As a bit of a career chameleon with a number of different career incarnations - journalist, PR consultant, skincare creator, strategist - it was no surprise when offered a new role in my old agency that I embraced the challenge.
When our founder and MD, Leilani Abels, said I think you’d be great at this it was definitely left of field. I had never considered HR in my PR agency life. But, the more I thought about it the more I thought - yup, I can do this.
Then of course imposter syndrome settled in because I was literally an imposter. Have I ever done HR before? What the hell did I know about HR? But then I reminded myself that the brief was to have someone in the role who understood agency life - the challenges, the daily grind, and life as a consultant, and importantly, the business.
So, I’ve spent the past 6 months on a massive learning curve. Reverting back to my original career and training as a journalist, I thought the best way to learn is to dig deep with those who are the experts. And this week, that connection and conversation was with the Head of HR ANZ for the consistently awarded #1 place to work 2 years’ running - Cisco. A company that we very proudly represent as a client.
I kinda figured there has got to be a lot to learn from an organisation that has 97% of its Australian workforce rating it as a great place to work. It was a transformational hour of power with James Comer who graciously answered my questions and shared with me some incredible insights, resources, and inspiration.
I ended the call thanking him and asking if he would be OK with me tapping into his expertise every now and then - promising I would not be putting him on speed dial! His parting words have resonated with me all week.
He said I love to teach. And you are doing something I have never done in my career - defining a role that has never been in place and creating what people and culture looks like at Thrive. What you create is your legacy - it will live and build beyond you. Whoa!!! Goosebumps.
I hung up from the call reflecting on the role that I have, the responsibility, the incredible opportunity, and the endless learning and growth ahead.
In the words of Henry Ford: “Anyone who stops learning is old, whether at 20 or 80. Anyone who keeps learning stays young.”
Learning is fundamentally about being curious. Yes, it can be a training course or an MBA, but it can also simply be talking to people. People you admire. Someone in your organisation who has a different role from yours. Your boss. People in other organisations. Your clients.
What I have discovered is that if you ask most will welcome the invitation and will more than graciously answer any questions you have, and then go beyond that and provide you with so much learning and inspiration.
A one-hour connection and conversation once a month is my goal. That power hour for me is an invaluable way of fast-tracking my learning and growth in this new career at an age where new career opportunities are often, and sadly, few and far between. Curiosity + Connection + Conversation = Enrichment
Snezna Kerekovic is Thrive PR + Communications People & Culture Director