Caroline McGuire is an HR Specialist and Coach at Clariti Consulting. She is also the Queensland State President and a non-executive director at the Australian Human Resources Institute (AHRI). Caroline uses neuroscience and coaching methodologies to deliver leadership development, coaching and HR consultancy services.
Caroline has over 20 years HR experience across a range of industries; but most recently in the consulting engineering and technology sector. She also serves on the board of management of Re-think Re-Engage Australia, a fledgling for-purpose organisation promoting the value the experience of older workers can bring to the Australian economy.
What boards do you sit on?
I serve as a director on the Australian HR Institute (AHRI) Board. I also sit on the Board of Management of Re-think Re-engage Australia.
When and why did you decide to become a director?
It has been a goal of mine for some time to obtain a board position, following exposure to internal boards of management with a previous employer. I'm passionate about HR representation at the board level and would love to see people expertise valued as highly as financial, risk and technology expertise.
What are your short and medium-term board aspirations?
In the short-term I'd love to consolidate my board capability, gain some valuable experience and truly find my feet in my relatively new role with AHRI. I'd be keen to take on a second board role with another organisation in the coming year or two, but maybe that's a goal for 2019.
Outline your career background.
With a Bachelor of Business (HRM) my background is in management and human resources; most recently within the engineering consultancy sector. I left my in-house HRM role in 2016 to commence my own business - Clariti Consulting. Since late 2016 I've been specialising in providing leadership development, executive coaching and HR services to the engineering and technology sector. I've also been heavily involved with AHRI over the past 10 years or so as a member, volunteer, State President - and now Director.
Touch on the challenges and hurdles that have presented themselves, either being on or getting onto a board, and how you overcame them?
Just a couple of months into my first board role I am throwing myself into learning the ways things are done, as well as up-skilling my financial capability to suit the board level. The workload is quite significant and I think that is something new directors often don't appreciate. I'm fortunate to be self-employed and somewhat flexible with my time. I think a challenge for me when it comes to seeking my next board opportunity will be to clearly articulate the value my experience and previous board role can bring to a new board.
Are there any directors/leaders you look up to? Why?
I've been fortunate to have some time working with Rhonda Brighton-Hall, a previous AHRI director and CEO/Founder of mwah, as well as a former Telstra Business Woman of the Year. I admire Rhonda's approachable and easy-going nature - teamed with an extraordinary business and people-oriented mind.
Have you had mentors and sponsors and how have they helped you in your career?
I'm very vocal in my support for mentoring and have acted as a mentor across a few different programs. Personally, mentors have helped me as I've been able to benefit from their experience, as well as being challenged to do, and be, better.
What’s the diversity (gender & other) like on your boards?
We are extremely lucky at AHRI to have a gender balanced board - would you expect anything else from an association for human resources professionals? We could do better in other diversity areas and that's a challenge for us in the years ahead. Boards of companies where I have worked have been very (if not totally) skewed towards men, with no HR representation.
How did WOB help you in your journey to the boardroom?
While WOB were not involved with my AHRI board appointment I have found the supportive online and face-to-face community at WOB to be a wonderful asset.
Any tips for women starting out in their career?
My 'go to' tip is to take advantage of every opportunity that comes your way and seek out opportunities if they don't land in your lap. The harder you push and the more chances you grab early on will best position you for success in the future.