Top job: Jacky Simmonds, human resources director, UK and Ireland, TUI Travel

Where were you working before and what were your duties?

I was human resources director within the mainstream sector at First Choice, responsible for HR across the distribution, airline and tour operating divisions.

What qualifications do you hold?

A BA in Modern European Studies and an MA in Human Resource Management.

What are the duties in your current role?

I am responsible for leading organisational development and working on the integration of the merged business. My main focus is on staff engagement and leading a significant change programme. I report to the managing director, and the combined HR team is around 120 people.

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

Managing uncertainty and large-scale change, and retaining key capability.

What are the essential tools in your job?

Resilience and patience.

And the most overrated?

My BlackBerry.

What is the worst thing about HR?

The negative perception of it as a profession.

What is the most annoying piece of management jargon?

‘Think outside the box’.

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

Having to calm down a hysterical editor suffering with a common cold – she expected to be chauffeured to see the company doctor immediately.

Who is your ultimate hero?

My husband – he does great work in developing youth cricket.

How do you fill your spare time?

I have two young children so they keep me busy.

What three words would you use to describe yourself?

Driven, focused, and fun.

What is your favourite web page?

The Boden shopping pages.

What is your worst habit?

I think I can do anything.

What is the greatest risk you have ever taken?

Giving up jobs to go travelling not once but twice, and then agreeing to marry my husband, who I met in New Zealand on a bus.

What three items would you take on a desert island?

My iPod, a good book, and my trainers.

What is the best office party you’ve ever attended?

One at the Natural History Museum – the fancy dress was Stone Age.

Who would you most like to be stuck in a lift with?

Actor Benicio Del Toro.

Sum up your philosophy on life in one sentence.

Don’t put up with things that make you unhappy.


Sep 2007-present HR director, UK and Ireland, TUI Travel (global travel group including First Choice and Thomson)

Sep 2005-Aug 2007 HR director, mainstream sector, First Choice

May 2004-Sep 2005 HR director, distribution, First Choice

Jan 2004-May 2004 Organisational development secondment, First Choice

May 2000-Dec 2003 Head of HR, tour operations, First Choice

Oct 1994-May 2000 Head of HR, The National Magazine Company

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