Women who Inspire – Annabel Kaye, Relationship Architect
Women who Inspire - Annabel Kaye, Relationship Architect
A series of interviews with women who inspire talking to Dorothy Dalton
Annabel Kaye is a woman of massive energy. CEO of Irenicon a UK-based company specialising in employment law, her special skills is helping you fit together the jigsaw puzzle of human nature, the law, and commercial reality. She calls herself a "relationship architect" and likes to work where the 'fault lines' are.
Annabel Kaye is hard to keep up with. She is a speaker, advisor, consultant, thinker, trainer, tribunal fighter, strategist, employment law, HR specialist, a tango dancer, a stand-up comedienne and passionate blogger with a wide social media presence.
I'm sure I have left something out!
3Plus finally managed with difficulty to catch up with this formidable lady!
How did you choose your career path?
It was an accident. I had been in PR for a charity, then in publishing and consumer law for a not for profit. I realised my next promotion was about 10 years away. I got sent for an interview by someone who misunderstood the job brief and met someone I wanted to work for.
At that time HR had one hour on employment law and general legal degrees had one hour – it was not really a subject in its own right. My family has been actively engaged in employee relations for more than one generation and it made sense.
That was more than 30 years ago and I have stayed in this path ever since.
What are your greatest challenges?
I spend a lot of time improving how I communicate. My biggest challenge is enabling the people I work with to see that they don’t have to do their HR with a ‘compliance’ hat on and that they can create appropriate structures and relationships without losing sight of their goals.
"Time management is always an issue – there are so many places to go, people to meet and things to do."
I have to bring it back and focus.
Tell us about one special success story
My work is confidential so it is hard to talk about stories involving clients. One thing I am very proud of is that in conjunction with the first real HR Director of Virgin Retail I sat down and invented and wrote a way of managing staff (and a staff handbook) that went on later to win awards and formed the basis of how many organisations work today. Much copied (in breach of copyright!). It was ahead of its time with duvet days, and trained employee companions and representatives.
Combined with training and coaching we helped take a small chain of record stores in London into a place where we could recruit, train, promote and retain some very talented people and created an employment brand that still stands the test of time.
Has any one person influenced you and how?
Many people have influenced me but I think my mother was a very specific influence. She expected her children to have informed and articulate opinions from an early age and encouraged me to question and learn.
Her joyful intelligent attitude to life and to people and problems has always inspired me. She was also formidable to argue with and the best person on earth to party with. Her work life balance was full on – she just lived a full life. She did not think about what she should not or could not do – she just did what she found she needed to do.
What do you like best about your job?
I get enormous satisfaction out of helping people and organisations to get round things that block them and get back on a path that takes them towards where they want to do.
If you could give one piece of advice to any woman about their professional choices what would it be?
My father once told me I might be a good junior secretary if I worked hard.
" Don’t let your friends and family put you in a box that is too small for you. "
Their vision for you is not your vision and whilst we love them all – we don’t have to live small lives in order not to put them out.
Do what you need to do – work hard and smart – but do it with compassion – and know that sometimes the people you love will try to keep you with them (and to hold you back) because they love you and want to keep you close.
Which song would you choose as your anthem?
Who would you nominate for the Women Who Inspires series?
I nominate Lara Morgan. She is an amazing inspirational woman
If you are inspired then contact 3Plus today to find out more about our Career Booster Coaching Services.
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