WeAreTheCity’s Rising Star Awards are now in their seventh year.
The Rising Star awards were introduced to showcase the UK pipeline of female talent below management and to create female 100 role models across 25 different industries and professions.
Over the year’s, the awards have recognised over 600 women across the UK and India.
In this ongoing series, we speak to our winners about life after winning a Rising Star award.
We spoke to Gurdeep Sira, who won a Rising Star in HR & Recruitment Award in 2020.
In 2009, Gurdeep was appointed as HR Administrator for TfL, one of the largest public sector organisations belonging to the Greater London Authority (GLA).
Working within the high volume HR Services TfL function, she provided support to over 28,000 employees, Gurdeep developed a passion for HR.
Her proactive and eager to learn nature led her to expand her skills set as Employment and Skills Advisor. Here she provided pastrol support, designed and developed programmes, supported senior business stakeholders and built advocacy. This opportunity allowed Gurdeep to add value and influence others career options by highlighting everybody has an equal opportunity to demonstrate their capability.
Following the completion of her CIPD qualification, Gurdeep has now held a number of other managerial positions including Capability Skills Manager, Recruitment Manager, Apprenticeship Development Manager and has supported TfL’s position as a world class employer by driving organisational outcomes and high quality programmes. Her considerable passion has enabled Gurdeep to become responsible for 26 varying programmes spanning HR, Engineering, Rail, Technology to Project Management to name a few. Having established significant credibility within the HR profession, she takes time to really invest in the future generations, actively participating with the Apprenticeship Diversity Champions network (chaired by MP Helen Grant), Care Leavers Covenant, and is a member of several GLA wider working groups, a member of the CIPD community, a STEM Ambassador and belong to the London Apprenticeship Ambassador network. She has a pivotal role in these groups, influencing employment routes, partnerships and HR agenda, creating confidence that HR’s role is essential in building value.
Following her achievements at TfL, in 2018 she was recruited as Talent Manager for the London Fire Brigade. With the broader remit of Talent impacting 6000 employees, she set the strategic direction through attracting, developing and retaining people, and helping to define the people strategy, culture and organisation development. Gurdeep has done some impressive diversity, outreach, HR and recruitment work which focuses on social mobility and accessibility. In 2020, Gurdeep returned to TfL as Head of Talent Acquisition and hopes to build on this good work.
How did you feel when it was announced that you’d won a Rising Star award?
I honestly felt imposter syndrome for a long time and it’s something I have to constantly work at. It really feels wonderful to receive not just recognition, but public recognition for something you have done. The process forces you to reflect on your achievements, successes and the positives, which is something that we don’t make enough time for. The award meant people have now listened to my story, looked at my career and are inspired that they’re able to achieve the same.
Please tell us what has happened in your career since winning the Rising Star award?
I promised myself I would maximise the opportunity the awards brought me and tried to push myself professionally and do more public speaking events, mentoring and challenge myself to gain more HR experience. This has allowed me to return to TfL as Head of Talent. This was an extremely competitive role and I feel grateful to be part of an organisation which impacts the life of Londoners.
What advice would you give to someone else going through the award’s process?
Make the time to complete the entry and give yourself a chance. This really is an ‘investment in you’ and you could surprise yourself and win, similarly to me!
What tips would you give to our other members to enhance their careers?
Whether you win or not, you should always ask for feedback so you can do more of what is good and introduce changes to make it even better; I’ve learnt from the judges, the other category winners and our fellow finalists. I find it fascinating to hear about other people and their careers – collaborating with others to share advice, expertise and thoughts to help each other succeed.