I am Heidi. I have a BSC in Psychology and a Post Graduate Diploma in Human Resource Management (CIPD Level 7).
I have gained over 30 years’ experience working in private, public and charitable sectors and for over 10 of these years I have had the accountability for HR. This has given me a valuable insight into balancing commercial needs of a business and getting the best from the individuals that achieve that commercial success for you. Your employees are not just assets, they are complex messy people with their own individual motivations.
I am a curious, trusted, relatable solutions-focused individual. With that, I can balance achieving an outcome whilst understanding the sensitivities and nuances of individuals. I love what I do and would value the opportunity to support your business achieve its goals. I have a broad network and will collaborate with others if that is what is needed to deliver the results.
Knowing yourself is the beginning of all wisdom - Aristotle
March 2020 and the Covid-19 lockdown has affected us all in some way or another. It provided me with time to pause and reflect. The outcome of this was deciding I was skilled and brave enough to take the step into the unknown, of becoming an independent HR consultant. Lockdown taught me that I am resilient, self-motivated, and flexible, and that I have the knowledge that even in the most challenging times I can remain clear thinking and hold strong in my core beliefs. There was also a renewed sense of realisation that the world changes and life is too short not to try to live our dreams.
I love working in HR and in one form or another I have been doing so for the past 15 years. I have lost count of the number of individuals that I have supported, guided, mediated with, and seen through the whole employee lifecycle. There are the challenges of handling redundancies to the joy of telling someone they have a new job and everything as well as everything in between.
Competency in HR is far beyond formal qualifications, it provides a framework to what I do and what I continue to build upon. Qualifications, continual professional learning, and life experiences have helped build my values and principles by which I work.
Reaching this point has been a journey which I would like to share with you.
I left school at 18 with a batch of GCSE’s and no A Level’s. I recall the "careers advisor" telling me to be a nurse or a secretary – neither of which appealed. I was just pleased to be leaving an education system I felt indifferent about, even though I was embarking on a journey with no destination in mind. Something which society (both near and far) did not seem to approve.
I set out working in the hotel business which began my interest in people; listening to their stories, finding out about their jobs, what motivated them, and recognising that all guests were individuals and one size definitely did not fit all. This was a useful grounding on which to begin my journey. The shift patterns and irregular hours drew this start-out career to an end. I had reached a point, that I didn’t seem to achieve at school, which was the spark of a desire to learn and evening classes in any subject were not possible when you were unsure of your shift pattern from one week to the next.
I then ventured into the world of administration and for the next 15 years worked within sales support for a publisher who produced a building product reference source for architects. Over the years I learnt the importance of commercial success, the basics of selling and finance, and most importantly that it is never too late to learn. In early 2000 I was accepted on an internal Business Development Programme. For over 2 years I was with a group of 8 colleagues who were being internally trained on team building, creative thinking, and problem solving (I still recall a treasure hunt day in Richmond Park finding a fisherman willing to be photographed!). I was introduced to the writing of Edward de Bono amongst others and a desire to learn was awoken.
This desire began to be satisfied by attending night school and over a few years I achieved an A level in Business Studies and a Diploma in Management.
After 15 years with one employer I took the brave decision to move on and went into a couple of PA roles, I still hadn’t built enough self-confidence to not hide behind the face of a director, but I started to get my first taste of autonomy by being responsible for HR within my next 3 roles.
In 2005 life changed, and I met my now husband and from the start he believed in me. Both of my older sisters had achieved degrees and their graduation photos are proudly displayed in my parents’ house alongside one of me in their garden. I spent too long thinking I could not and then having met someone who told me I could, I signed up with the Open University and 6 years later graduated with a 2:1 BSc in Psychology. So, guess whose photograph now joins those of my sisters! I loved the course (holding a human brain in my hands was just one highlight!), not only has it given me an invaluable insight into people and an insight into how we work, but it has also instilled a self-motivated work ethic; writing assignments to strict deadlines whilst holding down a job can do that!
Albeit later in life, I felt I now had a chance at a career that matched my aptitudes, I knew I wanted to focus on HR. The challenge was, and continues to be, getting a role in HR when despite experience you do not have a CIPD qualification. So, my education journey continued, and I signed up to a distance learning course through Gloucestershire University to achieve my Post Graduate Diploma in Human Resource Management, CIPD Level 7. 84,555 words and 41 assignments later I have a second graduation photo!
As an HR Manager, I have now learnt to step back a little from some of the "doing" to become a little more strategic in identifying how HR can support business objectives. It is more about coaching and training line managers in aspects of HR so they can, for example, effectively recruit and performance manage their teams. I provide clarity and guidance on skills frameworks and processes to maintain fairness and compliance for a wide range of HR activities.
Being made redundant has given me insight into being on the receiving end of an all to familiar HR activity. I recognised myself on the change curve and gave myself permission for the occasional rant!
What has come now is a desire for a greater level of autonomy and a chance to step in a support a range of business and use what I have learned to help them achieve their desired outcomes. So here comes the next stage of my journey: .
Thank you for reading and I hope I have to the opportunity to step into your world and enable you to find solutions for your HR challenges.