Top job: Michael Doolin, HR director, PricewaterhouseCoopers (Ireland)

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

I worked at Parceline/Geopost UK, which employs 5,000 people across the UK and Ireland. I was responsible for all strategic and operational HR and training issues, with an emphasis on fostering an effective HR climate and engagement strategy.

What qualifications do you hold?

I have a Bachelor of Commerce and Masters (HR) degrees from University College Dublin, and I am a fellow of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development.

What are the duties in your new role?

To continue the good work that has led to PwC Ireland being recognised as the top company in Ireland to work for, the most popular graduate recruiter in Ireland, and a Financial Times Top 10 company in Europe to work for.

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

Engaging the business in setting specific people goals around leadership development, retention and succession management.

What is the most overrated tool in your job?

E-mail – it stops the art of conversation.

What work tool would you like to see invented?

One that allows for more time in the day.

What is the worst thing about HR?

The constant desire to seek to justify our existence.

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

By talking to my two daughters, Eleanor and Lydia, and listening to Irish rock band U2.

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

Being involved in a dispute about the size of a chicken sandwich from the canteen.

What three words would you use to describe yourself?

Passionate, driven, and lucky

What was your lucky break?

Becoming a dad twice

Who would you invite to your dream dinner party?

My family, author Harper Lee, human rights campaigner Martin Luther King, Irish patriot Michael Collins, legendary Irish soccer player Johnny Giles, singer-songwriter Joni Mitchell, and Bono, lead singer of U2 .

What advice would you give someone starting out in HR?

Count to 10 before opening your mouth,

What job would you like your children to do?

Whatever they wanted to do.

What is the greatest risk you have ever taken?

Not realising I was a good enough skier.

Sum up your philosophy on life in one sentence.

Live it.

Doolin’s CV

  • Apr 2008-present – HR director, PricewaterhouseCoopers Ireland (professional services firm)
  • May 1998-Mar 2008 – HR director, Parceline/Geopost UK (express distribution and logistics)
  • May 1994-Apr 1998 – Various City of London HR manager roles (financial services)

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