LAUNCHING: LAURA FORDHAM

Current Employer:

A Leading Commercial Real Estate Company

THE BIG QUESTIONS

WHAT IS YOUR PROFESSIONAL TITLE?

HR Business Partner

WHAT DO YOU DO ON A DAY-TO-DAY BASIS?

People are every company’s greatest asset and my role is to work with senior leaders in order to develop an HR strategy that closely supports the overall aims of the business. The strategy has to be flexible depending upon the external economic environment and no two days are the same! I provide advice on a number of people topics such as how to attract, engage and retain employees and much more.

WHAT DID YOU WANT TO DO WHEN YOU WERE A CHILD AND WHAT CHANGED?

I always wanted to be a professional horse rider. From a young age I loved horses however it is now just a fun hobby.

WHAT ACADEMIC QUALIFICATIONS DO YOU HAVE?

GCSE’s, A Levels, BA (Hons) Human Resource Management with Psychology, MA Human Resource Management and my CIPD professional qualification.

WHAT’S THE BEST CAREER ADVICE YOU’VE EVER BEEN GIVEN?

Stretch yourself – you always need to feel a little out of your comfort zone in order to learn and progress. Also, that you won’t know all the answers to every situation or question so don’t be afraid to ask for help or advice – it is not a sign of weakness.

WHO IS YOUR ROLE MODEL AND WHY?

I am fortunate to have met and worked with a lot of senior HR professionals and I have taken elements from all of them in which I aspire to be. One of my previous managers who had children really promoted a healthy work-life balance and taught me you do not have to attend every early morning meeting or late meeting in order to be successful and making output far more important that presentism.

WHAT IS THE BEST THING ABOUT YOUR CURRENT WORKING ENVIRONMENT?

The team I work with; they are dynamic and supportive. I would say this but for me it is the people who you work with that really make the work environment great.  I am lucky that I have worked with fantastic colleagues in each company I have worked for.

WHAT WOULD YOU CHANGE ABOUT YOUR DAILY WORK ROUTINE IF YOU COULD?

Commuting – I have been very fortunate to have only just started to commute over an hour into work over the past 6 months and it is a killer. I have been used to living much closer to the office.

WHERE DO YOU SEE YOURSELF PROFESSIONALLY IN FIVE YEARS’ TIME?

Ultimately, I’d like to become Head of HR however this may take longer than 5 years!  Therefore, I’d like to continue to learn and grow my area of responsibility.

DO YOU FEEL YOU CAN BE THE SAME PERSON AT WORK AND IN PRIVATE?

I feel as though I am myself with my immediate team, with my client groups I am my most professional self.

WHERE AND IN WHAT ROLES ARE WOMEN IN THE LEADERSHIP STRUCTURE AT YOUR COMPANY?

There are a number of senior women across the business in fee and non-fee earning positions.  It is really encouraging to have these role models.  There still needs to be better representation of women across all senior positions but this is changing for the positive year by year.

DOES DIVERSITY MATTER TO YOU?

Diversity greatly matters to me, I believe that everyone deserves to be valued, respected and differences embraced. Companies are creating great initiatives to address diversity and inclusion but in my working lifetime I’d like to see the need for initiatives to disappear and diversity becomes a natural part of how businesses operate.

HOW GOOD IS YOUR WORK LIFE BALANCE?

I have a good work-life balance and I enjoy going to the gym either before or after work as it is important for me to stay active as a lot of my time is sat in meetings or at my desk.

WHAT QUALITIES DOES BEING IN YOUR ROLE NECESSITATE?

  • Enjoy working with people and being able to create relationships

  • Effective communication and listening  

  • Patience  

  • Trustworthy

  • Reliable

  • Self-awareness

  • High emotional intelligence

ANY FINAL COMMENTS?

HR is a very challenging but rewarding career and not a lot of people truly know what the role entails and wonder what HR departments do all day apart from hire and fire people.  For me it is a really interesting career choice and you can work as a HR professional for any company in the world so if you aspire to work for a world class brand a career in HR can open those doors for you.

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