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Mentor/Mentee Spotlight: Mentoring is a win-win proposition for Safran employees

Human resources

January 22, 2020

Aany Sustarsic, Senior Planner at Safran Cabin Huntington Beach

Melanie Charles, Global G7500 Project Leader at Safran Cabin Canada

A successful mentor/mentee relationship benefits both parties, as evidenced by many pairings forged under auspices of the Safran North America Mentorship Program. This is a key takeaway for international mentor/mentee combo Aany Sustarsic and Melanie Charles.  

Sustarsic – the mentor – is a Senior Planner at Safran Cabin Huntington Beach in California, leading the Planning development team and managing Planning IPT functions for all new development programs. Sustarsic also is championing the local chapter of Women@Safran at her site.

She was paired with mentee Melanie Charles, Project Leader for the G7500 at Montreal-based Safran Cabin Canada. In this role, Charles supervises an engineering team that manufactures bonded structures for cabinets on the Bombardier-produced business jet.

Sustarsic and Charles each had prior mentorship experience and already understood the tremendous value of such a partnership – which they believe should benefit the mentor and mentee alike.

A value-added relationship for mentor and mentee

“Both mentor and mentee need to enter into the relationship with a firm belief that there is something to learn from each other,” explained Charles. “Regardless if it’s your first time, take it as an experience from which we can learn. It is time invested by both. It is up to both members equally to make it value added.”

Sustarsic agrees. “Everything I do as a mentor teaches me something in return,” she said. “Whether it’s the same objective I’m intending to achieve with my mentee, or something I learn about myself in the process, there’s usually an ‘ah-ha’ moment that I get out of each conversation or exercise.”

She continued: “Additionally, the mentorship program has supplied such great supporting articles and exercises that I can see being useful for anyone in any stage of their career. I have used a lot of these tips in my daily practice as a mentor, teammate, wife, friend, etc.”

The distance between Sustarsic and Charles sometimes presents challenges, particularly due to the three-hour time difference – however the duo has been able to manage. “Our commitment to the program was able to overcome this,” according to Charles.

Sustarsic underscored a similar point when providing additional tips for mentors and mentees: “The best advice I can give is to be truly committed to your relationship. Show up to every meeting, be present and listen with a completely open mind. The partnership doesn’t work if one person carries more weight than the other; but when both are fully committed you can feed off one another and that leads to more honest conversations.”

The Safran North America Mentorship Program was launched in 2017 to pair early career Safran employees with mid-to-late career professionals who provide guidance on career development and advancement in areas such as communication, leadership and technical skills.