Wednesday December 17, 2014
"I started life in Auditing, moved quickly (for obvious reasons) into a Sales Analyst role working all over the country for a FMCG manufacturing company, and had a short period with an IT company before moving into retail. I came to Siniat (formerly Lafarge Plasterboard) 19 years ago – it's amazing how time flies!
I have two grown up children, Dan and Amy, and a partner, Colin, as well as two surrogate furry kids (Bengal cats) called Lulu and Charlie. We moved to the Cotswolds last year and love it.
Hobbies and a few personal details
My other half is a flying buff so it goes without saying that one of our greatest hobbies is flying (fixed wing and helicopters) – and yes, I have flown both. I am also trying to relearn the piano having just had my beautiful baby grand restored – I have to play it now otherwise it will have been a complete waste of money!
What are you currently reading?
I am currently reading ‘What I know for sure’ by Ophrah Winfrey – I know it sounds a bit girlie but there are a lot of ‘she is absolutely right’ statements in the book and it's an easy read book for my limited reading time. One of my all time favourites is 'Half a Yellow Sun' by Chimamanda Ngoze Adichie which is about the Biafran war – very profound, and makes me sound intelligent, but I really recommend it.
What's on your iPod ?
My iPod would scare you to death. I have all the old stuff from Motown to Crowded House, Supertramp etc., but I also have Avicii and Sam Smith which makes me sound far more trendy… I absolutely love music and have ‘done’ Glastonbury a number of times. Best live band though has to be Coldplay at the Emirates Stadium.
PS I Love You – totally soppy but makes me feel good – even with the poor Irish accents.
Ultimate Ears bluetooth speaker – all that power without the wires!
What would you buy with a £1 million lottery win?
Well, I would get rid of the family mortgages – ours and the kids', a holiday to die for (just not sure where yet), and I'd probably have to buy that new plane Colin keeps leaving the page open on in 'The Pilot' magazine! I could go on and on, remember you are asking a female about shopping!
Something I spend irresponsibly on...
Are you joking? Everything women buy are absolute must haves, and are always bargains ………!
Open Road – 70 mph – which lane, and how fast ?
I'm always at the speed limit and always assume everyone else is going to do things wrong – that's the best bit of advice my driving instructor gave to me all those years ago.
What attracted you to a career in HR ?
I wasn’t attracted to a career in HR – I was asked to join a Graduate Programme and it seemed like a good thing to do. It was fate because I found something that I had a real passion for – something which was never going to happen whilst working in auditing!
What do you enjoy most/hate the most about your role?
I don’t hate anything about my current role, but over the years I have worked with some great and not so great Managers. I wish there was a way of bottling ‘what good looks like’ - it absolutely makes all the difference to the workplace when you are working with people managers who just intrinsically 'get it’. The workplace also needs to have a sense of perspective, people who enjoy what they do are far more engaged than those who don’t – appropriate and intelligent use of humour is an absolute must.
As an employer, whose corporate employer brand do you envy?
Brand-wise, I love the brands which try not to be too serious – but you cannot take away from John Lewis, who seem to have everything right on branding from both an external and internal perspective.
Best advice you’ve ever been given?
It wasn’t advice, but it was watching someone that I worked on early in my career, just being herself. There is a lot to say for not trying to be something that you are not – just be you, because this is absolutely the best thing to be.
Business person you most admire and why?
From a success point of view and certainly not because he was always the best boss, because he wasn’t, I would say Steve Jobs. Watch his Stanford University speech if you want inspiration about what life is all about – for me this speech puts it all into perspective.
If you weren’t in HR what would you be doing ?
If not in HR – I am quite creative and would probably be sewing in my workshop at the end of my garden (not that I have one but the thought appeals to me) I love sewing and am equally happy producing clothes as well as soft furnishing. Actually, I probably need to rethink the £1m question earlier r.e. the workshop!
If you could abolish one employment law what would it be?
..... to be honest, I wouldn’t abolish anything. Employers needs to ensure that they are treating people fairly and consistently and on that basis the law should not be a hindrance. I have no doubt that the next tricky issue we have to deal with will leave me regretting my balanced perspective on this.
Social networking and recruitment—what’s your verdict ?
Recruiting good quality candidates is getting more difficult – we should never discount any options for recruitment. Today’s generation will not even think about the older tried and test methods when looking for roles, so we have to be very creative and certainly move with the times. Siniat are just about to introduce an Employee Referral scheme, we recognise that word of mouth is probably one of the best recommendations you can for your business. It keeps business on its toes in ensuring it is looking after its most important asset – its people.