Where were you working before, and what were your responsibilities?
I was the director of change and corporate services with the Scottish government, responsible for HR, IT and estates.
What qualifications do you hold?
I have an MA from Glasgow University. I am a chartered fellow of the CIPD and a member of the Employment Appeal Tribunal.
What are the duties in your new role?
I am a member of the UK board and responsible for the HR strategy and its effective impact on the delivery of business goals.
What are the main challenges HR faces in the next five years?
They are endless. The recent economic environment really will separate out effective HR from people administration. Effective employee engagement is the priority.
What is the most overrated tool in your job?
HR systems – they are a means to an end, rather than an end in themselves.
What is the worst thing about HR?
All of the jargon. We need a plain English campaign.
How do you wind down after a bad day in the office?
A mug of tea works wonders. And if that doesn’t work, something a little stronger.
What is the strangest situation you have been in at work?
When my managing director asked me to run an £8.5m business on an interim basis as well as doing my day job. It was a bit like being poacher and gamekeeper.
What three words would you use to describe yourself?
Motivated, persistent, and aspirant.
What was your lucky break?
When the chief executive offered me my first major HR role as HR director at Scottish Power, an international FTSE 40 energy company. My feet didn’t touch the ground that day.
Who would you invite to your dream dinner party?
New US president Barack Obama – I believe he will lead a new world agenda and represents real change both in America and the rest of the world.
What advice would you give someone starting out in HR?
Carpe diem – seize the day, and become indispensable.
What is the greatest risk you have ever taken?
Putting my savings in a bank. Life is one big risk, but it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t enjoy it.
Sum up your philosophy on life in one sentence.
You are chief executive of your own life – live it well.
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