Ronnie Clawson has been appointed HR director at London housing association
the Peabody Trust. He joins from the Affinity Homes Group, where he was group
head of HR and administration. In his new role he will be responsible for
ensuring the HR and organisational learning functions fully support the wider
business strategy on diversity issues.
Which aspects are you most looking forward to?
Working with the board and management teams to set the strategic direction
of the trust. Developing a Peabody leadership programme, and ensuring HR is
seen as a key player in the future development of the trust are also important
What is the strangest situation you have been in at work?
Finding myself in full devil regalia with red goatee beard and horns,
breaking up a fracas at an office fancy dress party.
How do you think the role of HR will change over the next five years?
Its importance as a strategic driver in successful businesses will continue
Who is the ultimate guru?
I like to think of myself as an independent thinker.
What’s the best thing about HR?
Having the ability to influence the culture of organisations and make a positive
difference to people’s working lives and the business.
And the worst?
Cleaning up other people’s mess.
What is the greatest risk you have ever taken?
Climbing Helvellyn in a t-shirt and trainers and finding myself lost at the
top in dense fog and freezing rain. I wouldn’t recommend it.
What is the essential tool in your job?
A thick skin and the ability to stay calm in a crisis.
And the most over-rated?
The latest fad or ‘next best thing’.
What advice would you give to people starting out in HR?
Find yourself a sponsor or mentor, and be prepared to learn quickly and
argue your corner.
Do you network?
Yes – it is always useful to share, and occasionally borrow, good ideas.
If you could do any job in the world, what would it be?
A successful artist.
Who would play you in the film of your life and why?
Robert De Niro – "you looking at me?"
What’s the best office party you’ve ever attended?
Probably a Crown Prosecution Service party that took place in the early
1990s. The Official Secrets Act prevents further expansion and no, it has no
relation to the devil horns mentioned above.