Please tell us your name, job title and place of work??
Sharlene John, Head of Recruitment & Induction Selfridges

What would you say it means to be Black and working in HR?
I am often contacted externally and by connections in my industry, who share how inspired and motivated they are by seeing me in my role here at Selfridges. Its not lost on me that I am the representation for many people, and I do not take that lightly. Representation is key in all areas of HR, I’m super passionate about Recruitment (of course) and often say we are the window to the business, we’re the first team candidates interact with so its vital my teams (myself included) show diversity, it makes candidates feel connected from the very first moment they make contact with your organisation – if you see yourself represented you are more likely to apply, of course representation should not just be limited to the Recruitment/HR teams though!

How Important do you think mentoring is, in the HR?
Mentoring is key in any industry, having someone to use as a soundboard, a personal cheerleader and confidante is critical for your personal development. I would encourage everyone, at all levels to have a mentor (I’d not just limit to one mentor either).

Personally, I have mentors both within my business and externally, I have made a conscious decision to have mentors who challenge my way of thinking and offer a diversity of thought, this means having mentors who are different to me whether that be Gender, Race and Social background. It’s important for me to seek out people who can help me see the world with a different perspective, this empowers me to be a better leader

In your opinion, what are the key skills required to be a trusted leader?
I would encourage all leaders to listen, be activists and be authentic.
Listen to your employees, they are best placed to tell you what they need, this is particularly pertinent when you are working with colleagues who are from underrepresented groups – don’t guess what you think people need, ask them!
Champion your employees, whether this be through sponsorship, mentoring or career mobility. Show your employees that if there are barriers in your organisation, as a leader you are at the front of the charge to knock them down – don’t leave it to your employees to always drive the change!

Finally, be authentic. Embrace who you are and show up every day as your authentic self. Team members want to see authenticity at the top of any organisation. Meaningful change comes from leaders being authentic and true to their word.

This year’s BHM UK 2023 is about celebrating & embracing our sisters – who would you like to celebrate today?
Whether I am currently or have previously worked with them, they’re a friend or If I follow them on LinkedIn, all those listed below inspire and motivate me to do better. They are powerhouses in their respective industries. They are real CHANGE MAKERS!

• Hawa newell-sydique – Selfridges Director of DEI
• Chalene Hanson – Burberry, Global HR Director
• Alicia Sterling – Freelance HR Consultant
• Danyelle Holmes-Lewis – Head of People, Talent & DEI – Culture Amp
• Shereen Daniels 🇬🇧🇯🇲🇬🇾 – Managing Director- HR rewired
• Arsema Fessehazion CertRP – Founder, Python Recruitment Specialist and The Black Recruiters Network
• Hannah Awonuga – Group Head of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion and Partner at Knight Frank
• Danielle Antoinette Bowman – Co-Founder & CMO at Found By Few

One advice to a young Black professional venturing into the HR Profession??
Find a good mentor, someone you connect with who can encourage, challenge and champion you.

How can our members connect with you?