Jacqui Watson is an experienced HR leader working at a ground-breaking life sciences company based in Cambridge and covering the UK and the US. Read this Pure story to discover the difference our support made to Jacqui’s career progression ten years ago, and how this was the start of an ongoing relationship with Pure’s Director and HR recruitment specialist Caroline Batchelor.
Jacqui Watson is the Chief People Officer at Inivata, a company based in Cambridge which is transforming the lives of cancer patients and their families through the power of liquid biopsy.
When Jacqui returned to the UK from Dubai 10 years ago, she was in her own words ‘slightly battered and bruised’ from a negative experience working as a Group HR Director. She was faced with finding a new role in the UK after several years working overseas and a crisis of confidence about staying in HR and working in a senior position.
Jacqui explained: “At the time I felt like I needed time to regroup, to find my confidence and to build my resilience back up. I wasn’t even sure if I wanted to stay in HR, despite it being a career I had always loved and worked hard to progress within up until that point.”
Jacqui approached several recruitment consultants in the Cambridgeshire area for help and support, one of whom was Pure’s Caroline Batchelor, who had been recommended by a previous colleague.
Jacqui said: “Most of the other consultants just wanted to put me forward for senior roles. They hadn’t listened to me or understood how I was feeling at that time. Caroline was quite different. She took the time to really understand where I was at and why I felt the need to take a backwards step for a while.
“Although she knew underneath the disillusionment and hurt there was a still a strong HR Director getting ready to resurface, she put my feelings first. She got me in front of people who probably wouldn’t even have considered my CV without her input and explanation, as it looked like I was too ‘experienced’ for the role. With her help, I took on some interim roles and slowly found my ‘mojo’ again. I also learnt a lot more about myself during that time and trained as a coach to help me become an even better manager.
“Caroline gently went about helping me to rebuild my confidence and I will be forever grateful for her support at that time.”
Using her strong network of contacts, Caroline was able to place Jacqui in interim HR roles at a lower level than she had been working at, so she could build her resilience back up. In every placement, Jacqui quickly became highly regarded and her ‘can do’ attitude and pragmatism were always extremely appreciated. This gave Jacqui the confidence boost she needed to realise that HR was still the career she wanted to be in.
Jacqui went on to progress and thrive, taking on new roles and even running her own HR and Learning & Development Consultancy. Caroline has continued to support Jacqui as both a candidate and a client over the last decade, and in turn Jacqui has provided her expertise as a coach, facilitator and leadership development professional to deliver workshops for the Pure team.
Caroline said: “Earlier this year, I asked Jacqui if she would be interested in a short term HR assignment at Inivata to cover a period where they would be without a HR Director. In just two months, the client was so impressed with her depth of knowledge, particularly from her previous role as a HRD in a global pharma business, they offered her the role of Chief People Officer. Jacqui’s story demonstrates is that a HR career doesn’t have to be linear. Candidates with a great attitude, flexibility and strong business acumen will carve opportunities for themselves by doing a great job.”
Jacqui added: “Caroline opened my eyes to a style of recruitment that works. With Pure there is much closer interaction during the initial stages of the process to identify the core attributes required. When I’m recruiting, I need candidates with not just the right skill set but the right motivation, and I feel that everyone at Pure supports this in oodles. It takes more work, but I think everyone reaps the benefits. It’s an honest and consultative relationship in which they truly work in partnership with you. Whether you are recruiting, or looking for the best role for you, they will always strive to do the very best they can.”
Caroline joined Pure in 2002 at the beginning of our journey. As Director, Caroline is responsible for middle to senior HR recruitment across Cambridgeshire. A graduate of Manchester University, Caroline started her recruitment career in 1999. She is a qualified Coach and Co-Facilitator of our Women’s Leadership Programme