Mary Cope, head of HR at Eicon Technology since 1995, has been promoted to the new role of European HR director. Eicon is a computer networking company which produces hardware and software products for connecting PCs to corporate networks and the Internet. It was a 1999 finalist in the Thames Valley Business Employer of Choice award.
What is the most pressing HR issue for your company?
Recruitment and retention of high-calibre staff - like for most of the rest of the world.
How will you deal with it?
By continuing to develop a reputation as a respected and exciting employer, as well as one with great jobs.
Your biggest challenge?
The curse of the 1990s: time to attend to all I want to in the manner I would wish to.
On what criteria did you make the finals of Employer of Choice?
Our Pitstop programme, which offers senior staff an individually tailored plan of coaching and skills development.
The strangest situation you have dealt with?
The first interview I ever did. For the guy involved, it was his first interview in 19 years. His wife came along to sit in, but I managed to persuade her that a better idea was a coffee in reception. He got the job.
Your best move, apart from this one?
Becoming personnel manager at Nexus. The owner MD and my immediate boss were hugely entrepreneurial and their ability to continually get the best out of people - willingly - was inspirational.
Your greatest strength?
I'm told it is identifying customer needs and meeting them with innovative programmes. If I may offer two, the other is an ability to communicate complex issues so people understand them.
Your least appealing characteristic?
Other people say being too self-effacing. I say helping people finish a sentence when they are searching for the right word.
What advice would you give to aspiring HR directors?
Keep focused on what the business needs, be open to new ideas and stay principled.
What is your Myers Briggs type?
Extrovert, feeling, thinking, judging (EFTJ).
What do you do when you are not working?
My big love is gardening, also seeing family and friends and walking.
What would you rescue if your house was on fire?
A great number of happy memories are my richest poss