What is your current role?
HR director, Citibank Global Consumer Bank, Australia. Citibank is part of Citi, one of the world’s largest financial institutions. In Australia we have about 1,200 staff.
What qualifications do you hold?
I have held leadership roles in operations, HR, quality, wealth management, sales and distribution. I have qualifications in HR, marketing, financial planning and am a six sigma black belt.
Why did you get into HR?
For a HR director, I have a fairly unconventional background, having worked in a broad range of roles across a diverse range of industries including operational and sales management roles. My interest and passion for HR has developed over a number of years. I now have the opportunity to use this experience to lead our HR team and provide excellent service to the businesses. HR offers me the opportunity to combine and use all my skills and business experiences in a challenging and exciting way.
Where do you see yourself in five years time?
As I have only recently been appointed to director of HR, Citibank, I would like to continue to drive Citibank’s HR practices in Australia well into the future and I would also like to be involved in contributing to the HR function at a global level.
What has been your biggest career high so far?
I don’t define my career highlights in terms of single events or milestones. Rather, I base my ‘career highs’ on everyday successes such as assisting and supporting employees and the organisation to reach their individual goals. Seeing employees meet a new challenge, achieving their personal goals and expanding their careers gives me a ‘high’ everyday.
What do you think it takes to succeed in HR?
The factors needed to succeed in HR are the same as those needed to achieve in most areas of life. Fundamentally, you need to be tenacious and achievement-driven whilst still maintaining a genuine care for people.
These characteristics should also be underpinned by an ability to look at the bigger picture. I think it can be easy to take a silo approach but it is vital to look at both the organisation and its operating environment as holistically as possible.
HR is a particularly issues-driven practice so to succeed you need to look at issues within your organisation and outside of it. For example, in the 70’s and 80’s, HR practitioners were aiming to facilitate equal opportunity workplaces for women. HR practitioners needed to set goals to promote workplace diversity. While this remains an issue today, I think the next big issue facing HR professionals is the changing workforce demographics with specific reference to our ageing population.
How do you manage relationships with senior executives?
HR is a relationship-driven role. By creating strong partnerships with my colleagues, we are more successful in achieving both our personal and professional goals. I believe the strong culture of collaboration at Citibank is one of the key factors in our success.
Who is your biggest professional inspiration?
There have been many who have inspired me on both a personal and professional level, so I would rather focus on those qualities that I find inspiring. Firstly, I admire people who demonstrate the tenacity to overcome obstacles and those who continually strive to improve their performance and raise their own bar. I also admire people who are compassionate of others and can maintain their zest for life, even when faced with adversity.
What advice would you give to graduates considering a career in HR?
I would encourage anyone with an interest and passion for working with people to enter the profession. It is a thoroughly challenging career choice that offers the opportunity to move into a broad range of roles and industries.
Describe yourself in three words
Positive, energetic and ambitious.