- July 13, 2012
- 12:01 am
Guiding the way
When Jim Sibenaller, director of enterprise, architecture, and the project management office, first came to Loyola from his fast-paced corporate job five years ago, he was thrown for a loop.
“I went from a corporation to higher ed non-profit and it was a major, major shock, and I had to figure it out for myself,” he says. “There was no mentoring program.”
Remembering that difficult transition time, and now a veteran of Loyola, this past spring Sibenaller decided to give back through the Loyola University Chicago Mentoring Experience (LUC&ME) program. This program pairs a Loyola staff member with a newly hired Loyola staff member in order to offer the new staff member a resource and friendly face around the University, and professional development from someone who already knows the institution. Sibenaller was paired with Peter Buhl, senior asset manager of investment properties, and over the last six months the pair has grown to be business colleagues, as well as friends through the program.
Buhl, like Sibenaller, came from a different background to higher education. His former company had only about 35 employees, so when he was tapped to come to Loyola as a manager of investment properties, he says he was overwhelmed at the different people he was going to have to connect with in order to get his department going. He decided to join the program in order to make as many contacts and gain insight to how Loyola works. He say the benefit of meeting Sibenaller, was just a bonus outside of acclimating to the University.
“Meeting new people and gaining insight about Loyola aside, I think at the end of the day I have made a really good friend,” he says. “Jim is just one of those all around great guys that everybody loves and feel fortunate to have been paired up with him.”
In addition, the two were lucky enough to find out they both share a passion for golf. Sibenaller points out that this has been a connection that helped them bond right away, and has offered a chance for them to become friends outside of work as well.
“We started the whole thing off by having coffee just to get away from campus, and it turned into an hour and a half conversation,” he says. “We kept talking about Loyola and my experience, he just came in from a new job and he talked about his transition, and then we talked about golf.”
Within Loyola, however, Buhl says his transition into Loyola would have been difficult if not for Sibenaller.
“Jim was also recruited from outside the University and could completely relate to what I was going through in the beginning and, what challenges I might face moving forward in my role. He has worked for the university for more than five years now and knows Loyola like the back of his hand. If I ever want to just bounce an idea off someone or need advice on something, he’s the first one I call,” he says. “It’s also great to have him on speed dial in the event my computer crashes, which for some reason happens to me more than most people? As he likes to tell me, “Peter, the machine is fine, it’s just user error!”
But Sibenaller points out that it goes both ways.
“For me, I was really surprised how much I learned. Mentors are people who have been around a while, I was surprised at how much I learned. Don’t think it’s a one way street,” he says. “It’s so rewarding.”
They both mention that one of the benefits of being a part of the program is that no one is tied to go to any formal meetings (though they are offered)– whatever is most convenient for the pair is how often they meet. For example, Sibenaller and Buhl prefer to go out to coffee or hit the links for a round of golf when they meet.
Sibenaller points out that if not for LUC&ME, he would have missed out on getting to know someone he would not have run into, and made a great friend in the process.
“I have now built a relationship with someone in the University with someone I never would have known in the University,” he says. “Peter is a true friend of mine.”
LUC&ME is looking for mentors for the fall semester. If interested, please call 773.508.3964 or click here.