UT Learning & Development Manager Spotlight

Managers play an essential and often unsung role in any organization. Managers at all levels of the organization play a key role in developing the workforce while they continuously learn at the same time. Because of this role, UT Learning & Development spotlights a manager each month so they can share their perspective on learning and development and other managers can learn about what they do for our community.

Karen Chawner, Director, Human Resources

"Giving employees space to develop is important to their career growth and can help build (or keep) trust, which is important to retention."


Emmanuel Nshimirimana, Assistant Manager, Custodial Services

"The most important thing that team members are expecting from their manager is to understand them and pay attention to their needs and concerns."


Summer Salazar, Director of Employer Engagement, Texas Career Engagement

"Be comfortable in the uncomfortable, trust yourself, and observe leaders and mentors to help guide your understanding of this process. When in doubt, ask."


Kouang Chan, Director and Ombudsperson, Office of the University Ombuds for Students and Staff

"My advice to managers would be to communicate clearly, specifically, and respectfully, and to do so consistently."


Aimee Trochio, Manager, Training Services, Facilities Services

"Don’t take away your team’s learning opportunities in the name of sparing them from handling complexity...Just prepare your team by letting them know that you are giving them more planning responsibility, and be prepared to coach them on that aspect of the task, if they need it."


Rich Janes, Program Director, Technology Resources

"I’ve seen some great leaps forward or complete shifts in approach based on someone taking the time to learn a skill or technology that initially seemed only loosely connected to their role."


Art Markman, Vice Provost for Academic Affairs, ​Extended Education Ventures

"Helping everyone at UT recognize their potential for advancement in their career is a great way to help retain your best people."


Blanca Gamez, Director, Parking and Transportation Services

"Know your team. Know their strengths and play to those strengths. Know the areas that they would like to improve and provide them with opportunities to build their skill sets."


Jonelle Bradshaw de Hernandez, Executive Director for Development, Development Office

"Take the time to truly understand your leadership style and to understand the needs, wants and motivations of your team. In order for purposes to be filled and goals to be met we must first establish trust, integrity and honor in the working relationship."


Mirna Benhamou, Senior Division Coordinator, Division of Pharmacology and Toxicology 

"Really listen to the employees’ uniqueness in character and needs/wants and communicate as effectively and clearly as possible. Learning about employee’s strengths and weaknesses allows managers to provide better guidance and unleash employees’ full potential."


Darren Hale, Interim Executive Director, Construction and Facilities

"I believe in continuous improvement and a growth mindset. I develop teams to never settle for the status quo and to strive to innovatively improve how we deliver services to UT. One way to improve is through learning. Whether that is through refreshing/enhancing current skills or by learning new skills or different ways of doing things, I find I always have opportunities to learn and progress."

Monica Horvat, Director of Presidential Priorities, Office of the President

"Learning in the workplace is critical for creating a culture of innovation and growth. When employees feel encouraged to learn and experiment, they're more likely to identify areas for improvement and suggest new, innovative solutions to improve overall performance as individuals and collectively."

Rianne Brashears, Senior Associate Athletic Director and Chief Human Resources Officer, Intercollegiate Athletics

"First, understand that the developmental needs of each individual on a team are very different. No two individuals are on the exact same path at the exact same time. Take time and observe each individuals’ developmental needs, and ask them what their desired professional goals and aspirations are. Development is a 2-way street. Managers should motivate, prioritize and guide development, and your teams should seek out opportunities and invest their own growth."

Ana Thiemer, Associate Director, Office of Campus Planning

"Communication and collaboration are the cornerstones to developing a team. Communication early and often creates clarity about what’s happening today and where the team is going. Collaboration helps to gain understanding across the team, focus the team and work toward a common goal."

Roger L. Cude, Vice President of People and Talent

"I encourage you to always think of learning and development, not just when we are in a class or on a video conference."