Debbie Jones is the vice-president of business infrastructure at satellite
communications company Inmarsat. Her unusual job title illustrates the breadth
of her role, which includes responsibility for HR, IT, facilities, health and
safety, security, project management, procurement, contracts and the
sponsorship of the World Rally Championship. The company draws together a very
diverse workforce, encompassing staff from 55 different countries.
What are your qualifications?
Embarrassingly few given the intellectual heavyweights I have the privilege
of working with – some really are rocket scientists!
How do you think the role of HR will change in the next five years?
Senior HR people will need to have a broad background of experience and the
most successful will be the most skilled at relationship management.
Development will place more emphasis on skills for life than skills for the
job. HR will help make individuals better able to manage their lives and the
benefit to their working life naturally follows. An HR influence on the
education system would revolutionise it – opportunity is all we need.
Who is the ultimate guru?
It has to be me, on the basis that whoever and whatever I admire and
respect, I will internalise and produce in an entirely different way to my
What is the most essential tool in your job?
What advice would you give to people starting out in HR?
Don’t mistake it for social work.
Who would play you in the film of your life and why?
Goldie Hawn, because like Private Benjamin, I am always clueless on how I
get into things. But I always manage to come out the other side, forgetting the
cuts and bruises I got along the way, to achieve the endorsement as a bloody
good soldier in the end.