Being a leader is not always about following the status quo, says Kirsty Luce, director of Page Personnel Singapore. It can also be about challenging current practices in order to improve the future.
What prompted your move into recruiting?
After completing my masters in biomedical engineering, I decided to leave the scientific world behind having spent six months on my own in a laboratory every day. The solitude probably got to me — talking to yourself is not much fun.
Thinking it through, I decided that interacting with people and utilising my communication skills were integral to the role I wanted to take on. At the time sales seemed a natural choice and recruitment was the perfect match — sales and people together! I researched the market and interviewed with all of the key recruitment consultancies but for me it was always Page Group that stood out — the culture, the commitment to delivering excellent customer service to our clients and candidates, the ongoing training, and the opportunities for progression fully engaged me. These qualities are at the heart of what we stand for and I am proud to say that I still see these attributes demonstrated each day, even after 10 years on the job.
What does a typical day look like for you?
What I love about my job is that no day is particularly typical. Yes, the core processes we go through are the same — meeting candidates, calling and meeting clients, and working on job processes. But the thrill of this role is that people are at the heart of our business. Our clients and candidates can change their minds at any point and therein lies the challenge. Having to think on your feet to find a solution that closes a process or wins over a new client keeps my days ever-changing.
Moving away from the operational side of my role and onto the leadership side — engaging with my management team, getting involved in training our consultants, running desk reviews or simply giving advice to my consultants on how to have more of a commercial impact in their market means that I am always on the go and my activities are constantly varied. For me there is no better role and I love how the unexpected happens every day.
Please share with us your leadership journey so far. Have you encountered any challenges as a woman in leadership?
I started with Page Group 10 years ago as a graduate who had a clear ambition of becoming a leader within our business. From that moment on, I focused on making career choices that continually challenged me, pushed me out of my comfort zone and developed me as a recruiter and future leader. I moved to five different locations in the UK and then moved to Singapore — each location and role has taught me invaluable lessons, either operationally or about how to manage and lead people from all backgrounds.
I have made plenty of mistakes along the way. I was initially not open to feedback, but later learnt that the continued feedback our senior leadership team gave was critical to my development. The road was not always easy, especially when working through a pretty challenging period of the UK recession.
I would not say that there were any particular challenges I faced as a woman. I just needed to learn from my peers and leaders and trust them when they pushed me out of my comfort zone. Though 10 years have passed, I feel I am only at the start of my leadership journey and am excited about the journey ahead and the new things I will learn and my continued contribution to the group.
What do you enjoy most about being a leader?
Being able to share my journey — the successes and the failures — with my teams. Helping to support them in their training and development and thereby ensuring they achieve their goals.
Being able to facilitate change and help grow our business through the success and promotion of my people is a lasting legacy that I enjoy and hope to be a part of for many years to come.
How can women grow as leaders both in and out of the workplace?
Women who want to become leaders need to have confidence in their own abilities and ideas. Being a leader is not always about following the status quo. It can also be about challenging current practices in order to improve the future.
Apart from having the confidence to bring your own ideas to the table I believe hard work, being consistent and developing a strong succession plan are all instrumental to becoming a leader. Being open to feedback and seeking advice from senior management or a mentor can be useful as well. Working for a company that fully supports the growth and development of female employees in their career paths and ambitions is also a critical factor.
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