Oh what a night!
Helene Speight and Steph Wicken rocked the night away.
They were authentic, honest and hard hitting whilst being well informed and wonderfully self-effacing.
Steph is at the start of what we all felt will be a hugely successful career – she’s 24 and having left school at 16, has two degrees and is studying for an MBA.
When asked whether contemporary Diversity and Inclusion thinking has yet to embrace Britain’s destructive class system, she owned up to the fact that her father had got her not just her first job, but also her second and then her third job! It was a hell of an admission, but she was able to admit this because she is so obviously self-made today.
But her ‘privilege’ has maybe made her so fixated on social mobility and inclusion today.
Helene is a consummate HR professional and leader.
She has earned her spurs the hard way, through her time at General Electric (GE) and Intercontinental Hotels. She now has her dream job at Formula E, where as HR Director she has played a huge part in building a hard driving culture that is both inclusive with a strong sense of belonging.
Helene is straight talking and values led, but also hugely performance driven. She was inspirational and also, like Steph had left school at 16. She oozed class and confidence but in the most approachable of manners.
Helene eschewed many of the HR processes and procedures that can drown out the emotional engagement that the HR function should foster and advocate. This has encouraged her to remain ‘real’ and authentic.
We laughed with her, applauded her and will never forget her.
A formidable duo, who care and lead every day.
Another Inspired evening brought to you by the Inspired Leaders Network.
Part 1 Full:
Part 2 Full:
On the Panel
Helene Speight is HR Director for the ABB FIA Formula E Championship – the world’s first fully electric international single-seater motorsport series.The Formula E team (or FE family as it’s known) has grown to 130 people with 50% female representation and 20+ nationalities.
Speight describes the culture as a place where people can openly be themselves and with the support of the ‘can do’ attitude of the CEO there is autonomy as well as opportunity at all levels.Speight started her career in finance before joining global giant General Electric, where she spent nine years in a number of senior commercial roles.
This included being General Manager of an industrial operations division, overseeing and leading the management of 11 sites worldwide. In 2009, Helene embarked on an Executive MBA at Henley Business School and through this personal development discovered her next move had to be in HR.
Helene made the leap and after holding several key positions she landed the role at Formula E. As an influential member of the senior management team, Helene has implemented bespoke performance management processes and employee engagement events.
Steph works in Businesss Support for Wilson Partners who are a mechanical and electrical engineering company. After leaving school at 16, she embarked on an internship within a construction company before deciding to combine that with her first bachelors degree. At 20 she joined Wilson Partners originally as a technician before becoming an office junior. In the midst of working and completing her first degree Steph enrolled to do another degree! By being in a small firm Steph reports to the Managing Director which has allowed her to assume large responsibilities despite her age.