Top job – Kate Harland, Director of HR and development, Health & Case Management

Where were you working before and what were your duties?

I was head of HR for Carr-Gomm, a national supported housing charity employing 750 people. I provided the full HR service including resourcing, employee development and employee relations.

What qualifications do you hold?

Postgraduate diploma in personnel management and a Masters in HR management Chartered Fellow of CIPD and a BA in theology and religious studies.

What are the duties in your new role?

I’m responsible for an eight-strong HR and facilities team. As a member of the board, I contribute to HCML’s overall corporate strategy, reporting to other board members and the chief executive.

What are the main challenges HR faces in the next five years?

Helping companies release the potential of their people in innovative and creative ways, while balancing increasing legislative requirements.

What is the essential tool in your job?

My notebook. Otherwise I would lose my thoughts on random bits of paper.

And the most overrated?

My personal digital assistant, which always loses power just at the wrong time – I need to carry print-outs as well.

What is the worst thing about HR?

When it is neither part of corporate decision-making, nor represented on the board.

What is the strangest situation you have been in at work?

I’ve led a sheltered life. The only think I can think of is doing track safety training on the railway.

Who is your ultimate hero?

Jack Spong – a retired bishop and author who has brought Christianity into the 21st century.

What is the most annoying piece of management jargon?

‘Human capital management’. I like the concept, but not the words.

How would you describe yourself in three words?

Loyal, courteous, and whatever the word is for ‘soon I’ll be fit’.

What is your favourite web page? – a religious page (I used to be a nun).

What song gets you on the dance floor?

Anything by Buena Vista Social Club (pictured below). One day I’ll get to Cuba.

What is the greatest risk you have ever taken?

Being driven in a borrowed Trabant car across Leipzig, Germany, late at night in the early 1990s to visit ‘alternative clubs’. My friend said we’d be OK if the street gangs didn’t turn up – I was more worried about crashing.

What three items would you take with you to a desert island?

A ‘Teach yourself Arabic’ kit as I’ve always wanted to learn, Jesus for the Non-Religious by Spong (of course), and a barrel of Holden’s Golden Black Country bitter.

Who would play you in the film of your life?

Anyone who can manage a Wolverhampton accent – could Helen Mirren do that?

What is the best office party you’ve ever attended?

A London Arts party nearly seven years ago – the director was a brilliant Santa.

Sum up your philosophy of life in one sentence.

Treat others as you would like to be treated, and enjoy life.


Mar 2007-present

Director of HR and development, Health & Case Management (HCML)

Sep 2006-Feb 2007

Head of HR and development, HCML

Jan 2003-Sep 2006

Head of HR, Carr-Gomm (supported housing charity)

Feb 1997-Dec 2002

Head of personnel, London Arts (arts funding body for London now part of Arts Council of England)

Mar 1993-Jan 1997

Employee development manager, Great Eastern Railway

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