What is your current role?
I am the human resources director for Diageo Australia.
What qualifications do you hold?
I have gained the majority of my experience from my roles within the workplace. My more formal education is a business studies diploma from Grantham College of Further Education, in the UK.
Why did you get into HR?
I was the sales director for Diageo Great Britain for a number of years; managing big teams of more than 500 people. When you are in a role of this nature you manage people who have a wide diversity of skill sets and experience. I became increasingly interested in people development and line management, so it seemed like a natural progression to make this my full-time role and responsibility.
How did you get into HR?
I attended a development event called Building Diageo Talent, facilitated by senior Diageo executives and external business psychologists. The program helped me identify a skill in organisation design, and an ability to take a complicated subject and simplify the content while being able to communicate this in an engaging and simple manner. I understand how to get the best out of the people I work with, and I understand how to evolve ‘ways of working’ that will be of benefit to the business and the people who use them.
Where do you see yourself in five years’ time?
One of two things, I will either return to Asia as the HR director for Diageo Asia-Pacific, or perhaps take on a role as general manager in a different market. A company like Diageo opens up a world of opportunities, and it is great to be able to take full advantage of this.
What has been your biggest career high so far?
As HR director for Diageo Asia (my previous role) I was responsible for building the organisation. A number of separate businesses had previously existed and my role was to develop a cohesive and high performing business for Diageo in Asia. We did this by unlocking the talent of all employees and ensuring we exploited existing synergies.
How do you manage relationships with senior executives?
I make the decision to build relationships with my colleagues. Everyone wants to make a difference to the business; I make it a priority to understand their strengths and the approach they are taking.
What advice would you give to graduates considering a career in HR?
Do something else first. If you gain experience in different teams and roles, such as the sales team or as a line manager, you will achieve and bring a wealth of experience to your career in HR.
Describe yourself in three words
Happy. Football. Japanese.
January 2005-present: HR director, Diageo Asia
October 2004-January 2005: HR director, Diageo key markets - Asia
May 2004-September 2004: Capability development director, Diageo key markets
February 2003-April 2004: HR development director, Diageo Great Britain
July 2002-February 2003: Field sales director, Guinness UDV UK
August 2000-June 2002: Capability development director, Guinness UDV UK
May 1998-Aug 2000: Field sales director, UDV, Morgan Furze Ltd (UK)
January 1994-May 1998: National accounts manager (National Grocers), Morgan Furze Ltd (UK)
September 1991-December 1993: National accounts manager (National Brewers), Morgan Furze Ltd (UK)
January 1991-September 1991: Leisure multiple account manager, Morgan Furze Ltd (UK)
June 1989-January 1991: Regional sales manager, Morgan Furze Ltd (UK)