CV in brief:
- Global HR BP retirement, Investments Mercer
- EMEA HR director, Mercer
- Australia/New Zealand HR director, Mercer
- Senior manager, management consulting, Ernst & Young
Get to know your peers in the global HR community through our career profile series. Today, we talk to Dr Siobhan Martin, executive director HR at Mercer.
CV in brief:
Tell us about your job and organisation
I’m on the UK board and executive leadership of fantastic company called Mercer. We’re a global company of 20,000 employers who transform the way employers and their people make decisions about their health, wealth, and careers.
My primary responsibilities as UK HRD are setting strategic human capital direction, driving and supporting company-wide change and performance, succession and talent management.
Who do you report into?
I report to the UK CEO and the Europe/Pacific HR director.
Tell us about your team
We have a wonderful group of HRBP’s and centre of expertise specialists based around the globe serving the business.
What is the most rewarding part of your role?
Making profound and long lasting cultural change, particularly around the inclusivity of our workforce to reflect the diversity of modern Britain.
And the most challenging part of the role?
We’re complex and fast moving. Must remember to breathe!
What does a typical day look like for you?
Starts early with the kids and the dog (a mini dachshund called Nudel – love of our lives), many people to speak to and decisions to be made. Ends late with a cuddle from the best people and dog who started the day.
Why did you choose your current organisation to work for?
The CEO really got it about people. It never felt like an uphill struggle.
Perks and downsides of your role?
Being the voice of change and really being able to make things happen, but the downside is sometimes not having space for my family as much as they really should have.
What skills are essential for the role you’re in?
Diplomacy, influence, sensitivity and courage.
How did you get to where you are now?
I was born in rural Australia in a quite isolated community and raised by my immigrant mum with my three brothers and sisters. Grinding poverty along with lots of love and a really friendly supportive community that made all the difference.
The girl guides, the Country Women’s Association (the Australian WI) and the Anglican church were great starts in early leadership and adventure.
What were your best subjects in school?
Humanities was where I excelled then I took a dual science/humanities track at university and took my PhD in forensic psychology.
What was your first job?
Having worked on farms from the age of 10, I became a psychology tutor and a librarian once I went to university. Students get up to some interesting things in libraries…
Have you followed the career path you set out to?
I’ve always followed the path that was most interesting at the time rather than have a grand plan.
What challenges have you faced along the way?
As a young woman in business I experienced overt sexism and harassment. That which doesn’t kill you certainly does make you stronger.
What has been the proudest moment of your career so far?
Being recognised on the OUTStanding Top 100 LGBT Executives list published by the Financial Times two years running.
Do you have any career regrets?
No. I’ve been blessed by the opportunities that have come my way.
What advice would you offer to others who are looking to get to where you are now?
Don’t wait to be asked, think broadly, and show as many people as you can what you’re capable of.
What advice would you give to your 22-year-old self?
Don’t be afraid. Horrible people don’t survive in business for any length of time. Strong, good people really do.
Online features editor at Changeboard
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