Top job: Mandy Coalter

Mandy Coalter, director of HR and OD, Heart of England NHS Foundation Hospital Trust

What is your new role?

I have been appointed director of HR and organisational development (OD) at Heart of England NHS Foundation Hospital Trust in Birmingham.

Where were you working before and what were your duties?

I was director of HR and OD at Doncaster Council for four years. I was responsible for HR strategy, consultancy, OD, transactional pay and employment services for a workforce of 14,500.

What qualifications do you hold?

I have a degree in law, am a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development and have recently become a practitioner in neuro linguistic programming.

What are the duties in your new role?

I will report to the chief executive. I will be responsible for developing a high-performing HR service, and a people and OD strategy focused on delivering the Trust’s local and national ambitions.

What do you hope to achieve in your new role?

I want to ensure that all the trust’s employees understand and are committed to the organisation’s vision and values. I want to build on the pride staff have working for the health service and ensure we have a motivated, productive workforce. And I want the HR team to be recognised as a top performer, within the trust and beyond.

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

Key challenges include attracting, managing and retaining talented people and improving productivity, as well as other big issues such as pensions and equal pay.

What advice would you give to people starting out in HR?

Get your hands dirty and get experience dealing with a range of HR/management issues before you specialise.

What is the essential tool in your job?

The Blackberry.

And the most overrated?

The Blackberry – being contactable all the time can sometimes be a hindrance.

What is the worst thing about HR?

Others can often view HR as a ‘soft’ function, yet deep down they know we have to deal with some of the most difficult organisational issues.

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

Being told by a senior male colleague: “Keep batting your eye lashes and you will get your way” in a large, all-male meeting.

Who is your ultimate guru?

Nelson Mandela.

How do you fill your spare time?

Enjoying social time with my friends over the odd glass of wine or two is one of my favourite pastimes. I love to get out to the countryside walking and horse riding. I also keep fit by swimming.

What is the greatest risk you have ever taken?

Taking on the job at Doncaster at the tender age of 30 – it was a big step up for me in a challenging environment.

What song gets you on the dance floor?

Dancing Queen by Abba – a classic.

What would be your dream job?

Living in Italy and producing wine.

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

That’s easy: George Clooney.


2006: Director of HR and OD, Heart of England NHS Foundation Hospital Trust
2005-2006: Corporate director of HR and OD, Doncaster Metropolitan Borough Council
2002-2004: Head of HR, Doncaster Metropolitan Borough Council
1994-2002: HR manager, City of York Council

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