The Ri5 profile: Fiona Morris, Havas People


As director, Perform, at Havas People, Fiona Morris draws on her 25 years’ experience in recruitment, learning and employee performance, focusing on advising clients on the value in engaging with employees through cultural alignment and internal communications. With experience that extends to virtually every industry sector, she is able to advise clients on the most effective solution to suit their brand and achieve their business objectives.

How did you first get into the industry?

In a very roundabout way – having worked in recruitment after graduating, I moved from event management to PR before doing my CIM post-grad to give me the confidence to apply for broader marketing roles. The first one I applied for I got – it was a mixture of internal comms, channel marketing and training for an automotive client – right up my street!

Would you do the same again?

Yes. I used to think having such broad experience was a weakness. Now I use it as a strength, being able to advise clients on all sorts of talent requirements.

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

Teach disadvantaged children – it so saddens me that children are our future yet we’re not giving them every opportunity possible.

Who are your favourite people from the industry?

Well, the first question is, which industry?! If we’re talking internal communications and employee engagement, a big influencer of mine is Richard Branson. He’s completely transparent so you know exactly where you stand with him.

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

There’s no such word as ‘no’ or ‘never’.

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

Learn from everyone you come across: listen to people – even if you think you disagree, there’s a nugget in there somewhere.

What’s your favourite recruitment ad?

I love our National Offender Management Services ‘Is it in you to be a prison officer?’ campaign to recruit prison officers. It’s been running for a couple of years yet still feels fresh and relevant. And it’s multi-award winning of course!

And what’s your favourite non-recruitment ad?

Currently, I would have said the John Lewis Christmas ad, but I think Aldi’s pipped them to the post with Kevin the Carrot.

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

This all depends on who they are, how well we know each other and how many of them I’m entertaining.  There are so many restaurant choices in Farringdon, I like to mix and match – my criteria is a decent wine list and good company!

What are you reading at the moment?

The Sellout by Paul Beatty, this year’s Man Booker Prize winner.

And what are you listening to?

My wedding songs when I go running! We had a civil wedding so we picked all sorts: from I Wanna Be Your Boyfriend by the Ramones, to Bring Me Sunshine by Morecambe and Wise.

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

Jo Cox (the MP who was murdered – I’ve brought her back), Michelle Obama, Richard Branson, Justin Trudeau and Paula Nickolds (John Lewis MD).

What are your top three films?

Brief Encounter, The Ladykillers, and any James Bond with Sean Connery or Daniel Craig.

Something or someone for Room 101?

Something: jealousy; someone: Donald Trump

What items do you never leave home without?

Lipstick and iPhone

What’s your biggest achievement – career or otherwise?

Cycling 700 miles around Beijing province to raise money for the British Heart Foundation in 2000.

Who’s your biggest hero, and why?

Malala Yousafzai deserves the deepest of respect. She continues to fight her cause whilst being at constant risk of recriminations.

What is your ideal holiday?

Exploring the Med or the Caribbean on a sailing boat.

Three words to describe yourself?

Determined, positive, loyal.

Your best and worst habits?

My best habit is about the only exercise I get – walking to and from the train station every day, whatever the weather. My worst is Sunday morning lie-ins and smoking (not at the same time!).

What’s your guilty pleasure?

Family packs of crisps!

What single fact would surprise people the most about you?

Most people at work don’t realise I started out in recruitment and moved into event management by placing myself into one of my client’s vacancies!

Thursday, 17 November 2016

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The Ri5 profile: Fiona Morris, Havas People