Top job: Shirley Powell, head of HR, The Childcare Corporation

Where were you working before?

I was HR manager for education charity CfBT Education Trust.

What qualifications do you hold?

A business degree and a masters in HR fully chartered CIPD member.

What are the duties in your role?

Making sure HR has a direct impact on the company’s financial success. I will have a team of three and report to the commercial director.

What main challenges does HR face in the next five years?

Winning recognition at board level and delivering HR management on the bottom line.

What is the essential tool in your job?

Good listening skills.

And the most overrated?

Knowledge of employment law.

What is the worst thing about HR?

Not being listened to by executives.

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

Dressing as a Disney character as part of a development course.

Who is your ultimate hero?

Anita Roddick (founder of The Body Shop).

What is the most annoying piece of management jargon?

‘Blue-sky thinking’.

How do you fill your spare time?

Repairing my Alfa Romeo classic car.

What three words would you use to describe yourself?

Passionate, fun and positive.

What is your favourite web page?

BBC News 24.

What song gets you on the dance floor?

Jailhouse Rock by Elvis Presley.

What is your worst habit?

Biting my nails.

What is the greatest risk you have ever taken?

Getting married.

What three items would you take on a desert island?

Shampoo, the Seven Pillars of Wisdom by TE Lawrence (Lawrence of Arabia), and a wind-up radio.

Who would play you in the film of your life and why?

Renée Zellweger. I am the original Bridget Jones – disasters always happen to me.

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

A disco boat party on the Thames.

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

Alan Sugar.

Sum up your philosophy on life in one sentence

Life is short so enjoy your time and have fun.


May 2007-present
Head of HR, The Childcare Corporation (nursery provider)

Sep 2006-Apr 2007
HR manager, CfBT Education Trust (schools and nurseries charity)

Sep 2002-Aug 2006
Senior consultant, Right Management Consultants

Jan 1999-Jul 2002
Management Development Manager, Walt Disney

Oct 1992-Dec 1998
HR manager, UK and Ireland, Walt Disney

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