done through newspaper ads. I would use the existing job descrip-tions
as the basis to create the ads, review the resumés, conduct
interviews and develop a short list for the hiring manager. In this
position, I quickly learned the importance of finding candidates
with the “right cultural fit.”
Tell me about your current work. What are
your main areas of responsibility?
AB: I have full HR responsibilities: talent management, rewards
and recognition, succession planning, training and development,
employee engagement and satisfaction. For me, it’s always been
about developing a high performance learning organization; that’s
been my passion and strength as an HR leader. It’s also about
creating a culture and environment where employees form a con-nection,
loyalty and passion for the brand, the product and the
customer. This creates an environment of employee engagement
and satisfaction within a learning environment. My philosophy is
that an organization only grows as its employees learn. This belief
is what attracted me to Mevotech. They are looking to continue
their growth and success by creating a learning organization.
What do you love about your job?
AB: I love the transformational leadership part of my job – trans-forming
an organization by developing an HR infrastructure that
supports the organizational core values and delivers high perfor-mance
results on an ongoing basis. The satisfaction comes from
knowing that HR has played a key leadership role in creating an
engaged workforce with a high level of employee satisfaction.
What are the challenges you experience in your job?
AB: My challenge is creating an HR strategy that drives the busi-ness
forward and enables our employees to understand their part
as well as their contribution to the overall success of the business.
Only then can we empower employees to make the right decisions
at the right time and with confidence.
What’s key to leading HR during a difficult
time for a client organization?
AB: Communication. An organization cannot do enough in this
area. We need to communicate our vision, mission and strategy
in the best of times. However, in difficult times this becomes ever
more important in order to ensure that the organization is aligned
and that everyone is pulling in the same direction. We need to con-tinuously
keep employees informed of our progress and shortfalls
against our shared objectives, and we need to advise of any course
corrections that may take place from time to time. The better in-formed,
engaged and empowered an employee is, the better they
What skills are important for success in HR?
AB: In today’s HR environment, understanding and embracing
diversity is key to establishing a successful HR department. People
bring different dynamics to the organization and we have to le-verage
diversity in order to become a stronger organization. If we
all looked at things the same way, we would believe that we are
never wrong. Allowing for discussion and differing points of view,
IN A NUTSHELL
First job: My first job was at a local garage where at
the age of 15, I started working on Saturday mornings
cleaning the mechanics’ pit, the bathrooms and the
customer waiting area.
Childhood ambition: My ambition was to be a teacher. I
never pursued it, but I’ve now taken on that role within
the business as part of my talent development portfolio.
Best boss and why: It was Bryan DeMarchi at Goodyear
Canada. He was a coach, not a boss. He taught me
how to learn and evaluate myself, and how to focus on
my weaknesses. He never made me feel that making a
mistake was bad; it was simply a learning experience.
Bryan, I thank you for that!
Current source of inspiration: My colleagues within the
profession – those who are pioneering change within the
HR practice and within their respective organizations,
and more importantly the CEOs who are looking for a
new HR perspective. CEOs such as Tony Hsieh of Zappos
and Howard Schultz of Starbucks have made those
organizations great by inspiring and motivating their
employees to greatness, and they have made HR the
driving force behind their transitional leadership.
Best piece of advice ever received: Never stop learning.
Favourite music: John Mayer
Last book read: Leading the Starbucks Way by
40 ❚ JUNE 2017 ❚ HR PROFESSIONAL