It's with a heavy heart that we say goodbye to our Chief People Officer, Rob Cook, after a fantastic five years with us. But before Rob heads off into semi retirement, we thought we'd find out more about his time at GAMA and the one piece of advice he would give his successor, Elaine Dakin.
I was keen to join GAMA after meeting Guy Braverman, Joint CEO & Co-Founder, who convinced me that GAMA was developing terrific products, had real ambition, led with integrity and understood the importance of developing people and creating strong teamwork.
That’s a difficult question!!! My initial focus was to help develop GAMA's purpose, our longer-term plans and to create a leadership team to drive it forward. This was about strengthening the foundations of the organisation.
More recently, the focus has been rapidly expanding our international footprint, making sure we can attract and develop great talents across our regions. This meant quickly acquiring the insights and expertise to manage talent acquisition and reward challenges globally.
I am very proud of the HR team who are viewed as very credible by the business. I am also very proud of our recent survey results which continue to report high levels of engagement across the business. Winning the Business Culture Awards last year was a real testimony to the commitment of the business to create a winning team.
Elaine is a very accomplished HR professional so I’m not convinced she needs my advice! For senior leaders to establish their credibility at GAMA, it is important to focus on a few key points:
1. Think strategically and act pragmatically.
2. Understand that the ‘DNA of the business’ is both entrepreneurial yet supportive and caring – these are embodied in GAMA's culture.
3. Build strong, collaborative relationships at all levels – it’s a team sport at GAMA.
4. Get clear on your agenda, stay focussed, but be ready to adapt to a changing business environment.
5. Don’t forget to celebrate all the good stuff!
Good question. No doubt I shall be spending more time playing guitar with Carnegies – the best band in Hertfordshire! I also plan to pay more attention to my health – getting back on the bike and more walking and…. to be honest, I’m far from ready for retirement so I’ll aim to do some ad hoc consulting assignments here and there.
We're delighted to welcome our new Chief People Officer, Elaine Dakin. With a breadth of experience across several industries, Elaine brings a wealth of knowledge to GAMA. We managed to grab 5 minutes out of her busy onboarding schedule to find out more about her plans for GAMA and passion for running.
I was specifically looking for a company with a mission and purpose that resonated with me and that has a direct impact on society, and therefore GAMA was perfect! I met Guy and Allen and saw first hand their passion for, and their commitment to, the company they have created. When I was shown around the office it had a real buzz and it was clear GAMA was special and I could feel that our people really do live the values that were displayed on the wall. I’m now really proud to be part of a company that prevents infections and improves and specifically, saves, lives.
I’ve been very fortunate to work for some great companies in the IT and Telco sectors (Vodafone, Three Mobile, BlackBerry, Hewlett Packard, Cobham Wireless). I’ve also worked for Nuffield Hospitals, Solvay Healthcare, Clarivate Analytics and the National Physical Laboratory (NPL) with some of the world’s top scientists – again, companies that have a major impact on improving and saving lives. Most of my roles have been global and have included high growth and business transformation.
Getting to know GAMA - gaining an understanding of our products, our teams and meeting our people in the UK and other countries. I’m looking forward to our continued expansion into new countries and rolling out initiatives that will make a difference to our people.
My top 3 highlights so far:
I’m so lucky to have inherited from Rob a high performing, great team based in the UK, Australia and China. They’ve really welcomed me and they are great fun to spend time with.
The positivity of everyone I’ve met so far. There is a real buzz in the Hemel and Halifax offices and that’s reflected in our culture.
I’ve never met CEOs as committed as Guy and Allen to genuinely listening to people and providing the tools and opportunities to enable everyone to thrive. It’s so refreshing and it’s what makes the GAMA culture so unique.
I have a 16 year old son and a 15 year old daughter so my “free” time tends to revolve around them! Every Saturday morning we do Parkrun (both my son and I will reach our 300th in the next few weeks), Saturday afternoon we do a shift at Alton Foodbank. My kids both run for a running club and I therefore spend my Sundays taking them to competitions, standing at the side of a running track in summer and shin deep in mud on a cross country track in winter. Prior to COVID, I was a keen runner and did half marathons and I keep promising myself I’ll get fit enough to start doing this again – maybe one day!
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