This week in our MHC Life Series, we hear from Jan Smullen, Director of Human Resources at the firm. Jan chats about her career journey, a typical day and her idea of a perfect holiday.
Tell us a bit about you and your career journey to MHC – what inspired you to get into this career?
My career as an HR professional started many years ago in the bank. I moved from branch banking into head office as part of the HR team. As my career progressed so did the variety of roles I undertook; Divisional leadership roles, HR Learning & Development, HR Policy, Regulatory (Fitness & Probity), Industrial Relations to name a few. I then moved from Financial Services into Big 4 Professional Services for 7.5 years and then onto my role here almost six months ago. I’ve always been a ‘people person’ and started my HR studies while in branch banking, I’ve learned something from every role I was in and learned the most from the ones that challenged me and probably roles I didn’t particularly like.
What was your first job?
My first job was in the House of Ireland which is still around today, it started as a summer job after my Junior Cert (or Inter cert as it was called then) and continued for every school holiday for a couple of years. You mostly met tourists who loved everything Irish; crystal, tweeds, linen, leatherware, pottery and they were generally a joy to deal with. This was long before the internet and mobile phones when everything was bought in person or over the phone, there was no online shopping so personal contact and relationship building was key.
Talk us through a typical day for you
There is no such thing, every day depends on what’s in the diary, what calls, or meetings are scheduled, what needs to be prepped or researched, meetings to be planned etc. We have a team call three times a week to ensure we keep up to date with what’s happening across all the roles, and everyone is kept informed about what’s happening in general. Fridays we keep specifically for project updates as we have a number of projects running at any one time. I love the fact it’s so varied, I try to make sure I have lots of interaction with partners and staff, so I am getting to know people, learning about the business and also keeping my finger on the pulse.
Carpe Diem – seize the day.
Have you ever met anyone famous?
I’ve been at dinner in the Aras with former President and Dr. McAleese, I’ve met Ronnie Wood in a pub in Naas, Ronan Keating on a flight from Portugal, Steven Gerrard in Portugal (unrelated). I think I even have some autographs from the latter ones somewhere….
What's your idea of a perfect holiday/favourite place you've ever visited?
Three stand out; Safari in Kenya, East coast Australia and Lapland which was entirely magical (I’m sure you can guess why!)
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