committee and the support of other mentors who were participating.

IT manager, Marcus Wooton trained professionally in management and career development at his previous job. Wooton participated as a mentee in the first cohort of the program with mentor Bill Stockard, executive director of Human Capital Management and Shared Services.

“People talk about a Mentor being one of the best ways to grow yourself and your career,” Wooton said. He likes to ask mentees to identify a list of the five things that are most important to them. “You are often approached with ‘how do I get to the next level of my job?’ and a mentor should ask ‘Is that really what your goal is, or is the goal to have a better quality of life at home and at work?’”

Get involved

If you are an SCE employee interested in participating as a mentor or a mentee in 2020, please fill out the interest survey before January 17, 2020.