My brilliant career – Umberto Giancristofaro, general manager human resources, Compass Group

by 25 Jun 2009

My current role is ... general manager, human resources, Compass Group.

My qualifications are ... Associate Diploma in Hospitality Management and I’m a qualified chef; very transferable skills. It took a while to shake the Gordon Ramsay attitude but I still have the vernacular!

I got into HR because ... when I started with Compass 11 years ago as a training specialist I became really interested in HR as I began to better understand the critical role the HR team played in the success and growth the business experienced. I think HR is unique in that we have influence in almost every aspect of our organisation.

My biggest career high so far was when ... I was the inaugural recipient of the Federal Government’s Corporate Leaders for Indigenous Employment Award at Parliament House, Canberra in 2002. Compass Group’s engagement with Indigenous Australia is something we are all very proud of.

To succeed in HR it takes ... I think it’s the ability and desire to really understand the business as a whole and to look at challenges and opportunities from various perspectives, not just the HR perspective.

The living person I most admire is ... I admire people who have overcome adversity to succeed. Richard Branson comes to mind but there are many others.

The thing I dislike most about myself ...I sometimes wish I was more patient and had a more relaxed attitude.

The thing I dislike most in others ... I’m not a big fan of intolerance and racism.

The best advice I ever got was ... keep it simple.

I’m happiest when I’m … eating good food and drinking good wine.

The hardest thing I’ve ever done was ... being the dad of teenage daughters (it’s also the most rewarding).

My greatest extravagance is ...a vintage Fender Bass Guitar (1962 P-Bass, as good as it gets).

My favourite book is ...I like autobiographies and the occasional adventure novel.

My motto is ... If I had one it would be “You’re only as good as your last f*** up” … oops, slipped into Gordon Ramsay mode, sorry.