My brilliant career – Kerrie Field

by 08 Jun 2007

What is your current role?

I am currently employed as general manager, HR at St Vincents & Mater Health Sydney (SV&MHS) – incorporating St Vincent’s Hospital, St Vincent’s Private Hospital, The Mater Hospital, North Sydney and St Joseph’s Hospital and Village at Auburn.

What qualifications do you hold?

I hold a Master of Management (MGSM) majoring in human resource management.

Why did you get into HR?

My interest in the ability to influence the work environment and develop people was the driving force for my interest in HR. I am passionate about making a difference and I saw HR as an opportunity to really connect with both the organisation’s business goals and the individual needs of its employees.

How did you get into HR?

By accident. I commenced my career in finance working mainly with payroll and internal customers on the delivery of investment services. During the early part of my career I was fortunate to work in a progressive organisation in the cosmetics industry which was undergoing incredible growth and as a result I was asked to assist in the establishment of the personnel function. In this role, I was given flexibility to explore best practice and develop policy, programs and people initiatives to meet the needs of the business. My career in HR has been very rewarding as I have had several opportunities to work in leadership roles in very diverse industries across local, regional and global boundaries.

Where do you see yourself in five years time?

Contributing strategically on the executive of a progressive organisation which values individual contribution and the delivery of service to its customers and the broader community. I would also like to contribute through board membership of a not-for-profit organisation.

What has been your biggest career high so far?

This is a hard one. I have had many great opportunities working across several industry sectors in exciting newly created roles. For me, the reward comes from the ability to make a difference. In my career I have been given enormous flexibility to improve and implement new HR practices which have been leading edge and firsts for some industries. If I had to think hard I would say rolling out global change management programs at Brambles and most recently, introducing innovative strategies focused on learning and development, reward and recognition. Recognition within SV&MHS has truly enabled me to make a difference to individuals and the organisations they work for.

What do you think it takes to succeed in HR?

A good understanding of the industrial environment, a sound technical background and a strong track record of adding value. This, coupled with passion, personal insight, understanding and the ability to respond to the needs of the individual and the organisation will ensure your success as a HR professional.

How do you manage relationships with senior executives?

I think it is important to be authentic and understand that you are part of a bigger team. Understanding what drives each of the executives and agreeing where you can add value. Senior executives need to see you as a partner adding value and assisting them to develop their business.

Who is your biggest professional inspiration?

I have had the opportunity of working with a number of inspirational leaders at different times during my career. I would say however that Karen Wilson was my greatest inspiration because without her encouragement I would probably never be where I am today.

What advice would you give to graduates considering a career in HR?

Relationships are the key to being a successful HR practitioner. Know what you are passionate about, understand your values and ensure that they are aligned to your choice of organisation. Determine early what you can influence, be open, and most of all, be prepared to make a difference.

Describe yourself in three words

Strategic, caring and passionate.