L&D Manager Spotlight - Mirna Benhamou

Mirna Benhamou 

Senior Division Coordinator, Division of Pharmacology and Toxicology

headshot of Mirna Benhamou

1. Describe your role for UT.  

I am the senior program coordinator for the Division of Pharmacology and Toxicology in the College of Pharmacy. In my role, I oversee all administrative and budget management tasks in the Division including hiring, training, and supervising two full-time senior administrative associates as well as a Work-Study employee. Together, we administratively support 13 research faculty and their wet labs from lab hires to processing financial transactions. Most importantly, we decipher university rules & policies to allow them to focus on scientific discoveries. Additionally, I’m the “Wellness Champion” and the vice-chair for the Staff Development & Well-Being Committee in the College.

2. What was the most important lesson you learned as a new manager?

As a new manager, I learned that leading with the heart is very valuable while conveying clear expectations. Secondly, I learned that undergoing a thorough recruitment process is essential in building a strong team. By focusing on filling job vacancies with the best fit, we often end up with people from diverse backgrounds which ultimately enriches our work environment.

3. What advice do you have for managers to help develop their team?

Take the time to invest in your people!

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.

UT Austin offers a slew of professional development opportunities and most of it is free of charge. For example, the SEED program was developed to grow our student employees. What an appropriate acronym! LinkedIn Learning, which UT fully pays for, is offered to everyone.

With all of that said, there is no excuse NOT to be involved in continuous learning at UT Austin.

4. Why is learning in the workplace important?

Learning in the workplace is a no-brainer. It has many benefits, which can translate to everyday life most of the time. When employees are encouraged to participate in professional/career development activities, they feel valued and trusted.Learning helps expand knowledge and boosts overall job performance. Consequently, employees are happier and more engaged which improves the overall work environment.

5. What have you recently learned, what are you currently learning about, or how are you developing yourself as a professional?

I’ve attended many professional development classes in my 20 years at UT. One topic that stuck with me throughout the years is “Self-leadership” by Emil Kresl. It’s an empowering concept!

Also, I’m currently enrolled in a series of classes on different HR topics offered by UT Learn. My end goal is to earn the HR certification – advanced track. Since my position includes an HR role, this certification will deepen my understanding of HR topics to better support my division. My hope is to have more knowledge to problem solve HR matters when they arise.