Director of people and corporate services, ODS Group, 2019 – Present
This job has given me everything I want! I am connected to my HR roots and have a much wider corporate role as a member of the executive team. Also, working in a local authority trading company means I can combine my public sector values with a much more commercial approach.
Crucially, I can work flexibly, which means I can do the other things I love, including spending time with my granddaughter.
Independent consultant, coach and trainer, 2008 – Present
I love the difference that working independently brings. I deliver leadership development, training and coaching, and work on some specific HR projects as well. Most importantly, independence allows me to experience other sectors and learn different approaches – it keeps things interesting.
Director of people and OD, Royal Berkshire Fire and Rescue Service, 2015 - 2017
I had always wanted to work in the emergency services, so this job was a gift. My main learning in this role was how to evolve even the most pervasive culture and how crucial it is to really understand the business at first hand.
Assistant director, transformation and human resources, London Borough of Hounslow, 2012 – 2015
What attracted me to Hounslow was the challenge of a much bigger authority and also the leadership – I had previously worked with the CEO and had huge respect for her. These were testing years with budget cuts and challenges to key functions like social care. I learnt a lot about leading a big team across a wide range of services.
Head of people and improvement/head of transformation, Cherwell and South Northamptonshire Councils, 2006 – 2012
I worked at Cherwell before it merged with South Northamptonshire and led the people side of delivering the first cross-border and regional local authority shared leadership team. It meant I was on the receiving end of the organisational change process – a really good lesson on what it feels like to be on that side of the process.
Head of human resources, Oxford City Council, 2001 – 2006
This was my first local authority experience and a baptism of fire in terms of local politics. I learnt so much in this role, from working with a range of politicians to dealing with the media.
Director of HR and central services, Abingdon and Witney College, 1998 - 2002
As well as managing a merger, a redundancy programme, wholesale TUPE process and more, I completed my CIPD qualifications, all while being a mum to three children under the age of five.
Team leader, Oxfam, 1997 - 1998
My short but interesting charity experience – back in the early days of regular donation campaigns. This was a logistical and customer service role but served as great exposure to a culture very different to the private sector.
Varied roles, Marston Book Services, 1987 - 1997
I had lots of different roles and had the most fun of my professional life. We worked hard, were target driven and customer service focused. I had the greatest boss and a great grounding in commercial business and customer service.
Top three career tips:
- Keep sharing – be generous with your experience to help others learn and progress.
- Be opportunistic and open to whatever comes your way – you don’t have to have a plan and, even if you do, you don’t have to stick to it.
- Be brave – if you make a mistake, own it and put it right – including moving on if you find yourself in the wrong job.