Ri5 Profile: Sophie Meaney


Sophie Meaney is Managing Director, Consulting Solutions & Strategic Development at Amberjack. If you were a client, you’d get to choose the restaurant to hear tales of rescues at sea.

How did you first get into the industry?

I studied law at University and did an internship at a law firm.  It reinforced my sense that the law might not be for me as I thought that the Recruiter’s job looked more up my street than the Lawyer’s job. On leaving University I therefore applied to be a trainee recruitment consultant.  I had expected it to be a bit like a dating agency for jobs so had a rude awakening!  The sales training has proved incredibly useful as a career foundation though and the broad commercial exposure helped me gain a better understanding of the employment marketplace.  After 18 months, I moved into an in-house graduate recruitment role once I had learnt enough to realise that was what I had originally been looking for.

Would you do the same again?

The only thing I would probably change is the degree I did.  Although I loved studying law, it had been a toss-up with Psychology which actually would have served me better through my career as Occupational Psychology has always been a very significant aspect of the roles I have done.

What would you do if you didn’t do this?

Executive coaching or property development

Who are your favourite people from the industry?

Aside from my colleagues at Amberjack who, cheesy as it sounds, truly are an extended family, I’m a big believer in ‘coopetition’ so my favourite people are those who believe in collaboration even if there are areas of competitive overlap.  I also love disruption when it’s grounded in solid science.  I am therefore a big fan of organisations like Artic Shores, Pymetrics, Rare and HireVue who are doing fascinating things and are a pleasure to work alongside.  I have a number of favourite clients too who are open-minded, results driven and truly collaborative – I won’t mention them by name but they know who they are.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve received in your career?

Your biggest sceptics will be your strongest champions if you can turn them around so don’t work around them, work through them and if you can’t get them on board maybe your proposal needs rethinking.

And what piece of advice would you give somebody starting out in the sector?

Embrace all networking opportunities, get out, listen and learn about what everyone else is up to, it’s a fast paced, constantly changing world and if you only focus inwards you’ll get left behind.

What’s your favourite recruitment ad?

It goes beyond simply being an ad, but I love what Chivas did with “Moments that Define you” – they did a great job of expelling the myths around what is actually a very challenging job in glamourous clothing, strengthening the engagement of those who are right for the role but encouraging the less well suited to deselect.

And what’s your favourite non-recruitment ad?

I tend to chuckle at most of the “Should have gone to Specsavers” adverts

You’re entertaining industry contacts. Where do you take them, and why?

We usually allow our clients to select restaurants which they like and are convenient for them.  

What are you reading at the moment?

“How to Talk So Little Kids Will Listen,” as I have a mischievous 3 and 5 year old. 

And what are you listening to?

My husband is a musician so it’s usually his album or “Party like an Oligarch” by Robbie Williams which for some reason my kids are obsessed with.

Which five guests would you invite to your ideal dinner party?

I would love to have both Michelle and Barack Obama, Lee Kuan Yew, the Dalai Lama and Dawn French.

What are your top three films?

Anything by Richard Curtis – I like my films to come with rose tinted glasses

Something or someone for Room 101?

Aeroplane Accident Programmes – my husband is obsessed with them but I don’t understand why anyone would choose to spend their relaxation time watching something which highlights the potential for things to go wrong in the air and has real and very sad content!

What items do you never leave home without?

Phone, wallet, keys.

What’s your biggest achievement – career or otherwise?

As predictable as it may be, it probably was being appointed to the Amberjack board at the age of 36.  I never thought I’d be board director, let alone so comparatively young.

Who’s your biggest hero, and why?

Michelle Obama at the moment – everything she says or does inspires me.

What is your ideal holiday?

Wine tasting in Franschhoek or Margaret River

Three words to describe yourself?

Complex and challenging is how my boss describes me, I’d add open-minded.

Your best and worst habits?

Best: always looking on the bright side.
Worst: not living in the moment enough – I’m always worrying about what’s coming next.

What’s your guilty pleasure?

Trashy novels

What has been your worst/most boring job you’ve ever had?

Printing and binding film scripts.  I was an expert on how to clear printer jams.

What single fact would surprise people the most about you?

I used to drive rescue boats.


Thanks Sophie. If you'd like to nominate someone or participate in the Ri5 Profile please email editorial@ri5.co.uk

Thursday, 13 April 2017

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Ri5 Profile: Sophie Meaney
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