Where were you working before, and what were your responsibilities?
I was head of HR operations at Scope and oversaw the introduction of HR advice and guidance services, where a team of HR advisers provides guidance and support to managers on a whole range of people management issues. I was also responsible for the payroll function and recruitment.
What qualifications do you hold?
I have CIPD qualifications and an MSc in HR development.
What are the duties in your new role?
To support the executive management board, and to deliver a people strategy that recruits, develops and retains a skilled and highly competent workforce. Also, to embed Scope’s leadership principles in the organisation so that they become a part of our culture. I am also passionate about developing succession plans that ensure we are nurturing potential leaders for the future.
What are the main challenges HR faces in the next five years?
Attracting and retaining a workforce that will continue to demand greater flexibility in the way people want to work, and which recognises the impact that developing technology will bring.
What is the most overrated tool in your job?
E-mail. In a people-focused environment, the art of personal interaction very easily becomes lost if you don’t make an effort.
And what work tool would you like to see invented?
A clock with bigger hands that gives you more hours in the day.
What is the worst thing about HR?
At times of economic uncertainty, it is the HR function that is at the forefront of delivering and supporting change. This is especially difficult when job losses occur.
How do you wind down after a bad day in the office?
Feet up, watching Coronation Street with a large glass of red wine.
What three words would you use to describe yourself?
Creative, pragmatic and optimistic.
What was your lucky break?
Being asked to lead on projects that gave me exposure to parts of the organisation I wouldn’t ordinarily have been able to access.
Who would you invite to your dream dinner party?
Designer Vivienne Westwood, comedian Harry Hill, and musician John Lennon.
What advice would you give someone starting out in HR?
Be prepared to start at the bottom and try to gain as much generalist experience as you can. You will always be able to specialise later.
What is the greatest risk you have ever taken?
Leaving a well-paid job because it no longer met my career and aspirational needs.
Sum up your philosophy on life in one sentence.
Keep an open mind, and don’t discount anything until you’ve given it a try.