What is your role at OpenCorporates?
I joined OpenCorporates in May 2019 as Head of People.
What drew you to work for OpenCorporates?
I wanted to join a company that is small but has ambitions to scale. I really enjoy growth at a company and the impact you can have on areas such as hiring and onboarding people. I am passionate about engaging people to align with an organisation and to develop alongside it.
I was particularly interested because OpenCorporates’ founder Chris Taggart is still involved in the company, and in driving its mission. You can harness a lot from being able to work closely with a founder. Whilst OpenCorporates is no longer a start-up, it has retained its entrepreneurial feel and atmosphere. The mix of public benefit and commercial clients gives the team a huge sense of pride in their work.
In my role as Head of People I have had an opportunity to go in and really shape the agenda, bringing in things that I think are important. I have worked to make sure we are a values-based organisation, that we put people high on the company’s agenda and that we ensure we are really engaging and looking out for our team.
Tell us a bit about your background before OpenCorporates
I studied psychology so I have always been fascinated by the idea of understanding behaviour, what makes people tick and how to potentially create behavioural changes. My time on a Marks & Spencer graduate programme gave me management experience in all areas of the company, and started my interest in HR, as I found I had a flair for motivating the team.
In 2008 I joined the fashion retailer Uniqlo, where I undertook various Store Manager roles during a period of major expansion. During this time I was promoted, and managed larger teams. I also had the opportunity to travel to Japan for training, and on one occasion I spent 6 weeks in Tokyo. I also achieved recognition for my store performance across thousands of stores globally.
I later became their HR Business Partner for the UK, which gave me the opportunity to fuse my long-standing passion for psychology with Uniqlo’s goals, policies and procedures. I also completed an HR management qualification so I could firmly establish my career in the field.
After this, I felt I needed a new challenge outside of retail and joined iTech Media, a start-up with big aspirations to grow, where I was their first people manager. Over the next three years I worked alongside the Managing Director to develop hiring plans, onboarding activities, a benefits programme, core organisational values, team events and company goals.
Last year I was seeking a new challenge and I wanted to replicate the experience of embedding a new people and culture focused agenda and it was then that I found OpenCorporates.
What do you think is important about what OpenCorporates does?
For me what is important is OpenCorporates’ commitment to equality of access to data and its vision of foundational White Box company data. There is so much opportunity for misleading data and fake news today, so providing data from a foundational source you can reference is important.
What we do benefits society by exposing the bad guys and makes sure organisations who are trying to increase transparency have the information they need.
Where did you grow up?
I grew up in North West London. It is a fun place to live, especially being so near to Notting Hill Carnival.
What do you do in your spare time?
I like keeping fit. I’m currently enrolled in a gruelling boot camp which I’m very much regretting, so you can find me outdoors in a park twice a week come rain or shine. I also take part in OpenCorporates’ running club. When I first started I could only do 1.5km, but six months later I can now run over 4km.
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