Business School staircase

In good company: Alumni volunteering and mentorship

8 May 2023
Meet the Alumni volunteer who is passionate about mentoring
For Henia Colinard, volunteering, especially through mentoring, was the best way to contribute to her community and to help others cultivate their careers.
Henia Colinard seated, holding a cup of coffee outside the Business School.

Henia Colinard took up volunteering as a way to reconnect with the University community.

Henia Colinard (MCom '01) has a head for logistics. In an early career marketing analysis role, she watched executives struggle to understand why changing the packing on their honey from a jar to a bear shape was so successful with consumers but not resulting in any additional sales. To her, the answer was obvious – logistically, the shape means you can fit less bears in a box and on the supermarket shelf. So, even though sales were through the roof, the profit remained the same.

It was then that Henia realised she might need a bit of a career shift. She undertook a Master of Commerce, Logistics and Technology Management at the University of Sydney to facilitate her move. The move changed the course of her career and she accumulated wide-ranging industry experience before settling into her current role in supply chain management for Dell.

Henia was looking for a way to connect with the University and the wider community and volunteering as a mentor seemed like a natural fit.

 “I was keen to get away from being a person from Sydney Uni who is just connecting through updates from News and Events. Through mentoring I thought I would have more visibility over what the Uni was doing. I also wanted to connect with the emerging Sydney Uni community and make it a better place one person at a time”.

Henia Colinard standing with her arms folded, leaning against the spiral steps of the Business School.

Henia has enjoyed seeing her mentees grow their skills to become more curious and insightful.

She has volunteered her valuable experience for students in the Early Offer Year 12 (E12) Professional Mentoring Program as well as a Business Mentor for the Dalyell Scholar Program. E12 was an early offer and scholarship scheme previously available to high school leavers, providing them with a reduced entry score, an early offer to the University, a scholarship and access to a mentoring program.

The E12 Program has recently been replaced with MySydney Entry and Scholarship Scheme, which was launched this year to address Australia’s widening education gap and provide access for students who may not otherwise have been able to achieve a tertiary education. Mentorship from our alumni volunteers continues to be a vital part of our MySydney scholars transition to university.

Through the mentoring program, students can explore career aspirations, build graduate qualities, increase employability skills and create networks both at university and in the workplace, all under the good company and guidance of experienced industry professionals.

In supporting our future leaders to shine, Henia says the most important change she has seen in her mentees is that they have grown in their confidence and curiosity.

“They become more open to how the world outside of university can benefit from their skills.  I love to see how they ask – and keep asking – questions over the time and how those questions become more and more insightful.”

Henia Colinard seated, reading a magazine outside the Business School.

Henia is passionate about volunteering as a way to broaden her own perspective.

Like many of our mentors, Henia taps into a wealth of knowledge, talents and experience. But she also enjoys the opportunity for her own personal growth.  

“I’m a great believer in trying to see the world through someone else's eyes. The mentoring process is a great way to do that,” she says.

I see mentorship as an opportunity for personal and professional growth. I strongly believe that mentoring can keep my mind young and my thinking and skills fresh. You gain new skills and knowledge, meet new people, and make a difference in your community,” she says.

For people thinking of volunteering, Henia encourages people to consider the opportunities they have to connect with their community and contribute to student’s lifelong learning. “I’m reminded of the quote: ‘Not only must we be good, but we must be good for something.’ I think that resonates well here.”

Enjoyed Henia's story and want to get involved? Visit our Volunteer with us page to find out more about our volunteering opportunities.