IN TERMS OF MY JOB IN PARTICULAR, A CHALLENGE I HAVE IS INSTILLING
AND REINFORCING A CULTURE OF PERFORMANCE AND TALENT
DIFFERENTIATION WITH KINDNESS, RESPECT AND INCLUSIVITY.
to work for a union because I was very passionate about help-ing
employees, but then I thought I could also help employees by
working on the company side.
What was your first HR job?
AD: I was an HR trainee at PPG Industries’ Coatings and Resins
division in Mississauga. My first boss at PPG was my key men-tor.
Even though I had a labour relations degree, she started me off
on the non-union side. My first client group was finance and the
HQ function, but I was soon promoted to labour relations advisor
and moved down to the plant. Then I was responsible for labour
relations, including collective agreements, grievance handling and
supervisory training. I worked night shifts, health and safety…I
was hardcore labour relations. It was a really cool experience.
Tell me about your current job. What are your main
areas of responsibility?
AD: My job covers the full breadth of global HR and commu-nications,
both internal and external. It’s employee development,
engagement, rewards and all the typical HR sub-functions.
What do you love about your job?
AD: I love the opportunity to drive business results. That’s always
been important to me. I am able to focus on business strategy,
organizational strategy and design. I’m involved at the strategy
level on the core team, partnering with the business on develop-ing
the business strategy. But I still focus on employee advocacy,
employee development and employee engagement. All of those
things drive business results.
What are the challenges you experience in your job?
AD: The challenge is still the true ability to measure the impact of
HR, which I think continues to elude us as a function. In terms of
my job in particular, a challenge I have is instilling and reinforcing
a culture of performance and talent differentiation with kindness,
respect and inclusivity. Sometimes for people, those things seem
at odds. But it’s not an “or” equation; it’s an “and” equation. So that
can be a challenge, creating a culture that balances both sides.
What’s key to leading HR during a difficult time for a
AD: The role of HR is to have a perspective that is potentially dif-ferent
from the rest of the business. Having that perspective, being
the trusted advisor and having the ability to lean in are very impor-tant.
HR can give the outside-in perspective to the rest of the
organization. Also, sometimes in HR we get caught up in neutral-ity.
But HR does not need to be neutral. HR needs to be objective.
First job: I worked in a food court in
Richmond, B.C., where I grew up.
Childhood ambition: I thought about
this and I really did not have one.
Best boss and why: It was my first
boss at PPG, Sharka Holler. She
was a great mentor and really
knew how to develop somebody.
She’d bring me in to watch her do
something as simple as interview
somebody. She also had me up
presenting in front of a senior
leadership team within my first six
months on the job. She knew that in
HR, becoming confident as a public
speaker early in your career is very
beneficial down the road.
Current source of inspiration:
My biggest professional passion
is the work I do around diversity
and inclusion. I coach eight
women concurrently, in what I call
coaching circles. It’s like a book
club, in that we talk about being
more confident female leaders in
a male-oriented environment. And
it’s a pay-it-forward model, so those
who benefit must agree to hold
their own coaching circle. Three
women at work have recently been
promoted and they attribute their
success to this coaching circle.
I get a lot of my satisfaction from
these coaching circles.
Best piece of advice ever received:
When I made the tough decision to
leave Canada and move to the U.K.,
someone said to me, “You regret
the things you don’t do.” I went,
and I had the privilege to work in
progressive roles in Canada, the
U.K., Shanghai, San Francisco and
New York. I was gone for almost 11
Favourite music: Steely Dan.
Last book read: There are two, one
personal and one business. First is
Identical Strangers: A Memoir of
Twins Separated and Reunited, by
Elyse Schein and Paula Bernstein.
It’s about identical twins and I have
identical twin girls, who are 13.
The last business book I read is
the subject of the coaching circle,
called The Confidence Code: The
Science and Art of Self-Assurance
– What Women Should Know, by
Katty Kay and Claire Shipman.
54 ❚ DECEMBER 2018 ❚ HR PROFESSIONAL