I have a less than traditional career path yet have spent 20 odd years working with multi-nationals, central government and third sector organisations

About me

Sally G.
Politics, Economics and Philosophy
Politics, Philosophy & Economics
BA Hons
Vanbrugh
1997
United Kingdom

About this profile

Director - HR Enablement & Engagement
EY
United Kingdom
Finance and consultancy
Large business (250+ employees)
2014

About the job

What I do

I am currently a Director in a large Professional Services firm. I am largely responsible for people and change related projects aimed at increasing engagement and improving the work environment for all staff.

Skills I use and how I developed them

I could write a long list of skills. The main ones:
1. Dealing with ambiguity is one of the key skills I use on a daily basis. My thought process on a day-to-day basis is largely around: What's the real problem here? What's the context? Who are the key players? What might a way forward be? How I developed that skill - taking on many and varied projects meant I was rarely the expert but I needed to be always curious and work my way towards a solution.
2. Relationship and credibility is the next big key skill in this business. I live and die by my reputation and the quality of my last project. How I developed that skill - connect, connect, connect and I keep in touch with a broad range of interesting (and fun) people.
3. Juggling multiple priorities is a core skills and has been in my management consulting life. How I developed that skill - keeping organised and 'on it'.

What I like most

Variety and making a difference to peoples lives. I also now work part time and spend the rest of my time on other activities. It's great to have that flexibility.

What I like least

It can be stressful and there can be politics and egos to deal with. I do less travel and long hours than a used to (which is good).

What surprised me most

The amount of flexibility I can have if I ask (and make it work)

Finding and applying for the job

How I looked for work

I was lucky in this role. I was approached by someone I knew through the wider network. The world is small and the more you connect the smaller it becomes. I'm lucky and have not needed to apply for a role for a long time. Back in the day, I found knowing a good recruitment consultant useful.

How I found out about the job

Personal contacts

The recruitment process

A number of informal conversations. I think the more senior you get the process becomes more a mix of informal and formal steps. At entry level the process is a whirl of interviews and assessment centres.

My career

My career goals when I graduated

Not sure I knew (I'm still not sure I know!). I had ruled out a career in TV/film production (a longer story). I wanted to make a difference to peoples lives and I was inspired by applied ethics, and applied economics and was interested in what we would now call the 'future of work'.

My career history

1997/8 - After York, I got an MSc in Personnel Management & Industrial Relations (my focus was industrial relations).
1998/2000 - ITN (News production) - Personnel Officer
2000/2001 - SAP - HR Systems officer
2001 - PwC - Consultant/manager in HR Consulting
2004 - Accenture - Manager/Senior Manager in Talent/HR/Change area
2011 - Freelance/studying another MSc/Parent
2013 - Set up own company

What has helped my career to progress

Working hard, always delivering and building a reputation. Keeping curious.

Courses taken since graduation

MSc in Personnel Mgt & Industrial Relations (UMIST/now Manchester University)
MSc in Sustainability & Responsibility (Ashridge Business School)

How my studies have helped my career

I think keeping learning is core to the success of any career (and life)

My advice to students

My advice about working in my industry

Expect to work hard and stay curious.


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