HR Insights: The Podcast, Series 6 - Career Stories: Navigating a Global HR Role

Stuart Elliott

By Stuart Elliott


Vanessa  Harris

Vanessa Harris

Navigating a career from recruitment to corporate HR was a huge cultural shift for this week’s guest, Vanessa Harris. Vanessa is Director of Partnership and Performance at global law firm Baker McKenzie and joins our host, Stuart Elliott to discuss her journey into HR and the skills she has had to obtain in order to adapt to a global role.  

Vanessa has extensive experience in the professional services sector, in particular within legal services and has worked for Baker McKenzie for over sixteen years in a variety of different roles. Starting her career in Sydney as a recruiter, Vanessa has since moved to Singapore and has learnt the importance of having international experience to broaden her career. 

In this episode, Vanessa speaks about the challenges she has faced moving across the world into a global role and her proudest moments working in HR. She also offers her advice on fostering a trusted network of people, seizing opportunities and learning 'organisational savvy' in order to build a flourishing career in HR.

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Key Timestamps:

  • 02:00 – Introducing Vanessa Harris

  • 09:32 – The shift from a career in recruitment to Learning and Development  

  • 20:30 - The cultural change from Australia to Singapore 

  • 22:22  – The challenges of working within a legal firm

  • 27:10 – What it’s like working in a global role being based in Singapore 

  • 33:15 – Vanessa’s proudest moments from working in HR

  • 40:29 – Vanessa’s experience in a male dominated sector 

  • 44:30 – Advice for those beginning a career in HR