During Fiona Lawlor’s time at Jack Morton Worldwide, she has seen the HR function develop from being a lowly back-room admin operation to become a strategic partner of the business.
But becoming an HR professional had not been part of her career plan. Lawlor had originally started out as an account manager for a publishing firm but, after seven years, felt that it was time for a change.
So, she joined Jack Morton – although back then it was known as Spectrum Communications, followed by Caribiner, before it was finally acquired by Jack Morton in 2000.
Jack Morton is the creative brains behind a number of big-name brand and product launches as well as major public events such as London’s New Year fireworks display. It has also devised the opening and closing ceremonies for various significant international sporting events, including the Athens Olympics.
The company was really supportive and helped her get the HR training that she required from the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development. She also added to her skills armoury with a degree in counselling, which has likewise proved useful in the workplace.
Today, Lawlor has an assistant to help her manage the firm’s 80 permanent UK staff (although these numbers can double due to temporary staff being hired at peak times) and is part of a global HR team.
Lawlor puts their loyalty down to the variety of the work on offer as well as the fact that the company tries to listen to its employees and use their feedback to improve the business. It also helps that Jack Morton has remained relatively unscathed by the ongoing economic climate and is still managing to grow.
Who do you admire most and why?
It has to be my mum. She offers such sound advice.
What’s your most hated buzzword?
“I need to put that on the backburner and get back to you. End of.”
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given?
Listen 80% of the time and talk 20% of the time. You get a lot more out of people if you listen to them.
How do you relax?
Spending time with my children. When you walk through your door, you have to switch off from work when you’ve got children.