A conversation with Moira Lynam on building experience and having a sense of purpose
Moira Lynam, Head of HR, Noble Group
Moira is an agile and culturally astute HR professional with wide experience in Global Commodities, Banking and Financial Services across countries, cultures and regions including Asia, Japan and EMEA. She is a strategic HR Leader who is results driven. Her experience has been uniquely gained in building and transforming organisations to achieve sustainability and legacy. She is highly skilled at managing and influencing in complex, matrix organisations.
What factors do you think have been critical to the success you have achieved in your career?
In short many factors have been critical! A career is a collection of experiences and it is what you do with those experiences that defines your career. I have pursued experiences, by taking time to understand the environment and culture in which I was working and combined that with a ‘will do’ attitude. I have always tried to think two roles ahead and understand what skills, competencies and attributes I need to develop to perform at that level, and then I would find opportunities to develop these. Therefore, for me, the factors for success were:
- staying in tune with the organisation and culture
- be courageous and back myself and my ability to develop experiences outside of my day to day role
- take feedback on what went well and what did not
- reflect on feedback and use it to refine my style and performance for the future.
Finally, having a trusted network of diverse people, has been absolutely critical. These were family, managers, colleagues, friends, people I interacted with, who provided me with guidance and reassurance regardless of companies or countries that I have worked in. Surrounding yourself with people who will provide clear and direct perspective and advice, or simply said, tell you the truth, is in my mind critical to ensuring you stay connected to your true self.
What initiatives have you experienced within any organisation, that you believe have helped you in your career?
Again, I am very fortunate to have been involved in many initiatives that have been a platform for my personal and professional development. I would like to answer this question differently by talking about an important initiative that I have been focused on through my career, and has provided a sense of purpose and is not constrained by any one organisation and that is Diversity.
In my opinion, there is direct accountability of employers to understand and create a positive environment for Diversity. Taking this further, I fundamentally believe that employers must reflect and respect the community in which they participate. I use community and participate with intention. In pursuit of an interesting career, and potentially life, I believe you must be challenged and surround yourself with people that will consistently challenge you. That generally means, you need a diversity of people, ideas and concepts to take you on your journey of understanding different perspectives. In being willing to understand a differences, you can then consider, question or engage, from a completely different perspective. This then becomes contribution and action toward changing the needle on the topic of what a global community or diversity can be by asking a new set of questions – for example, “does my work place reflect where I live”. For Participation, consider “am I engaged in activities that reflect my current community that will change, challenge and reform my perception and experiences”. By being self-aware and by putting yourself in someone else’s shoes, you have already made the step toward being a supporter of an evolving mindset.
In my role, I am fortunate that I can be a champion of a diversity agenda and be part of an open and continuously informing discussion.
Can you highlight any career defining moments?
Each and every day I am challenged by the work that I am engaged in. I aim to be relevant to my work and motivated to having a positive impact. I believe it is this attitude that has allowed a number of career defining moments, which have included living and working across Europe, Asia and Japan and I have enjoyed a multitude of cultural experiences. I have encountered very many professional and interesting people in my career, and the professional, and also casual, conversations I have had, provided a deeper understanding of the business, people and challenges, have had an important impact on my development journey. Simply put, keep talking to everyone as this provides knowledge as well as insight.
What advice would you share with females on how to progress their careers?
I will summarise this as the attributes that I consider important for all leaders:
- Authenticity – people are drawn to this
- Accountability – own the good and bad decisions
- Resilience – a career is a marathon, you need to reach your finish line
- Trustworthy – deliver on your promises and be upfront if you can’t meet expectations
- Relevant – every single day
- Diversity – surround yourself with people who will provide a different perspective
- Balanced – in your decisions, and in the choices you make
- Work Smart – not just hard
Finally, in recognition of International Women’s Day, I would add the following specifically thinking of Women:
- Celebrate your successes – you did it, enjoy it
- Be Courageous about the Opportunities – at least you tried
- Have Self Belief – how can others if you don’t
- Be Self Aware – take control of what needs to change
- Give back – we are in the Community together