The Story of Nspire People
The Early Days!
I’ve worked since I was 16 and my first paid role was working on a fruit and veg market stall 5am-5pm every Saturday – I absolutely loved it!! University was calling though, and after a stalled start on a Tourism course where I fast realised that I wouldn’t enjoy being either a holiday rep or being a flight attendant as I was such a home bird. Funny how that would end up being one of the reasons I resigned from an international role in my late 30’s!
I had been working within Retail for a few years and really wanted to pursue a management degree. Following a stint in Dublin during my industrial placement year (if you haven’t been, go!), I secured a Graduate role at Sainsbury’s – I really earned my stripes there, working all hours and learning how to manage a team (less leading at this point I’d suggest). I didn’t truly appreciate the 10% discount until I had a family of six to buy groceries for!
My first foray into HR was at Sainsbury’s, covering a maternity cover and I found that I fell in love with the profession. Over the next few years, I progressed well ahead of peers to secure my own store with Morrisons Supermarkets. During my time in retail, I felt that I had gained so much operational management and HR experience to stand me in good stead for widening that HR experience into a different industry.
Step up Construction! Well, I was late for both interviews having the worst sense of direction at the time but I obviously impressed those people enough that I secured my role. I studied for my CIPD with the company and progressed from Assistant HR Advisor to Senior HR Manager during my time with them. I look back at this time with really fond memories and I feel that I really flourished with the right support from a wider HR team and excellent stakeholders who really bought into the value that our function brought. Two children later and I wanted to work a little more local after a hospital scare with my eldest when he was at nursery and I struggled to get back in time (he was thankfully fine but it made me reprioritise).
The final Corporate journey to date
By the time I joined the Defence and Security industry, I was a solid HR professional, with many experiences but some gaps that I wanted to gain experience in and joining an industry that plays a vital part in the National Security of our country was such a draw. The ability to make a difference on such a larger scale was too tempting to not go for.
I joined and had the privilege of working with the CEO at the time who, for me, ‘got HR,’ he was an authentic leader and had the confidence to lead by empowering and building a team around him who brought different strengths to the party. It was a real example of how the right team can achieve great things. My experience here put me on a trajectory that exceeded my own expectations in terms of opportunities and I was fortunate enough to have cheerleaders who gave me international opportunities to excel . I even had a very short stint as an example of an ‘Ethical Leader’ on film.
From changing the demographics of the workforce to bringing in shortlisted emerging talent programmes and running restructures and scale-up resourcing, to managing the HR due diligence and integration of two international acquisitions, my skillset continued to grow and grow. For those that struggle to sleep, take a look at https://www.nspirepeople.co.uk/our-story-and-why for further project achievements.
I’ll never forget my first business class trip – I was humbled and to be honest, a little bit like a child in a sweet shop as I flew over to North Carolina for a global HR conference. Fast forward over 40 international trips and countless hours spent in airport lounges, to attend at time meetings that we now see in this climate could be done remotely, the shine had well and truly been dulled. Wonderful opportunities and experiences, but as much as I wanted to ‘have it all,’ by being successful juggling motherhood, an international career, being a good role model, friend, girlfriend, it was having a big impact on my own mental health and something needed to change. I was also fast approaching the big 40 in 2019 that meant I was due a mid-life crisis……..and listing those things I give a damn about (health, happiness, listening to the kids regale me in stories of Roblox and their favourite snacks) and those I didn’t (job title, status, office politics, the number of likes on a Facebook post, bathroom activities of a 7 year old).
I truly believe that by being open about yourself generates a trust and openness within other people, and that’s why I would never ever be embarrassed to say that I have had my own challenges with mental health. I like to think that by sharing my own journey has helped others and that there is absolutely no shame in being open and in writing this would like to say, I’m always here to listen, even if we don’t really know one another.
My career journey within corporate l
ife has been successful. I’m proud of what I’ve achieved and have some genuinely memorable moments where I know that I and my team made a difference. I've seen parts of the world, I wouldn't have and worked with a People team that was hands-down the best. It was time however for a new challenge.
I decided to take a few months off at the start of 2020, because I could and spent a lot of January in spas and generally chilling out.
Roll-on lockdown and it’s given me, much like many other people, time to reflect on what’s important in life and how I can create a working environment for myself (and ultimately others) that helps people, businesses and makes a difference. Something where I can also give my time freely to help other’s who may be starting off in their HR careers or are having a tough time.
Enter Nspire People. My final baby. (although I still get broody at the sight of an actual human baby!) A full service People and Culture consultancy that supports businesses who either don’t have inhouse HR teams, need extr
a support or have specific projects to deliver upon. Pragmatic, authentic, pushing contemporary people solutions and challenging the norm to set businesses aside from others. A safe environment where being yourself is encouraged and the first answer to a challenge is 'yes, let me help show you how.'
A business built from scratch during a extraordinary time. 2020 is certainly a year to remember. I’m fast learning resilience and my confidence has rebounded with the best support team around me!