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Q&A WITH GERALDINE ALLAN | ASSOCIATE

Q&A WITH GERALDINE ALLAN | ASSOCIATE

Author: Milly Ashworth/Sunday, January 24, 2021/Categories: Quinton Anthony

TELL US ABOUT YOUR BACKGROUND. 

Born and raised in Sydney, I started working in recruitment way back in the 90’s before databases and LinkedIn were available (yes I am that old). I was fortunate to be given the opportunity to move to Singapore in 2000, where I worked in Executive Search across a wide range of industry sectors, before relocating to Dubai. My husband and I joke that we moved overseas with one suitcase for one year and eventually returned to Sydney 16 years later with a 40ft container and two children. I have been back now for four years, enjoying our hometown and reconnecting with family and friends, along with personally entering a new chapter in my career with Quinton Anthony.

 

WHAT SKILLS DO YOU BRING TO THE QA TEAM?
My main love is talent identification, where my naturally inquisitive nature and a general interest in people helps match not only our client’s requirements but also to really connect with potential candidates. Everyone is unique and I like to get to know their strengths, areas for development and long-term career goals. This connection helps identify the right cultural fit which is incredibly important in executive search and I enjoy the challenge.


WHAT ARE THREE WORDS TO DESCRIBE QA?
Focused, Flexible and Fun

 

WHAT INITIALLY ATTRACTED YOU TO JOIN QA?
The people. I walked away from my first meeting and told my husband “I just wanted to hang out with these amazing people, even if I don’t get the job”. Luckily, they decided to hire me – true story.

 

WHAT ARE SOME OF THE BENEFITS OF WORKING AT QA?
Flexibility and training would be two out of many benefits I could list at QA. The flexibility offered allows me to work a shorter week where I can still have a career and do my other job, which is that of being a parent. It also allows me to be flexible with my working week and attend sports days, swimming carnivals and to just be there when my children need me. We have constant opportunities for self-development and training. QA has also been a leader in progressive HR programs to support staff and build community. 

HOW DO YOU BALANCE YOUR CAREER AT QA WITH BEING A FULL-TIME MUM TO TWO TEENAGERS?

As anyone with teenagers would know, there is no set balance. Yet, there is an approach that I feel helps keep the tiller in the right spot: organisation, logistics and support. My teenagers are booked into multiple activities after school to keep them active, healthy and out of trouble. This allows me to be 100% focused while at work, yet safe in the knowledge that the children are engaged. 

 

HOW HAS THE CURRENT CLIMATE AFFECTED YOUR WORK/LIFE BALANCE & WHAT CHANGES HAVE YOU HAD TO MAKE?
When schools in Sydney closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and home schooling became a reality, my very organised and compartmentalised world of ‘work-life balance’ was turned upside down. The first week was difficult balancing the extra attention the children required, but we transitioned well and had a good routine by the second week. 

We still get up early for a walk before the school and workday begins and pause in the middle of the day for a nice lunch together. As afterschool activities have been cancelled, the kids now have the time to prep dinner which allows me extra time to complete my work for the day. I feel fortunate that my children are in their teens, I feel for those parents with toddlers. Except for having to constantly stack the dishwasher and clean the kitchen with all the extra meals being cooked, my work-life balance has been great! 

WHAT WERE YOUR ASSUMPTIONS ABOUT BEING A WORKING MOTHER VS THE REALITY?

I assumed that my children would miss out having a working mother, but at the end of the day, they are at school during work hours. I do think it is a particularly good example for daughters to see their mum, not just looking after the home environment, but following their career too. Most of the mums I know do work and we all help each other. I have had time off over the years but believe that quality time together is more important than quantity.

 

WHAT NEEDS TO CHANGE TO IMPROVE THE LIVES OF WORKING MOTHERS?
Things have changed so much over the last 15 years in Australia with the acceptance of mums working part time, shorter weeks or even shorter days, which is a huge step forward. Men have also stepped up too, and it has been great to see them engaging more in the home environment. What I believe still needs to develop is the view that it’s no longer just about working mothers but working parents. Companies need to allow both parents to split the responsibility and offer both the same flexibility. It was great when I started at Quinton Anthony to see the Dads in the office come in late or leave early to do school drop offs and pickups and share the parenting with their partners.  

IF YOU COULD EAT ONE MEAL, EVERY DAY FOR THE REST OF YOUR LIFE, WHAT WOULD IT BE?

Pasta – any type will do. I love it all.

 

BIGGEST PET PEEVE?
Being told the obvious.

 

WHERE DO YOU SEE YOURSELF PROFESSIONALLY IN 5 YEARS?
At QA working successfully with my own key clients. Even though children are staying in the family home much longer these days, with a bit of luck they will be busy with university and I will have more time to spread my wings!

 

WHAT ADVICE DO YOU HAVE FOR ANYONE WANTING TO GET INTO RESEARCH?
Research is an integral part of the executive search process, where knowledge of specific industries is always changing, and the roles and capabilities of people are changing. It is crucial to join a reputable firm where you have good leadership, mentors and the collaborative sharing of information. It is critical to success. Most importantly, you must be bold and not be afraid to ask questions. Listening to industry professionals is the best way to grow and will guarantee success. 



GERRY’S PROFILE
With an extensive background in Executive Search, Recruitment and Marketing Communications, Geraldine has lived and worked in South East Asia, Australia and the Middle East. 

Her experience has seen Geraldine exposed to a range of organisations including multinational corporations and private organisations across a diverse range of industry sectors. During this time, Geraldine has successfully completed assignments across varying levels including numerous appointments at the C-Suite level. 

Currently focusing on the Building and Infrastructure sectors globally, Geraldine sits within the Executive Search team specialising in talent identification.
View Gerry’s full profile on Linkedin or for further information, contact her at geraldine.allan@quintonanthony.com.


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