Where were you working before, and what were your responsibilities?
I was at Serco Group, where I was responsible for the design and delivery of the people strategy.
What qualifications do you hold?
A degree in history and English literature, and an Institute of Directors diploma in company direction.
What are the duties in your new role?
Design and delivery of the people strategy to support and drive the business goals. A lot of my time is spent working with colleagues across our international offices and a large part of my role is ensuring that business leaders are involved in the design and implementation of this strategy.
What are the main challenges HR faces in the next five years?
An increased desire from employees for choice and flexibility. This will have a significant impact on HR as we strive to provide choice in where, when and how people work.
What is the most overrated tool in your job?
Competency framework – instead of driving the talent agenda, they are usually way too complicated and result in ‘lowest common denominator’ thinking.
And what work tool would you like to see invented?
A simple and accurate predictor of future talent.
What is the worst thing about HR?
The focus on process as the panacea for all business problems, and a tendency for HR professionals to have a victim mentality and feel powerless.
How do you wind down after a bad day in the office?
What is the strangest situation you have been in at work?
Training in welding when at the North Yorkshire TEC.
What three words would you use to describe yourself?
Passionate, driven, happy.
What was your lucky break?
A chance meeting with the chief executive of Serco, who then offered me a job.
Who would you invite to your dream dinner party?
Fictional heroine Scarlett O’Hara, musician David Bowie, Jane Austen character Elizabeth Bennett, legendary US politician Bobby Kennedy, and Anton Du Beke, star of TV’s Strictly Come Dancing. Strong women role models, brave and creative people and the best ballroom dancer in the world.
What advice would you give someone starting out in HR?
Be commercial, be pragmatic and do a role in operations to improve your business focus.
Sum up your philosophy on life in one sentence.
You’re a long time dead.
Apr 2008-present – HR director, Eversheds
Jul 1999-Mar 2008 – Group HR director, divisional HR, change director, Serco Group (public transport)
May 1998-Jul 1999 – Business development director, Pannell Kerr Forster (association of independent firms)
Jun 1993-May 1998 – Head of strategy and development, development manager, North Yorkshire Training and Enterprising Council (public sector agency)