The Importance of Mentors for Young Professionals

By: Erika Enriquez Zamora  SHRM/CHCI Summer 2017 Scholar-Intern


The SHRM/Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute (CHCI) Internship Program was one of the most meaningful experiences I have had as an young professional in the field of human resources. It was a window into the community that I will eventually be a part of, gave me real job experience, provided me with essential information through the SHRM 2017 Annual Conference & Exposition and the California HR Conference, and most importantly it gave me the opportunity to connect with a mentor.

I was fortunate enough to do my internship at SAG-AFTRA, a labor union in Los Angeles. The organization has an amazing team that works incredibly hard for its members. My main interaction was with the human resources department and the staff members were all very informative, welcoming and prime examples of professionalism. I felt comfortable enough to go up to anyone in the department and ask questions, which made for a perfect learning environment.

Principally, I connected with Lark Clement, the director of employee relations at SAG-AFTRA. During my internship, she was constantly checking in on me, providing me with suggestions—not orders—and always had insights that facilitated my best work. That to me was the epitome of what human resources is—discovering the potential employees have and helping them realize it. To have Lark as a mentor, and know that she is a resource for me in my future career, is a priceless and unexpected benefit that came with the SHRM/CHCI Internship Program.

As a person who is constantly seeking to learn from those wiser and more experienced, I felt extremely blessed to be chosen as one of the SHRM/CHCI Scholar-Interns. Mentors are an essential part of an early professional’s career. That type of hands-on learning and exposure to knowledgeable human resources professionals cannot be replicated anywhere. It is something that will give me the necessary leverage in my future human resources career.

I cannot say enough about the benefits of applying for this program, and the people who run it are all remarkable. Please do yourself a favor and apply; the link is below!


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