Joanne Owen has been promoted to personnel and training manager at the Copthorne Merry Hill hotel, Dudley, having risen through the ranks from switchboard operator. She gains responsibility for staff recruitment and training, and ensuring the hotel builds on its role as a best practice employer.
What is the most important lesson you’ve learnt in your career?
To think before I speak, and to just listen sometimes.
What is the strangest situation you have had to deal with at work?
I was once interviewing someone and asked him about his previous experience. He said, “I was Father Christmas”. That was quite strange.
You are stranded on a desert island with enough food for only two people. Who would you choose as your companion?
My sister, because she lives in Cornwall, so it would give us a chance to catch up.
What is the best thing about working in HR?
The variety: there’s never a dull moment. Also, working with real people instead of number-crunching.
What is the worst?
There’s not enough time in the day to do everything.
You have stumbled upon a time machine hidden in the vaults of the hotel. What time period would you visit?
I’d like to go back to 999 AD to see how they prepared for the new millennium, and whether there was any panic.
If you could adopt the management style of an historical character, whose would you adopt?
Oliver Cromwell – he believed that if people believed in the cause they would fight harder for it.
What is your greatest strength?
Being able to juggle everything and retain my sense of humour.
How do you get to work?
I live five minutes away, so I walk or drive, depending on how late I’m going to be working.
What would you do if you had more spare time?
Spend more time by the sea and visit new places, particularly in England.
If you were to write a book, which subject would you choose to write about?
I’d write about the things people say, especially children, and some of the exaggerated tales adults come out with, and expect you to believe.
What is your least appealing characteristic?
I sing all the time. I sing in tune, it’s just that everyone else is tone-deaf.
What is the greatest risk you ever took?
When my husband and I decided to change roles, and he became a house-husband and I went back to full-time work.
CV: Joanne Owen
May 2000 Qualified as a licentiate member of the CIPD
April 2000 Returned to the Copthorne Hotel Merry Hill Dudley as personnel and training manager
May 1999 Completed studies in human resources management at Wolverhampton University
Nov 1997 Moved to the Copthorne Birmingham as personnel and training officer
Nov 1995 Promoted to general manager’s secretary and personnel and training officer
Jan 1995 Joined Copthorne Hotel Merry Hill Dudley as switchboard operator