What is your new role?
Group talent director, UK & Ireland for Constituency Management Group, part of advertising and marketing company Interpublic Group.
Where were you working before, and what were your duties?
I was HR director of MindShare, a media communications agency. I was responsible for building the HR proposition from scratch, building the best environment for our people and linking HR strategy to business delivery.
What qualifications do you hold?
Diploma in personnel management, masters in HR management, certificate in international HR management, secretarial diploma, plus Saville and Holdsworth and Myers Briggs psychometrics qualifications.
What are the duties in your new role?
To concentrate on innovative talent strategies that help grow and develop our people and business. I report to the CEO and global head of HR. I manage a team of six.
What do you hope to achieve in your new role?
To advance the people agenda through creative, innovative approaches that attract, recruit and retain highly talented people, and to make HR become an even more valued business partner.
What are the challenges HR faces in the next five years?
It’s still about making the transition from an HR person to a business person. Business consultancies and accountancy firms are rapidly developing human capital management, although it’s still early days. This links people with money and creates a demonstrable link between the value of people investment and the bottom line.
What advice would you give to people starting out in HR?
Acquire a very good understanding of business finance and commercial realities. Get to understand the financial language so that HR can be on a stronger footing. Don’t go straight into an HR masters degree when you don’t know the basics; try to get a role and sponsorship to study so you have both practical and theoretical knowledge. Develop expertise in a sector so you can bring a particular expertise alongside your HR skills.
What are the essential tools in your job?
Being able to listen, enormous resilience and the ability to persevere.
And the most overrated?
Sympathy and counselling – many HR people want to be seen as being a really nice person.
What is the worst thing about HR?
We don’t market HR well enough – we can do much more around HR branding and there’s still too much introspection.
What is your essential TV viewing?
I’m currently hooked on Alive, a programme featuring amazing stories of survival.
How do you fill your spare time?
Visiting art galleries, museums, exhibitions, reading, travel, amusing my pampered cats.
What is the greatest risk you have ever taken?
Quitting a horrendous role under a bullying manager with no job to go to.
Who would play you in the film of your life and why?
Sophie Okonedo – she’s versatile, has depth and is gorgeous.
Who would you most like to be stuck in a lift with?
Jenny Eclair, the comedienne featured in Grumpy Old Women – she’s hilarious.
Nov 2000-Sept 2006
HR director, MindShare
Jan 1998-Oct 2000
HR manager, Clear Channel
Jan 1997-Dec 1997
HR manager, BMRB International
Oct 1986-Dec 1996
Various HR roles (from PA to personnel manager), Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea