Fiona Mullan, chief people officer at Bloom & Wild, shares her tips for a varied and successful career in HR.
Chief people officer, Bloom & Wild, September 2021 – present
Bloom & Wild has presented me with a strategic chief people officer opportunity to steward the growth of the company across Europe. I’m enjoying building the people team and designing our people programmes to scale our culture and organisational capability across three brands and eight markets.
Chief people officer, Ding.com, January 2020 – December 2021
Ding gave me a route into a more investor-oriented, founder-led technology business and the C-suite working daily with the CEO. I wanted to experience a different stage of growth with diverse stakeholders including the board and investors.
“Being adaptive is critical to having impact.”
VP international HR and head of HR EMEA, Facebook, May 2014 – January 2020
Moving to Facebook was an opportunity to move to an earlier stage company and see growth I had never experienced before. Jumping in at the right stage to be part of building the people programmes for scale was a fascinating learning experience. By the time I left, Facebook had grown from 900 to 12,000 people.
Senior HRD Asia Pacific, international staffing director and HRD, Microsoft, January 2005 – April 2014
Moving to Microsoft gave me a chance to move closer to the product end of technology. I had the opportunity to move around, heading up HR for Ireland; leading recruiting internationally; undertaking a short-term assignment in Beijing to do the Greater China HR director role as an interim and then move to Singapore to run HR for the Asia Pacific region.
HRD government, UK, Ireland, Nordics, resourcing director UK&I, senior HR manager, Ireland, Accenture, July 1998 – Aug 2001
Starting as the first person in a newly formed business for Accenture gave me a
start-up experience within a well-resourced and structured environment. Accenture was a true learning environment and I honed my business acumen there.
HR specialist, Misys, July 1997 – July 1998
Committing to a career in HR, I joined a banking software company to broaden my experience of the HR function. I travelled to India hiring technology talent. I learned a lot more about software development, banking and even more about cultural diversity.
Recruiting manager, Skillsgroup, 1993 – 1997
Without ever intending a career in HR at the outset, sometimes opportunity knocks. I spent all my time working on retainer for US technology multinationals establishing their European bases growing teams from nothing to hundreds of people. These were high-intensity projects with tight deadlines and a great way to learn.
Top three career tips:
- Context is everything. Applying HR work in different contexts makes for quite different solutions. Being adaptive is critical to having impact.
Apply depth and breadth. It’s ok to be more interested in one or the other, but there is great value in being able to do both well.
Work with people you can learn from. Put yourself in a situation where people have experience you want to grow.
The full piece of the above appears in the May/June 2022 print issue. Subscribe today to have all our latest articles delivered right to your desk.