I’ve done a lot of different jobs in my working career—stage actor, executive personal assistant, stay-at-home mum, environmental consultant, editor, project manager. Human Resources takes a little bit from every role and bundles it into a single package. I have a passion to see people set goals and chase their dreams, to be the best version of themselves that they can at any given moment. I believe good processes and systems support people and make work easier, safer, compliant, and enjoyable.
I hate the term “work–life balance”. I spend nearly a quarter of my week at work; work is part of my life, not something separate to it. I want my work to be meaningful, to align with my values and purpose, to add value to my day, and, if possible, I want to have some fun doing it. As the Head of HR, I get to promote values, culture, processes, and standards that build a workplace I love, and I get to share that with everyone else who works here.
I live in and work from a small country town (pop 400) in the heart of the wheatbelt of Victoria.
I might look like an ordinary middle-aged, middle-class grey-haired office worker (and I have been known to spend days curled up with a good book), but I’m a bit of a thrill seeker—white-water rafting, roller coasters, ziplining, skydiving, motor biking—I love them all.
When I was an actor, we had a performance in Melbourne. A member of the audience caught my eye and I thought he looked familiar. We toured a lot, working in schools, nursing homes, churches and basically anywhere that would have us, and we always stayed with local families. It was my third or fourth tour of Victoria – so I’d met a lot of people in that area. All during the performance, the man’s face stayed in my mind. I sifted through places and people trying to work out where I knew him from but kept coming up blank.
After the performance, frustrated that my memory had let me down, I bowled up to him to find out how I knew him. He was standing behind the last row of seats, so I knelt on a seat to face him and launched into a “I’m so sorry I don’t remember you, but clearly we’ve met” explanation. He had two friends standing just behind him, waiting for our conversation to end. The longer my explanation why I couldn’t remember him went on, the harder they laughed.
Finally (way too late) I had the sense to stop talking. He said, “I’m Brian Naylor. I read the Channel 9 news every night.” (And had done for over 10 years!) I was so embarrassed that I literally curled up into a ball on the seat that I had been kneeling on. He graciously said, “It happens all the time, but that is the best reaction I’ve ever had.”