Top job: Carmel McKeogh, head of HR and organisational development, Blackpool Council

Where were you working before, and what were your responsibilities?

I was head of HR at Stockport Council, with responsibility for all HR services

What qualifications do you hold?

I am a member of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development.

What are the duties in your new role?

HR, health and safety, organisation development, diversity and inclusion.

What are the main challenges HR faces in the next five years?

Keeping the big picture in sight.

What is the most over-rated tool in your job?

Ever-more fancy mobile phones.

And what work tool would you like to see invented?

A device that would enable me to activate appliances at home from work.

What is the worst thing about HR?

Becoming aware of problems when it is too late to mend broken relationships.

How do you wind down after a bad day in the office?

I meditate, although my youngest suggested that as I now work in Blackpool I could go on ‘The Big One’ rollercoaster every day.

What is the strangest situation you have been in at work?

In my early career, an internal applicant stormed out after the first question during an interview saying “I don’t want this ****** job anyway”.

What three words would you use to describe yourself?

I got a gift from colleagues at Stockport which was a picture full of words the team used to describe me – lovely idea. I liked ‘considerate’, ‘passionate’ and, the one that most impressed my children, ‘cool’.

What was your lucky break?

I had a Saturday job while at college, and my boss offered me a job in HR when I left.

What do you regret about your career?

Nothing – what’s the point?

Who would you invite to your dream dinner party?

Footballers Ryan Giggs and Cristiano Ronaldo, and my best friend Louise.

Tell us something about yourself that no-one else knows.

I’m an open book – no secrets (well, none I’m prepared to share).

Who was your childhood hero?

My mum.

Tell us about your best ever holiday

A cruise to the Baltic – superb.

What advice would you give someone starting out in HR?

There is often a range of options, rather than a ‘right answer’.

What is the greatest risk you have ever taken?

Abseiling – I am petrified of heights.

Sum up your philosophy on life in one sentence.

Never look down on anyone unless you are going to help them up.

McKeogh’s CV

  • May 2009-present – Head of HR and organisational development, Blackpool Council
  • May 2002-Apr 2009 – Head of HR, Stockport Council
  • Oct 1994-May 2002 – Principal personnel manager, Blackburn with Darwen Council
  • Mar 1990-Apr1994 – HR manager, FMM (marketing)
  • Apr 1987-Mar 1990  – Regional personnel manager, Woolworths

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