As we progress our International Women's Day celebrations we continue to speak with the inspirational women from across the OASIS Group.
Today we meet Jane Gallagher, OASIS Group HR Director.
What is your current role?
My current role is Group HR Director with responsibility for Human Resources across OASIS Group.
What is your professional background?
HR has always been my passion (ever since I read the definition of Human Resources in a schoolbook at age 14!) and I chose to specialise in HRM when I undertook my Bachelor of Business Studies at Dublin City University. From there I developed my HR experience, working in mostly B2B organisations and then joined OASIS over three years ago. While the industries I’ve worked in have been varied, there has always been a strong theme of growth and change in each of my roles and that certainly has been the case at OASIS too!
What has been the single most significant development to impact your profession or area of business during your career and why?
There hasn’t been one single development but I can think of a number of moments early in my career when there was an opportunity to really push myself out of my comfort zone and take on a new challenge or project (even if internally I was unsure!). I was lucky enough to also have a few strong mentors in my corner backing me along the way. The subsequent growth and development from these moments was transformational in my career. I love Tina Fey’s quote “Say yes and you’ll figure it out afterwards”, it’s a great mantra to counter the imposter syndrome we all experience.
What’s the biggest challenge facing our industry today - and how do you plan to solve it?
Our biggest challenge (and opportunity) is meeting the needs of our clients who are now embarking on digitisation journey for their records and information. Our industry needs to show leadership and expertise as our clients undertake this journey. We are currently in the process of implementing our new product Omnidox 5 internally. It’s been a great opportunity for me to put myself into the shoes of our clients and really think about our product from the perspective of an end user.
What are the current challenges for women in your profession?
It’s not unique to HR (or women) but one of the biggest challenges for all professions is managing to keep on top of all the priorities of work and life. I prefer the phrase work-life harmony to work-life balance as I think it’s unrealistic to put the two on either side of a scale…working is an important part of most of our lives after all. My belief is that having a flexible mindset within a company that values and promotes flexible working is the best route to achieving this elusive harmony but it’s not easy! I also believe that HR and leadership can play a big role in promoting and role modelling flexibility through policies but more crucially by both “talking the talk and walking the walk” when it comes to managing our own busy lives.
Do you think there is a lack of women in our industry? If so, why?
Our industry is traditionally more male orientated, but OASIS is now bucking this trend to a large extent. Technology and digitisation has meant that the industry has become more accessible and attractive for women. The recent acquisition of Archidoc in Poland has really demonstrated this and we for the first time ever now have more women (54%) working across OASIS Group than men which is very cool.
What does ‘Collective Individualism’ mean to you? Either in general or when thinking about OASIS Group.
To me, “Collective Individualism” or “#EachforEqual” recognises that each and every one of us can contribute to greater equality in business and society. Each team member at OASIS is part of a wider collective group but also is an individual with his or her own thoughts, achievements and actions. The compound effect of all those individual efforts striving towards a collective goal, be it equality or another indeed business outcome is certainly more powerful than operating in isolation.
Is there anyone (male or female) that inspires you in your career?
Without doubt my mother has been the greatest inspiration in my career. My father passed away when I was quite young and her commitment to both her family and her career in software was and is hugely influential to me. My mother from a young age was quite the trail-blazer, insisting on studying higher level maths and chemistry at the boys’ school as they weren’t taught at the girls’ school! She instilled a strong sense of independence and work ethic within me which I feel very grateful for.
Finally, what piece of advice would you give to young women starting their careers in your profession, either within this industry or in general?
Great HR is tailored and contextual so I’d advise any HR professional to get your hands dirty and understand the business you support. That means really knowing the opportunities, problems and indeed the finances of the business. During my early days at OASIS I had the opportunity to shadow a driver (who are perhaps our greatest ambassadors) and it helped me enormously in truly getting how the business really operates.
Most of all, be curious, humble and get to grips early with what problems you can help solve and where you can make a difference!