Where were you working before, and what were your responsibilities?
I worked for BT Design, a division of BT that built new technology for other BT businesses.
What qualifications do you hold?
I have a sociology degree, an HR Diploma, and CIPD membership.
What are the duties in your new role?
At Sky I work for Deborah Baker (group HRD) and I lead business HR teams supporting Sky’s news, sport, entertainment, corporate and online business divisions, as well as employee relations and policy across BSkyB.
What are the main challenges HR faces in the next five years?
Moving from ‘just’ being commercially relevant to placing our work in the context of measurable competitive differentiation.
What is the most overrated tool in your job?
Any tool that allows over-customisation. The best tools are those that help us ‘keep it simple’ – because HR is not rocket science.
And what work tool would you like to see invented?
Something to automatically delete irrelevant e-mails.
What is the worst thing about HR?
Obsessing over whether having an HR director on the board is critical to people issues being central to organisational strategy. In the new connected world, ‘relevance’ drives influence far more than hierarchical position, so let’s focus on that instead.
What is the strangest situation you have been in at work?
Walking into the office of a newly acquired company and immediately tripping over a dog – I had stumbled across their (weekly) bring-your-dog-to-work day, and there were pets everywhere.
How do you wind down after a bad day in the office?
By seeing the funny or ironic side of the situation and laughing about it.
What three words would you use to describe yourself?
Focused, fun, dreamer.
What was your lucky break?
Probably working in sales before I went into HR.
Who would you invite to your dream dinner party?
Anyone with a great story, a point of view, and a sense of humour – Kevin Green (ex-HR director, Royal Mail) always makes me laugh.
What advice would you give someone starting out in HR?
Keep it relevant and be brave commercial + simple (+ brave) = successful.
What job would you like your children to do?
Anything that builds their self-esteem.
What is the greatest risk you have ever taken?
Probably joining Getty Images – an unknown company with a big vision that became the most profitable listed media company in the world.
Sum up your philosophy on life in one sentence.
Like diamonds, we are cut with our own dust.
July 2008-present: Director, business HR, BSkyB (media)
Jan 2007-July 2008: Director, HR and resourcing, BT Design (technology)
July 1999-Jan 2007: Vice-president HR, Getty Images (media)
Jan 1997-July 1999: Head of HR, DA Consulting Group (technology)
Aug 1995-Jan 1997: Account manager, Qtab (HR consulting)
Sept 1992-Aug 1995: HR manager, Trainload Freight, then Railtrack (distribution/engineering)