Why Mentorship is So Important to Dionne E. Wong

Dionne E. Wong explains why coaching employees is good for business and the community—and how she has utilized that to support a stable, nurturing business in an ever-evolving industry

Dionne E. Wong brings collaboration and teamwork to every part of her day. As senior VP and chief human resources officer at Broward Health, she is sure to seek input from the people around her and is mindful of recognizing and rewarding effort.

“My team has been with me for a long time. They work well together and take great pride in their contributions to the organization, one another, and the HR discipline,” she says. “I will say they couldn’t be led by someone they didn’t respect.”   

Wong’s management style is paying off. She has consistently scored in the top 1 percent of leaders at her company and across the country based on scores from her direct reports, according to the biennial Employee Perspective Survey conducted by Press Ganey.

Wong’s team certainly respects and admires her. They describe her as inclusive, collaborative, mindful, inspirational, and strategic, with an innate ability to convene the room. These and other qualities have shaped her career and are borne out of a passion for helping people—especially women and young people—discover their strengths.

“The timeliness of my mentors and their investment in me made such an impact that I decided that mentoring others would be a part of my personal and professional life.”

Wong was raised by her grandparents, and she experienced the strength and value of mentorship, leadership, and kindness from her grandmother, Violet McDonald. Wong often tells others to not take someone’s dignity because you cannot replace it—her grandmother’s golden rule and something she tries to practice every day. Outside of these family lessons, Wong’s mentorship experiences date back to high school.

“In the secondary teaching profession, primarily dominated by women, there was no shortage of strong female role models for me,” Wong says.

One teacher in particular, an English instructor in the magnet program, took Wong under her wing, provided invaluable coaching and mentoring, and even helped Wong identify and complete college and scholarship applications. The presence of a strong mentor was instrumental in helping Wong fulfill her goal to graduate at the top of her high school class and attend an Ivy League school.

 

At the University of Pennsylvania, Wong found another valuable mentor: Diane Hunter, an instructor who helped her balance the responsibilities of a heavy Ivy League course load and the transition to young adulthood. While attending Wake Forest University School of Law, she gained yet another key mentor who became a lifelong friend. In her third year of law school, she crossed paths with patent and intellectual property professor Simone Rose, who was also a University of Pennsylvania graduate. They bonded over that, and Wong ended up doing an independent study with Rose.

“The timeliness of my mentors and their investment in me made such an impact that I decided that mentoring others would be a part of my personal and professional life,” Wong says.

After graduating from law school, Wong worked for both small and large national law firms. During this time, she discovered that female mentors were far scarcer in the legal profession, and that was due less to choice than to circumstances.

“Our responsibilities as professionals, mothers, spouses, caretakers, and volunteers leave little time to recognize and provide the opportunity to mentor someone,” Wong says. “It gets lost. So, I pursued becoming the change I wanted to see.”

As a law associate, she served on the associate committee to address the recruitment and retention concerns of her colleagues. She discovered that young lawyers wanted mentorship, and that there was a direct correlation between mentorship and retention.

Wong continues to realize the benefits of having strong role models. She acknowledges that although there is great value in mentorship regardless of gender, as she was the beneficiary of both male and female mentors, she strongly believes that the common experiences and perspectives women share take on a heightened sense of relevance and purpose. When Wong joined Broward Health in 2002, she brought this passion with her. Its necessity was apparent in an industry that is highly
regulated, competitive, and ever-evolving.

Wong has implemented a number of formal programs to foster mentorship and development. As a result, Broward Health is now in the ninety-eighth percentile of employee engagement as of the latest Press Ganey Employee Perspective Survey.

Wong recently collaborated with the chief nursing officer to create the nurse residency program, which incorporates mentorship to socialize new nurses to the professional role, assist with goal-setting, and chart a trajectory for career success and retention in our organization.

She also spearheaded Broward Health Leadership University, which includes course contents on the topic of coaching and mentoring. The training equips formal and informal leaders with the skills and tools needed to support mentorship, which in turn strengthens the talent pool and improves employee engagement.

Wong, who is now one of the most tenured executives at the corporate office, says she believes that regardless of where an organization or person is in their journey, the value of mentorship and coaching cannot be overemphasized. She has been the been the beneficiary of good mentorship, and now it’s among her most important pursuits.


Technomedia offers industry-leading integrated global talent management solutions that enable organizations to drive high-performance business results by unifying the collaboration between employees, managers, and candidates. Hundreds of companies around the world rely on Technomedia’s cloud-based solutions to simplify talent management and align talent with business objectives. Technomedia is proud to have been selected by Broward Health and Dionne Wong’s team as the solution provider for their recruiting needs since 2002.