I’ve been blessed to have many mentors in my life and throughout my career. Frankly, none of them came about through a formal mentoring program like SHRM-Atlanta provides. They all developed as I built a friendship and association with people who I respected and wanted to learn from. I wish I had access to a program like SHRM-Atlanta offers now as I would have loved taking advantage of that resource!

I’ve been honored to serve as a SHRM-Atlanta mentor three years in a row. The first year I had two mentees, last year one mentee and this year the SHRM-Atlanta mentor program shifted to a group mentoring format. In all cases, it’s been a blessing to me to be a blessing to another HR professional!

In today’s fast-paced, performance driven business environment, we all need mentors. I remember years ago the advice I heard was to “get a mentor”. I’ve seen first-hand that “a” mentor isn’t enough. There isn’t just one person that we each know that has all the qualities that we aspire to who would suffice as the one and only mentor. No! Instead, we need several mentors! A mentor helps you take a pause, assess, think, plan, and proceed. In football, if things aren’t going as well as desired, the coaches get the players to go back to the basics…blocking and tackling. The same is true with career management. We often need to go back to the basics of life purpose, skills inventories, motivation assessments, career planning and then implementation. The key to optimizing this process is to have someone walk alongside you and help you think clearly, brainstorm and keep you accountable to the plan. That’s where a mentor comes in.

Successful people aren’t successful by going it alone. All can point to a mentor or mentors who significantly helped them along the journey. I’m aware of one mentor/mentee relationship that likely saved someone’s job. The mentee had worked at the company for many years, but they weren’t performing up to the expectations of the CHRO. Several months into a mentor relationship, the CHRO asked the mentee what had led to their improved performance. The mentee gave credit to the mentor and the CHRO asked for their name, called the mentor, and thanked them for having a positive impact on the mentee. It works!

For over 57 years, SHRM-Atlanta has been providing services and forums to bring value to HR professionals who are members of the Chapter. I encourage senior HR leaders to serve as a mentor and share your time, talent and lessons learned. I encourage all HR professionals (at every level!) to be intentional about seeking out mentors who can help you realize your life and career goals. As Delta Air Lines says, “Keep Climbing”!


Tom Darrow, SHRM-SCP

Tom Darrow, SHRM-SCP is the Founder and Principal of Talent Connections, LLC (HR Executive Search) and Career Spa, LLC (Outplacement). He has been a longtime leader in the HR profession having served as President of SHRM-Atlanta, Board Chair for the SHRM Foundation and Inaugural Board President of the Association of Talent Acquisition Professionals (ATAP). He earned a BBA in Accounting from the University of Notre Dame.