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How Did I Get Here? Fiona Knight, KPMG


Fiona KnightCurrently the Lead HR Manager at KPMG, Fiona Knight spills the beans on her career to date.

All the previous career profiles can also be seen in the special How Did I Get Here? page.


Current job title
Lead HR Manager

Describe your initial training within the profession
IPD studies via Westminster University, followed later by repeating through the training and development route at Thames Valley University. More recently an MA at Kingston University in Employment Law

What positions have you held?
In recent times, UK Head of HR within an insurance broking/financial services intermediary. Since joining KPMG in 2000, Regional Senior Manager – South business unit, then Regional Senior Manager – Midlands and South business units; moving to a new role in May 2004 of Lead HR Manager for the firm’s Corporate Finance and Corporate Recovery functions.

Is there a significant event you can tell us about which had an impact on your career?
A firm-wide re-engineering change programme at my last employer. This catapulted me in at the deep end on designing and delivering a business-aligned HR strategy – with a small team. It was a fantastic challenge– and gave me the opportunity to move out of a wholly operational role.

What has been your greatest achievement?
That’s a difficult one… looking back, the HR outputs from the change programme I have mentioned seem a real achievement for a number of reasons; I’ve had some wins at tribunal that have felt incredible at the time because of the amount of effort that goes into preparing for these over a long period… and then there is the high you get when you persuade sometimes reluctant parts of the business to the real value add of HR.

Which of your colleagues played the biggest role in you getting where you are today?
Anyone who has worked in HR with me as it is a team effort. If I had to single out one person it would be either my first HR boss who trusted me to get on with the job and so started me off or my present day coach.

What advice would you give to someone thinking of entering the profession?
Get the CIPD qualification or equivalent to give yourself a technical expertise; make sure you gain an understanding of business so you can talk your clients’ language; once you have started, keep a proactive look out for opportunities to learn and develop your skills – sometimes these can be found even in day to day activities; be kind to yourself and make some time for your own development.

Previous How Did I Get Here? features:
Susan Stevens, Toshiba Information Systems
Irene Burwin, HMG Paint
Trevor Lakin, IPPM
Alison Clarke, Quantica
Laurence Collins, Ceridian HR Consulting
Paul Kearns, PWL
Fiona Knight, KPMG
Adrian Glynn, Wilkins Kennedy
Joanne Darling, Cooper Parry
Sue Matthews, Coventry City Council
Nichola Nair, European HR Strategic Programmes Manager for Xerox
Alison Lewis, Corporate Learning & Development Manager, Oxfam
Jessica Diggins, HR Manager, Chartered Management Institute
Linda Klassen-Brown, Group HR Manager, The Logic Group
Keith Hanlon, HR Manager, Quantum Business Media
Andrew Mayo, frequent speaker and writer on HR issues
Jim Brooks, HR Manager for ServiRail Ltd
Jean-Bertrand de Lartigue, Chairman of HR2all
Karen Caddick, Head of HR, Channel Five
Madeleine Tate
Keith Luxon, HR Policy and Reward Director, The Laurel Pub Company
Jeremy Thorn, Chairman and Director of QED Consulting
Roger Pattison, HR – Training & Management Development Consultant
Verity McVarish, HR Manager for Sift Media
Rus Slater
David Kelly, Head of Development and Training for Aventis
Jenny Kevan, UK HR Manager for Abbott Laboratories
William Martin, HR Manager, Telewest Broadband
Craig Truter, HR Manager, The Body Shop
Martin Stockton, HR Transformation Leader, Towers Perrin
Nick Heap, Consultant, New Directions
Crispin Garden-Webster, HR Specialist, Asian Development Bank
Sandra Walsh, HR Delivers
Carole Leslie, Director, IT Learning Ltd
Shaun Dunphy, Project and Process Manager, EMEA HR Service Centre for MCI
Debra Artlett, HR Officer, NGJ
Dianne Miles, HR Manager, Rollalong Ltd
Jacqui Mann, HR Manager, Integra NeuroSciences
Isabella Montgomery, Human Resources Officer at The new Housing Association
Iain Young, Head of HR for Cofathec Heatsave

Have you got any useful insights or cautionary tales regarding your career? If you would like to contribute to the ‘How Did I Get Here’ feature please email our employment correspondent: Dawn-Marie Dart

Career resources

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