What is your current role?
I have a dual role. I am Asia-Pacific HR director, and head of global training and development, Cybertrust.
What qualifications do you hold?
I hold a psychology degree and a postgraduate degree in human resources.
Why did you get into HR?
When I first entered the workforce, I joined Telstra’s recruitment division and was fortunate enough to be working with a person who became my first real mentor. She helped me identify my key strengths in communicating easily and building a rapport with my clients, and encouraged me to undertake further studies. I have never looked back.
Where do you see yourself in five years’ time?
I expect that I will be continuing my career in a senior HR role with Cybertrust. My next logical step would be to move into a global generalist role. I anticipate that within the next five years I would be able to take on an expanded global role.
What has been your biggest career high so far?
Having board-level recognition of HR as a real contributor to Cybertrust’s business and its bottom line. Commercial decisions are critical to the success of the business, and having the right people with the right skills in the right jobs who can execute the business strategy effectively is fundamental to Cybertrust’s success and is also something that continually provides job satisfaction to me.
What do you think it takes to succeed in HR?
I really believe that successful HR teams are the ones who are business aligned, service oriented and can add real value by being proactive, and providing open and frank advice on issues that affect the company culture or staff morale. These are core areas that can be felt right across the company. A strong corporate culture and good staff morale can have a direct impact on the company’s success.
Some might suggest that being described as a people person makes for a good HR practitioner, but I don’t necessarily think that is the only ingredient required. These days, you need to have commercial nous, and the ability to work in line with the business and be an integral part of the business plan. By understanding the overall objectives of the business, you can avoid becoming overly bureaucratic, and focus on doing what’s ultimately right for the business and its staff.
I also believe that it’s important to have a sense of humour, which can help bring some balance to the way in which HR is delivered.
How do you manage relationships with senior executives?
I have always fostered communications between executives and managers, and try to lead by example in terms of creating an open exchange of ideas and issues. I encourage those who have to make the hard decisions to not shy away from it, and always try to facilitate positive outcomes.
Who is your biggest professional inspiration?
The senior vice president of the Asia-Pacific region at Cybertrust is inspiring to me. While he is commercially very savvy, he also demonstrates exceptional leadership qualities and places a lot of emphasis on Cybertrust employees. It is great to work with someone so senior who has strong HR skills.
In addition, I also have a number of key professional relationships that I have developed over the years and who have become mentors to me.
What advice would you give to graduates considering a career in HR?
I always ask them what it is about HR that attracts them to the profession. I encourage people to assess the differences between theory and what they might expect to encounter in a real business situation. It’s always good to advise that they can’t please everyone all of the time.
Being empathetic is a strong quality in anyone embarking on a career in HR.
I also think that openness and honesty are critical as core values. It’s also important to not have an agenda, but to keep focusing on what’s good for the business as all areas of the business will want an outcome for their area. My mantra is to think, plan, do, assess.
Describe yourself in three words