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:
What’s your current position and what do you do?
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.
Is this what you expected to be doing when you were at school?
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.
What was your first job?
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.
Can you tell us about a significant turning point in your career/life?
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”.
If there were no limitations, what would be in the future for you?
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.
Finally, what would you tell your younger self about work and careers?
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.