As the next installment in this popular series, I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to introduce you to the latest addition to our team, Paula Ford. Our clients will get to meet Paula as she starts to work on a variety of consulting projects at Balance at Work. Here’s what she told us about her career to date:
I am just starting work with Balance at Work and am very excited with this new chapter in my life. I will be working closely with Susan to deliver a range of HR projects. In addition, I also work part-time with a small and very committed Organisation Development Team. In this position, I work mainly on developing, delivering and measuring a range of HR/OD projects to enhance organisational performance.
What other activities are you involved in?
I have two daughters so along with work their hectic timetable keeps me fairly busy. Over the last few years I have been involved in managing their sporting teams and volunteering at their preschool/school. I love to get out and mountain bike ride with girlfriends when I can and living in the Blue Mountains is ideal as we have so many great rides.
I didn’t really know what I wanted to do at school. I started my working life in finance in a large private sector organisation but then decided that I really wanted to work closely with employees. From there I did a secondment in HR and loved it. I went back to study and moved into the HR field. The more experience I got the more I realised that the psychology side of HR was what really interested me. Since then I have focused more in this area and completed further studies in management psychology.
When I was 13 I was horse mad like most girls my age. My parents were not horsey and thought this was just a phase I was going through. They decided that if I wanted a horse I would have to save for it and work to help pay to keep it. I think they thought this would put me off the idea. Well dad got me a job of washing 50 cars at the local car yard. I washed cars every Saturday morning for 2 years with frozen fingers in winter until I got a job at Kmart. I think this was a valuable experience that contributed to my work ethic. The horse wasn’t such a phase I kept him for about 8 years.
Having children has been the most significant change in my life. It made me reprioritise and become a more balanced person. It has made me realise that not everything has to be 100% perfect or you’d never get anything done. You just have to have the courage to admit that we are all human and be willing to learn and grown from experiences.
Who do you admire? Who has inspired you?
Dr Maya Angelou a celebrated poet, memoirist, educator, dramatist, producer, actress, historian, filmmaker and civil rights activist. An amazing African American woman born in 1928 who faced many closed doors in her life and not only survived but thrived with passion and compassion. I think one of her most powerful quotes is “I’ve learnt that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how they made you feel”.
I’d spend a year or two with my family travelling, living and volunteering overseas. Whilst my husband and I have travelled I would like to share my girls’ experience of not only seeing the world but being a part of other communities and contributing to those less fortunate than ours.
Have the courage to try different things and take on opportunities. If they seem daunting, know that you will never fail as success is not about achieving the highest level of performance or getting things right but it is about the experiences along the way that will help you grow as a person.
"In a challenging role in a new organisation, coaching with Paula was the ideal time to reflect, problem-solve, brainstorm options and arm me with next steps in all areas - from staffing, internal politics and relationships to tackling key initiatives. The sessions were by video and face to face, both equally effective. Using video allowed for easy integration of sessions into my busy workdays without any hassle. Paula’s style of coaching quickly built trust so I felt safe being vulnerable, quickly getting to the heart of a number of issues and propelling me and my performance forward significantly!"
- Executive GM, People and Culture
"The last couple of years at batyr has seen incredible growth and the Balance at Work team has supported us along the way. They have helped us improve leadership skills across the team by helping us source and manage mentors, and even engaging as mentors themselves. As a young and fresh CEO Susan has also supported me personally with genuine feedback and fearless advice to achieve great things."
Sam Refshauge - CEO, batyr
"We used the Harrison Assessment tools followed by a debrief with Susan, for career development with staff, which then allowed us to work with Susan to create a customised 360 degree review process. Susan has a wealth of knowledge and is able to offer suggestions and solutions for our company. She is always ready to get involved and takes the time to show her clients the capability of Harrison Assessments. "
Jessica Hill - Head of People and Culture, Choice
"Balance at Work are the ideal external partners for us as they completely get what we are trying achieve in the People and Culture space. Their flexibility and responsiveness to our needs has seen the entire 360 approach being a complete success. The online tool and the follow up coaching sessions have been game changers for our business. The buzz in the organisation is outstanding. Love it! Thanks again for being such a great support crew on this key project."
Chris Bulmer - National GM Learning and Development, ISS Australia
"We use Harrison Assessments with our clients to support their recruitment processes. We especially value the comprehensive customisable features that allow us to ensure the best possible fit within a company, team and position. Balance at Work is always one phone call away. We appreciate their valuable input and their coaching solutions have also given great support to our clients."
Benoit Ribe - HR Solutions Manager, Polyglot Group
"The leadership team at Insurance Advisernet engaged Susan from Balance at Work to run our leadership development survey and learning sessions. Susan was very professional in delivering the team and individual strengths and opportunities for growth. Susan's approach was very "non corporate" in style which was refreshing to see. I can't recommend Balance at Work more highly to lead employee and team development sessions."
Shaun Stanfield - Managing Director, Insurance Advisernet