Where were you working before and what were your duties?
I was learning and development manager at Thomson Directories. I developed the company’s strategy for learning and development.
What qualifications do you hold?
I’m currently studying for an MBA at Henley Management College, and I have a diploma in training management (Chartered Institute of Marketing), certificate in training practice diploma in performance coaching and a business degree.
What are the duties in your new role?
Setting the strategic direction for learning opportunities, closely aligning learning and development with business needs. I report to the head of HR and have a team of five.
What are the main challenges HR faces in the next five years?
Retaining the best people, and managing and integrating change.
What is the essential tool in your job?
My voice – you can’t beat a good conversation with someone.
And the most overrated?
PowerPoint. No matter what you say, presentation slides do not encourage people to learn.
What is the worst thing about HR?
Who is your ultimate hero?
Body Shop founder Anita Roddick – she inspired me when I was younger that women could be highly successful in business.
What is the strangest situation you have been in at work?
Having a breakfast meeting in London sat opposite Gary Barlow from pop band Take That.
What is the most annoying piece of management jargon?
‘Think outside the box’ – this phrase is over-used.
How do you fill your spare time?
When I’m not studying and reading piles of management journals, I play squash.
What three words would you use to describe yourself?
Determined, inquisitive and approachable.
What is your worst habit?
Being very demanding of myself and others.
What three items would you take with you on a desert island?
My iPod (with solar charger), a survival manual, and pen and paper.
Who would play you in the film of your life and why?
Kate Winslet – a British actress from a working-class background.
What is the best office party you’ve ever attended?
A Christmas party when I was 21 and had to dress as a Christmas pudding.
Who would you most like to be stuck in a lift with?
Sum up your philosophy on life in one sentence.
Seize the day.
Nikki Hood’s CV
Head of learning and development, Yell (international directories business)
Feb 2006-Jul 2007
Learning and development manager, Thomson Directories
Oct 2004-Feb 2006
Senior field sales manager, Thomson Directories
Dec 2003-Sep 2004
Area telesales manager, Thomson Directories
May 2002-Dec 2003
Head office and sales training manager, Thomson Directories