Susan Swarts
Assistant Director of the Office of Residential Life

Mentoring Program Advantage (MPA):  How long have you been at UCLA and why are you still here?

Susan:
  I have  worked for UCLA for seven years on and off. I’ve been in my current position with the Office of Residential Life (ORL) for almost 5 years. I stay at UCLA because I enjoy my job, my organization and my colleagues. In addition, there is room to grow my own career at UCLA.
 
MPA:  What made you decide to become a mentor?

Susan:  I became a mentor for two reasons. One, I have reached a point in my career where I feel like I have knowledge and experience to share with those looking to develop their careers, and two, I wanted to become more familiar with the Housing & Hospitality Services organization.

MPA:  Why do you continue to counsel past participants in the program? What is the value in doing so? Do you think there should be some follow-up opportunities for the mentee / the mentor?

Susan:  I continue to work with my mentee from last year, Ramona Givings, because I am committed to her as a person, not just as a program participant. Ramona and I have built a solid mentoring relationship that continues to benefit us both. Her goals for the program were not such that they could be accomplished in just one year, so it made sense to continue working on those goals together. For me, I derive personal satisfaction and pride in helping others and this is one way for me to achieve that.

MPA:  In your opinion, what is the value of the program?

Susan:  I have seen the program provide to mentees information and access to opportunities that would not exist otherwise. The information that mentees receive about the H&HS organization and about the job search is important. Even more valuable is what mentees learn about themselves through the process.

MPA:  Why do you think others should become involved?
 
Susan:  If others have a desire to learn more about the H&HS organization or if they wish to grow their own career, it’s a great opportunity to do so with structure and a cohort of people who are doing the same thing. The cohort (group of mentees) is really important.

MPA:How would you change or improve the program?

Susan:  The mentoring program is still fairly new, compared to other University programs, but has established a strong foundation in its structure and participation. For me, the program is all about the mentees. I don’t have a particular vision for the program myself; there are probably multiple directions the program could follow in the future. For me it is more salient to ask the mentees, as primary beneficiaries of the program, what they envision for the continued growth and development of the program.

 

 
Pix: S. Inglis
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