5 minutes with Sarah Sammut

Emma Egan

I am privileged to talk to some of Australia’s leading HR professionals. These people are inspiring and I want to be able to share a little insight into how and why they chose Human Resources as their profession. I will be sharing a series of these interviews with you and will ask each one what their vision for Women in the Workplace is. The first of this series comes from Sarah Sammut.

Sarah is an accomplished People and Culture Executive with 10+ years’ senior management experience across Customer Experience and People/Human Resources strategy, operational business transformation, change & communications management and business improvement.

Sarah has been nationally recognised and rewarded for the strategy and execution of several people solutions in the areas of technology, communications, learning and development strategy, and employee engagement.

Sarah was also personally nationally recognised for her leadership approach and achievements as a HR director, being one of six finalists for the Australian HR Director of the year award in October 2016.

What is your career history?

My first role was at 14 years of age with McDonald’s which gave me the appreciation for customer service and great processes in a fast paced environment.

6 mths later I was promoted as a team trainer which gave me my first rewarding experience of playing a part in other’s development, this really kicked off my interest in Learning and development.

I worked in learning and development companies which focused on providing accredited and bespoke training to their clients. This provided me with the exposure to many industries and taught me how to adapt training to a variety of businesses needs and ways of working.

I moved into the generalist space 9 years ago and thoroughly enjoy the variety that comes each day. Which brings me to my most recent role as HR director where I have had the opportunity leading and supporting local and global HR strategy.

What was your motivation to move into Human Resources?

In the initial stages, it was my experience in learning and development and passion to help others. Today it’s representing the people agenda, offering people solutions which result In great commercial outcomes for the business and its employees, promoting employee engagement and overall giving back to others.

Do you have any advice for people starting in HR?

Learn several areas of the HR remit in your early years as you will be a better generalist for it later on.
Say yes to opportunities and projects that scare you. Areas of challenge will build your resilience and help you grow. The toughest times in my career have attributed to my career’s biggest growth spurts.

What do you love most about what you do?

Creative people solutions, watching the team and business develop. Consistent change and resolve. Contributing to others’ lives.

What is your definition of success?

Working toward a bigger cause beyond self. This can play out in many ways. Such as what the business does to help the environment or less fortunate. Or, Being part of an industry, process or product that is helping improve others lives.

What is your vision for women in the workforce?

That in 20 years (or sooner) when we speak of women in leadership we do so as non gender specific.

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