How did you get your first role in the Recruitment industry?
I was a failed Tax Accountant who went looking for work through a recruitment agency and they suggested I try accounting recruitment – genius!
What does a day in your role as a Head of People and Culture look like?
Being a scale-up tech business my day is quite varied and very fluid, fluctuating from BAU policy and process to people strategies and providing advice to the executive team. Primarily its about being the culture custodian and keeping an eye on the health of the people side of the business.
Having worked at several leading organizations, which position or organization has had the most positive impact on your career and why?
My first foray into tech and HR was a games development company in Canberra – they were just acquired by a big US player and so we had to scale extremely quickly. I was literally building the plane whilst trying not to crash it and it taught me an incredible amount about being people-centric in approach and strategy and to ensure you tailor your approach. It also taught me that culture is in fact ‘king’ and it makes or breaks a business – 17 years later, that gang are either still in touch or have followed each other to jobs around the world, which says truckloads about what was built there.
What do you enjoy most about being a Head of People and Culture or working in the IT and HR industry?
I find tech incredibly interesting – its forever changing and has to keep reinventing itself, whilst still keeping true to the end game, which is the usability. Supporting people to create and build amazing things is extremely fulfilling and it’s my contribution without knowing how to code!
If you weren’t in P&C what would you be doing?
Definitely not tax accounting! I am not sure to be honest – I fell into recruitment and HR 20 years ago and haven’t left. I like the diversity P&C offers in different environments and it’s a support function that does need to do a ‘Madonna’ and reinvent itself to stay fit for purpose as the business world and people’s needs evolve.
What do you think are the most important transferable skills that you have developed?
My experience has been heavily involved in aligning the people strategy to the business one and so I have had to get my head across all aspects of operations, not just P&C and so I’ve been lucky to have picked up skills and knowledge across operational optimisation, transformation, change, commercials and technology.
During your career have you ever had a mentor? If so, how do you manage this relationship?
Very early on I had a great mentor who for me kept it real and didn’t sugar coat the hard stuff. They were knowledgeable but a great listener who often challenged my thinking to help me build my own repertoire of ideas and solutions.
Who or what has been the biggest inspiration in your life (either business or your personal), and why?
Definitely my Dad who was thrown into an incredibly challenging work situation way before his time but gave it his all, reinvented himself when he needed too an always put his team first. He told me to build a team so strong you don’t know who the boss is (I’m sure he stole that from somewhere) but its something I’ve kept in mind as a leader over the years.
What’s been your greatest achievement or challenge?
Successfully managing and nurturing a remote team of 70 odd people that traditionally had thrived on face-to-face collaboration and stakeholder management through COVID!
What attributes do you think make a successful leader in your field?
You don’t have to love people like the myth suggests but you do need to know how to work with all different styles, ambitions and approaches and provide the support they need, not the support you necessarily want. Being adaptable and somewhat creative is also needed as no two situations are ever the same!
If you could give one piece of advice about developing a career in P&C, what would it be?
Try a few different areas of P&C and also different environments to find your groove – much of the time I see people fall out of love with HR due to right person, wrong role/company so don’t be disheartened and be confident of your strengths and open about your development areas.