The Best I Ever Worked With …by Michael Delaney

Head of Talent, Humanforce

One of my goals for 2021 was to be grateful. Grateful for the people in my life that I value, the experiences I have that bring me joy and the sense of purpose I have in my life so I have used that as a foundation for this piece. We are the sum total of our experiences, the lessons we have learned and the things we have applied from those lessons over time. I have written a letter of thanks and gratitude to 5 of the most important teachers I have had through my career.

Wendy Jones, Help Desk Manager, Greythorn

It was an ordinary day in October 1998 and I was due to have an interview for a Recruitment Consultant role with not a lot of understanding as to what that even was. I couldn’t have imagined how much that meeting would change my life and bring me a 20 year friendship. I wonder what you were thinking as you sat there with me, hearing my strange pathway to that moment? Whatever it was you decided to give me a chance. The things I learned from you still stay with me today. You taught me everything you knew and you did it with care, patience and repetition as I was slow to get going. You spent hours coaching me on what to ask, how to follow up, how to be inquisitive and how to make mistakes and then learn from then. The number of sessions we had where you would start with “So how did you think that went?” invariably to be followed up with “and how do you think you might have handled that differently?”. We became fast friends and that friendship grew to be one of the most important in my life. For years we hung out, stayed at each other’s houses, lived and

laughed together and I could always turn to you for advice and the hard truth. The bond we shared saw us work together in 4 different places and shaped my career. When cancer hit you it was really hard for me to cope with but your relentless belief that you would beat it and come back better than ever never waivered. This in spite of the many setbacks and it always inspired me. When you finally lost that fight I was bereft of laughter and joy for quite some time. I miss you intensely. I miss your booming laugh, your spirit of joy, your incredible belief in me. I miss you but I will forever be grateful for all that you taught me. RIP my beautiful friend.

Darren Morris – General Manager ANZ, Elan, 2001

Darren you are a true pioneer of the growth mindset to business and the first up close and personal exposure I had to this. Listening to your stories of growing Robert Walters in London was a revelation. Quite by chance you then added an incredible learning experience for me when you put me to the task of writing Tenders and RFP’s for our business unit. This was a crash course in learning the mechanics of how a recruitment business really worked. What processes mattered to customers, how to understand cost models, how to build systems that maximized ROI and delivered strong results. The fact that it was successful is, in no small way, a testament to your belief in me and my ability. It developed my business acumen in real time and I have continued to use that in every role since. You showed me a much bigger world and that shaped my future.

Luanne Sequeria – Senior Consultant, Salesforce 2015

When you came into the team it was always going to be tough as you were replacing a legend. You immediately showed why this would be easy as you were the ultimate professional. The things I learned from you about managing a client group could be turned into an entire book. Your care and compassion for people backed by a stern adherence to quality all delivered with great humour was a masterclass. I was able to sit next to you every day and absorb this by watching you but also asked you so many questions and you were always prepared to answer at any time. We would workshop situations constantly and challenge each other and I grew so much because of this. Watching you go on to an incredibly successful transition into HQ and beyond has been one of the great joys of my working life.

Andrea Kirby Director, Talent Table 2017

It was a random Wednesday when I came across an event that seemed interesting on Recruitment technology so I went along expecting not much and had my whole world changed. You were an energizing force of nature who introduced me to so many new people, systems, technology and general wisdom. I have never met someone so passionate about the power of good TA and such a supporter of everyone. You gave me advice, you introduced me to amazing people that I have taken so much from and you were the driving force behind one of the most important things I have ever done in Jobs For Australia. What you did in creating that and getting me involved has made me a better person in both my professional and personal life. You are someone so caring and genuine in your desire to help others and it has been a great inspiration. On top of that we have become friends and I know I can turn to you for advice and counsel and have used that to help me be more. Thank you for everything.

Jo McCatty, Jobs For Australia 2020

In a 20 year career in Talent Acquisition I have never planned things out. I went from job to job because it seemed interesting but with no real foresight. That was until I met you. We were both volunteers in Jobs For Australia and I will never forget the first time you were coaching me and asked “what is your purpose in life? If you know that you will know what to do next”. Well that was a complete revelation. During Covid I, like many others, really struggled to make sense of things and you always brought a perspective that let me think and challenged my limiting beliefs. Your passion for helping people grow and achieve greatness now influences my every day. I have always lived by a kind of code that was wanting to make people feel better. You showed me how this could be turned into a purpose driven approach to a career. I had terrible imposter syndrome and you have helped to overcome that. As a result, I am now in an amazing role that is stretching me and where I can have a huge impact. That wouldn’t have happened without your words of wisdom and your inherent belief that I could do it.

So there you have it, 5 very different people, 5 very different sets of learning but each and every one of them was instrumental in the success I have achieved. I try to distill all of that wisdom every day and be better and achieve more. Thanks to Hung for giving me the chance to celebrate these wonderful people and shine a light on them. I am grateful for the opportunity.

Thank you to Michael Delaney for sharing The Best I Ever Worked With

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