Jon Porter has been appointed personnel manager at the charity the Parkhaven Trust, which provides help for adults with epilepsy and behavioural problems. He has 10 years’ experience in personnel management, having previously worked for Cheshire Probation Service and the Home Farm Trust in Bristol, a charity for adults with learning difficulties.
What is the most important lesson you have learnt in your career?
That you should first try to understand rather than be understood.
What is the funniest situation you have had to deal with at work?
At a dinner to meet the trustees, one referred to another as "our sole lawyer". In a crowded restaurant, you could imagine how this sounded.
If your house was on fire and you could save one object, what would it be?
Presuming our cat has had the good sense to get out, our photographs.
If you could change one aspect about the industry you work in, what would it be?
The perceptions about charities is that they are not an easy option. They have to be commercially-driven to survive and they are professional organisations.
What is the best thing about working in HR?
The intellectual and emotional challenges that come from trying to make sense of people as individuals and when in groups.
What is the worst?
If you found a time machine hidden in the vaults of your company building, what period in time would you visit and why?
Britain during the Industrial Revolution, which was an immensely exciting time with discoveries and changes in society, politics and economics. Also a chance to see the Liverpool Docks bustling with activity and full of ships of all sizes from across the world.
If you could adopt the management style of a historical character, who would you choose?
Nelson – a daring, charismatic leader with vision and a clear gameplan.
What would you do if you had more spare time?
Read more books, cook more meals and worry less.
If you wrote a book, which subject would you choose to write about?
The 2001 Lions Tour – well it would have to be thoroughly researched, with attendance at each game.
What’s your greatest strength?
Thick skin and a sense of humour.
What is your least appealing characteristic?
What’s the greatest risk you ever took?
After being hit by a fireball during basic training in the Royal Naval Reserve, everything else seems to pale in comparison.
2000 Personnel manager, Parkhaven Trust
2000 HR officer, Cheshire Probation Service
1996 Personnel officer, Home Farm Trust
1991 Personnel and training administrator, The Mead Corporation