Inspirational Woman: Funke Sadare | HR Director, Global University Systems

Funke SadareFunke Sadare is a senior HR professional with over 15 years’ experience of operational and strategic HR across different sectors.

Her core expertise lies in nurturing a high-performance culture through action learning and talent development.

Funke is success-driven and leads passionately by expending her strong coaching and mentoring skills on professionals within her circle of influence. She believes that every professional must master their craft to the point where they are too good to be ignored.

Tell us a bit about yourself, background and your current role

I’m a HR Director of Global University Systems (GUS), UK and has been with the company for circa four years. My experience spans over 16 years across various sectors – Real Estate, Facilities and Maintenance, Not-for-Profit and Private Education.

I’ve had the opportunity to lead and deliver several HR projects and solutions ranging from: Mergers and Acquisitions, Business Reorganisation, Employee Engagement Strategy to aid staff motivation and retention, Talent Management, Implementation of flexible and competitive employee benefits and Equality and Diversity benchmarking.

I studied Business and Information Technology for my first degree but always knew IT was not my strong suit in the long term. Soon after the completion of my first degree, I moved into Customer Service for about 18 months and was able to secure my first HR role which required a strong IT experience in addition to basic HR Administration. It was from that pivotal point that my HR career flourished organically – through strong passion for people and the profession that I love.

In addition to being a career driven professional, I am married and the mother of two boys.

Did you ever sit down and plan your career?

For the past ten years, I have set myself clear goals and key milestones that I have actively worked towards within my career journey. This constitutes gaining professional qualifications, keeping an active CPD log and aligning myself to organisations that shares both my personal and professional values.

Have you faced any challenges along the way?

I have faced several challenges, many of which have shaped me to become more resilient which has consequently made me a robust HR professional. These experiences have helped me to become relatable when dealing with people related issues which is a fundamental aspect of my role.  As a mum of two there have been times that I’ve made career choices to ensure there is minimal impact on my family commitments. On the career front, I’ve once taken the decision to remove myself from a toxic work situation which had impacted me adversely, that situation shaped my passion for diversity and inclusion in the workplace.

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What has been your biggest achievement to date?

My biggest achievement in the past two years is becoming the HR Director of Global University Systems. I joined GUS on a short-term contract and here I am nearly four years later spearheading the People Operations, nurturing a culture of inclusivity and supporting managers to build high performing teams to create a sustainable future for the company.

What one thing do you believe has been a major factor in you achieving success? 

I engage in ongoing learning both personally and professionally, which prepares me for the next opportunity.  I am not shy to put myself forward to take on new challenges. For clarity, opportunities or challenges may not necessarily come in the form of a new role, rather additional responsibilities which may then evolve into promotion or just create more depth in your current role. One of my principles for self-development is to never say no to any challenge as it is likely to take you a step further to your future career goals, alternatively skills acquired may come in useful later in your career.

How do you feel about mentoring? Have you mentored anyone or are you someone’s mentee?

I am incredibly passionate about mentoring; I want everyone around me to succeed in their chosen career path. I currently mentor a few people both on a personal level and through a not-for-profit organisation who are passionate about workplace excellence.

If you could change one thing to accelerate the pace of change for Gender Parity, what would it be?

For employers to genuinely support the family friendly employment legislations to create an inclusive environment for women to thrive.

If you could give one piece of advice to your younger self what would it be?

Believe in yourself and don’t be afraid to take that bold step.

What is your next challenge and what are you hoping to achieve in the future?

The next challenge in my career is to create a framework for a sustainable work/life balance for the current and future workforce of GUS. We’re slowly coming out of the pandemic and employees have been asked to return to the workplace, this is easier said than done as most office-based employees have been working from home for the past two years. With that in mind as a senior HR leader I need to work with my key stakeholders to create a range of solutions to manage business needs against employee needs, and such plans must promote a work culture where employees can connect, communicate and collaborate to meet the overall business objectives.

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