What does your role involve?
I oversee our HR Administration and Governance Teams, and I’m a member of the Senior Management Team (SMT) at UPSU. The HR Team deal with contracts, recruitment, payroll, employee records, training, disciplinary etc., and I also deal with strategic HR, such as organisational development, equality, wellbeing, reward etc. The Governance Team deals with Trustee Board and Sub-committees, Company and Charity Administration, and Organisational Administration. I am the Company Secretary for UPSU, as well as our Trading Subsidiary. As a member of SMT, I support the Chief Executive in developing UPSU’s strategy and contribute to development and communication of our organisational culture and vision. I feel very lucky to fulfil a role which is at the heart of the organisation.
What’s the best thing about it?
I love the complexities and challenges of working in a students’ union: every single day throws up unexpected, difficult situations, which involve navigating paradoxes and committing to pragmatic solutions. We can manage this at UPSU because the SMT is so strong. We have a wide set of skills and experience between us and are able to communicate well, challenge each other’s viewpoints, and agree a solution that we all get behind. I feel privileged to be part of this. My Belbin Team roles are Completer and Specialist, so I will often research a new topic in depth, or maybe ensure an organisational presentation is prepared well, or sometimes develop a structured process for a new idea. Being part of such effective teamwork, in the face of challenge, is so rewarding.
How did you get here?
I previously worked as the HR Manager for Falmouth University, and before that I was an HR Team Leader at Plymouth City Council. My passion has always been HR, and I have a particular interest in Employment Law. I have always been keen to read extensively around a topic I am working on, in order to critically evaluate options and contribute to team discussions. This approach has stood me in good stead for my development at UPSU, as it has led to opportunities to develop into new areas of work. My line manager, the Chief Executive, has supported me hugely during my time here, and I hope to continue to repay that faith for many years to come.
What was the most helpful piece of advice you picked up along the way?
Something I have realised, working in HR, seeing others succeed and fail, is that your attitude is more important than anything else. If people can see you are committed, resilient and driven, they are much more likely to respect you, get on board, and work towards your vision. As a leader, if people will follow you, you are half way there. A great attitude also gives your boss faith that you will deliver, whatever else happens, and they will get behind you. Furthermore, with the right attitude, your skills and knowledge will develop and you will go from strength to strength. Attitude really is the root of success.