Linda Smith

Professional Bio

With over 12 years’ experience operating at C-Suite Level, I’ve worked closely with a variety of CEOs MDs and leadership teams across a broad range of sectors including financial and professional services, strategic consulting and insurance.  The size of organisations has ranged from start up to large global firms.

I am a Fellow of the CIPD, have an MSc in Human Resources and am qualified to use psychometric tools.  I have successfully championed transformational change, built and led global HR teams (from 5 to 65 people) and managed budgets (from £100k to £10m).

I believe today’s leaders have an incredibly tough job, operating in an uncertain economic climate where many factors have the potential to disrupt their business.  At the same time, we want leaders to be “in-tune” with their people, capable of engaging and inspiring a diverse workforce and able to make tough decisions.  The expectation and skill-set of our leaders is rapidly changing, and this presents a unique opportunity and responsibility for HR teams

Inspired by the entrepreneurial culture of SMEs, and seeing the value strategic HR expertise can bring to their business leaders and HR teams alike, I founded Chartwell People Solutions. Adopting a practical and straightforward approach, the ethos is to help SMEs implement and reap the benefits of having a People Strategy aligned to their sales and finance plans, meeting the ever-changing demands of their business. Putting them in a better position to achieve their goals and aspirations.  A unique emphasis is placed on the role HR teams can play to successfully drive and influence change.

My personal story

Throughout my career, I’ve continually been drawn to roles involving business and cultural change.  Inspired by working alongside bright and demanding personalities, I saw that while people are important to all businesses, HR is typically viewed as a low priority.  I reflected how the right people practices are pivotal to creating success, and how much organisations were getting it wrong.

With a positive mind-set, my ambition is to build the credibility and value of HR as a business function.   Combining diplomacy and resilience to make a short, sharp and compelling business case has been critical to gain buy-in from time-poor business leaders. Positively influencing “sceptics” to appreciate the value HR can bring to a business and its people has been truly rewarding.

While understanding the commercial priorities of an organisation is one driver, my personal satisfaction comes from leading and developing colleagues, helping them succeed.   Success for me is all about the team you work with:  building trust, offering support and making your team look good.  Hearing business leaders praise your team is the ultimate compliment.

Demonstrating values of candour, honesty, integrity and teamwork have been the basis of building some great relationships.  Remaining calm and having a sense of humour has been essential throughout!

With a motto of “live life to the full”, outside of work you will find me spending time with my husband, family and friends and competing dressage on my horse.

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