Wilma Estaura, group director of HR, Ayalaland Hotels & Resorts in the Philippines, has been nominated ACI Mentor of the Year 2021, while Sathia Moorthy, director of SE Asia, The Leading Hotels of the World has been recognised with the Highly Commended Award.
The 2021 award, conducted by ACI HR Solutions, received more nominations than previous editions, shared founder Andrew Chan, with many coming from across the world, signifying growing recognition of the purpose of the award. However, a decision was passed by the judging committee to keep the list to within Asia-Pacific.
According to Chan, the annual ACI Mentor of the Year provides a “platform to showcase and highlight the results of mentorship”.
Commenting on her win, Estaura said: “All the nominees are top HR executives whose mentorship touched the lives of their people and contributed to their professional development. To be included in the company of highly-respected professionals was already a great recognition for me.”
Reflecting on her role as a mentor, Estaura said she is “purpose-driven, selfless, authentic and patient”.
She added: “I feel it is my mission to help my team members achieve their personal and career goals. When you are genuine in your desire to coach and motivate your mentees, they can feel your sincerity and will also strive to succeed. It is an invaluable experience for me to be a mentor because I myself learn a lot from my mentees.”
In place of an in-person ceremony, Chan presented the trophy to Estaura via Zoom, in an online event organised by Ayalaland’s president for all department heads and board members.
Sathia, who is based in Singapore, personally received the trophy from ACI HR Solutions’ senior consultant Leon Nonis. He told TTG Asia that his ways of mentorship were founded on examples set by his own mentors.
“I’m always more a friend than a colleague. This allows people to approach me without any hesitation. I set aside time to listen to them and if a solution is needed, I offer various viewpoints and suggestions, never imposing my views or what I think is the best solution. I give the mentees the space to think and decide for themselves. This way, I allow them to feel empowered and this is how people can grow. This was how I learnt from my mentors. Where I am today in the industry is also thanks to them,” Sathia reflected.
In an earlier interview with TTG Asia, Chan observed that business survival throughout the pandemic has made mentorship an even more critical function, but also one that is challenged by personal difficulties faced by mentors as well as disruptions to mentorship meetings due to lockdowns and social distancing.
Sathia shares Chan’s opinion, noting that “mentorship is critical especially when our industry took one of the worst hits due to the pandemic”.
He said: “People were made redundant and employers were stressed about pivoting their businesses to stay afloat. Mentorship helps the mentee regain confidence and allows them to voice their concerns.
“It is not a one-stop solution to solve issues but it helps build trust and understanding among team members, and that will help them ride towards success as our industry recovers.”
Estaura believes that greater attention to mentorship is needed amid the business and job disruptions.
“People need someone to guide, inspire, and lead them in the right direction. Most, especially the millennials, look for a role model in the organisation, someone who will take time and personal interest in helping them grow as an individual and a professional. When they feel they have a mentor with the strength of character to lead them, they become more productive, loyal and engaged in the organisation,” she said.
As group director of HR, she leads the company’s leadership programme, which has a structure to promote talents from within. A developmental plan lasting two to three years is set for high performers and high potential team members, and they benefit from regular coaching by mentors.