to be hungry for success; if you don’t want to win, do not play. Be
honest and fair in all you do. But in the end, there is no substitute
for hard work.
The HR field has been evolving. What
changes excite you the most?
PS: It’s actually our acceptance by others in the organization as
belonging to the head table. One of the reasons we started the
Master of Human Resource Management program in the school
of HR management at York was to put more HR professionals in
the pipeline to make them the leaders of their organizations. We
have been largely successful. Furthermore, I think our role will be
expanded to manage the ethical and legal side of the business, but
we will need to become better trained for these roles. With all the
corporate scandals and sexual harassment issues now facing organizations,
it’s the HR people who are on the front line. But we
must have the skills and the training and the qualifications to perform
What’s the future of HR?
PS: The future is bright, but we have to become the heart and soul
of the organization. We need to be the voice of what’s right to do.
People should look to us when they need advice in tough situations.
If we combine this with solid knowledge of the business, the
future is going to be bright. n
First job: It was as a high school
teacher in Guyana. I didn’t work
through high school as a student.
So, my first paycheque was as a
Childhood ambition: To become
Best boss and why: It is difficult to
choose. It may be a tie between
the HR director in my first HR
job, who understood the need
to develop potential and talent,
and a former university dean
who taught me to understand the
importance of policies and the
need for consistency, especially
in the public sector.
Current source of inspiration:
The current Pope of the Catholic
church, Pope Francis. He is a
breath of fresh air in a world
that can be troubling at times.
Watching him with the sick, with
the elderly and with those who
are discriminated against has
been so warming, especially in a
world where we see many leaders
being so much about themselves.
Best piece of advice ever
received: It was from my mother.
She said we need to walk in the
shoes of others to understand
their feelings and perspectives.
Favourite music: I listen to a lot
of music. I like the soft rock and
soul music of the 1960s and 1970s.
I also like old Indian movie songs,
even though I do not know Hindi –
but I like the music.
Last book read: The Kite Runner
by Khaled Hosseini. It’s difficult to
describe; it’s a complex book with
a mixture of tragedy, cowardice
What’s key to leading HR during a difficult
time for a client organization?
PS: I think leaders need to have a vision. You need to know what
you want over the long term, and then you need to acquire the
resources and build a team and a plan to make that happen. Of
course, you need the political guts and determination to execute it.
What are the necessary competencies for
success in HR and how do you think those
have changed throughout your career?
PS: First, you need strategic visioning and you need to see the big
picture and where you want to be. Second, you need to know the
organization and its operations. You need to have some competencies
around political savviness and pretty much know when to
shut up. And, of course, you need to have emotional intelligence
and empathy. When I started, the focus was on the administrative
and enforcement side of HR, but now it’s become increasingly
What tips do you have for new grads or those in entrylevel
HR jobs who want to move up the ladder?
PS: They need to understand their organization and learn about
it from the inside out. They need to know how it makes a dollar
in profit or how it can balance its books. They also need to
become qualified, both academically and professionally. You need
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