Can you tell us a bit about your background?

Having studied to be a teacher, my early career started in retail, where I fell in love with people, operations and service. I also loved the speed and pace of retail. Having spent many years in retail management across fashion and homewares, I moved to Carphone Warehouse in a Samsung Partnerships role. I eventually moved into the MVNO as a Commercial Manager, taking on operations and call centre activity additionally.

All of these roles were people-centric, dealing with large teams and customers, and this is where my passion really lies. I decided to reskill in Human Resources and moved into talent management and then HR Leadership, up to my current role as CPO in The Project Foundry.

Can you tell us about your role with The Project Foundry?

As CPO in The Project Foundry, I lead the HR and Talent functions and provide operational support to ensure the business has what it needs to deliver for our clients. Our HR and talent team resource across multiple jurisdictions.

Our People and HR Pillars support our employees and our associates, focusing on Digital HR, Culture, Employee Experience, Reward and Benefits, Training and Development and Performance Management.

In addition to HR and Talent, I lead our Marketing Team. Our focus is on showcasing our amazing team and their skills to the market, building brand awareness, attracting talent and clients, building a community and creating great content.

What motivates you to do what you do?

Putting people at the heart of what I do is one of my personal goals. You don’t always get to make easy decisions, but aiming to do the right thing for the people in any situation is something we can all aim for.

 

How have you evolved personally and professionally over the years?

I get things wrong; saying that might be my biggest evolution. I don’t always get it right, but I do always try to and when I don’t, I reflect on it and improve. Reflecting has helped and still helps me to evolve constantly. Enabling myself to put boundaries in place and accepting my limitations has been another personal and professional growth area. Being able to communicate these in an empowering way to others is a personal and professional evolution too.

 

What does Culture in a work environment mean to you?

For me, culture is about values and sharing a belief in the values. If you truly believe and embrace the values in an organisation, they are like a compass that guides your ways of working, principles, standards, how you interact, and decision-making. Culture is not created by one person; it is every individual that makes up the culture.

 

When people say ‘bad culture’, it’s usually because an organisation has no values or has lost its way, and the values are no longer embedded. Culture is like any relationship; we must keep working on it, it needs to be nurtured, and we need to take accountability as individuals and think of how we live the culture and encourage others to do so too.

 

Why is it Important to you?

As I mentioned, reflecting is something I have tried to adopt into my day-to-day. That doesn’t mean I always sit down and spend time writing down my reflections; I sometimes do it in my mind straight after an event, and sometimes I do write it down. What went well, what didn’t, and did I act and react how I wanted to? Did I showcase the values I wanted to? I find having shared values helps me to reflect better as I use them as my guide.

 

How do you maintain a healthy balance between your work and personal life?

This is still very much a work in progress for me. All too often, I don’t strike the balance and I sometimes find it hard to detach.

One daily ritual in our house is eating together at dinner. We try for most of the week, unless there are staggered activities, to eat together. I love to cook, so I find cooking allows me to refocus and then I come to the dinner table focused on my family. We also have a ‘no device’ rule at the table, so we get a chance to check-in.

I am currently juggling work, a Masters and two children (4 and 16), so routines help a lot to get balance.

 

Are there any misconceptions about your work/field that you would like to clarify?

 

The HR and talent management world is all too often seen as a bit ‘fluffy,’ that the areas we own are ‘nice to have’ and not ‘must-haves.’ Covid put a new lens on the value of HR and the impact we can make; your HR leaders have voices that should be heard. People are what make our businesses special and unique.

 

Is there a particular aspect of your work that you are especially passionate about?

Creating a community – both within in the organisation and beyond it. I’m also passionate about supporting each other and building our social networks. Having a community can support you in the good times and the challenging times, and they are incredibly rewarding. Through a community, you also have a hivemind of ideas and solutions and you get to add value too.

 

How do you deliver value to clients?

 

By establishing talented and highly skilled teams that deliver for our clients. Our talent team are superstars who find the best people globally. We then onboard and engage those team members, ensuring high productivity and value alignment. Marketing also delivers amazing content that we share with our clients and communities.

 

What is the one thing that very few people know about you?

I’m very much an open book, so if you know me, you’ll likely know most things about me. I have, however, perfected an extraordinarily loud whistle.