Where were you working before, and what were your responsibilities?
I was working for The Open University, heading up HR for the Academic Departments.
What qualifications do you hold?
Bachelors degree in industrial relations and psychology, masters degree in HR, diploma in applied social sciences and I am a fellow of the CIPD.
What are the duties in your new role?
Leading the personnel division and developing HR strategy to assist the council deliver its corporate plan and business transformation programme.
What are the main challenges HR faces in the next five years?
Outsourcing, internationalisation and increasing EU legislation.
What is the most overrated tool in your job?
Benchmarking – HR people need to focus instead on the standards of excellence relevant to their own organisation.
And what work tool would you like to see invented?
A PC that boots up and is ready to go in less than five seconds.
What is the worst thing about HR?
Having to persuade others you’re not just about redundancy, recruitment and job grading.
How do you wind down after a bad day in the office?
I’m currently training to climb Ben Nevis for charity, so some walking in my new boots.
What is the strangest situation you have been in at work?
I once interviewed a man who wanted to bring his wife into the interview with him, and then part way through the interview I realised he was actually drunk.
What three words would you use to describe yourself?
Driven, enthusiastic and outspoken.
What was your lucky break?
At 21, getting a job as assistant personnel officer, with no personnel experience.
Who would you invite to your dream dinner party?
U2 singer Bono, along with US politicians Bill and Hillary Clinton.
What advice would you give someone starting out in HR?
Listen – find out the real issue before rushing in with a solution.
What job would you like your children to do?
Anything they like, as long as it doesn’t take them too far away from me.
What is the greatest risk you have ever taken?
Moving to the UK from Australia without knowing a single person.
Sum up your philosophy on life in one sentence.
Life is about living – so make the most of every second.
Jun 2008-present – Head of personnel, Aylesbury Vale District Council (local government)
Jun 2003-May 2008 – Head of HR, Academic Units, The Open University (higher education)
Mar 1995-May 2003 – HR manager, The Open University (higher education)
Nov 1993-Feb 1995 – Senior personnel officer, University of Wollongong, Australia (higher education)