In an ideal world, a General Manager of HR should have a real understanding of every role within their company. In Fiona van Duuren, Royal Wolf has a head of HR who has actually done almost every role at Royal Wolf.
Having joined Royal Wolf at just 21 years of age, Fiona recently celebrated 20 years at the company. She started in a reception and admin role, served as PA to the CEO and COO, worked in marketing and promotions, and she also spent time in purchasing, working with the operational and buying side of the business.
When a junior position in HR became available 14 years ago, it seemed the perfect fit.
“I like caring for people and I know the business,” says Fiona. “Since then I’ve been really fortunate to progress my career in that role. Royal Wolf sponsored me to do my Bachelor of Business (Human Resource Management) – it’s amazing and something we have available in our business for those wishing to further their career.”
When her boss retired three years ago, Fiona stepped into the lead HR role, and earlier this year was promoted to General Manager of HR.
For anybody looking after the interests of their staff, 2020 has been a challenging year, but Fiona believes it has shown just how strong Royal Wolf’s culture is.
“I’m really proud of the organisation I work for, and we’ve shown this year just how resilient we are as a business and as a team,” says Fiona. “We’re genuinely committed to wanting the best for our customers and our people.”
Having seen many changes at Royal Wolf over the past two decades, Fiona recalls the public listing in 2011 as one of her most memorable moments: “We were the highest performing IPO that year, despite the GFC having a significant impact on the economy.”
Similarly in 2020, Royal Wolf has dealt with the covid-19 crisis surprisingly well.
“Having such a dedicated and professional team, who look after one another, has been so important,” Fiona says proudly. “We have a supportive environment at Royal Wolf. It feels a lot like a family and that means a lot to people.”
As she starts her third decade with Royal Wolf, Fiona’s desire is as strong as ever.
“I love what I do. The reason I get out of bed every morning is to support and help people in our business,” she says. “We’ve got work to do at Royal Wolf – little adjustments to make things even better for current and future employees.”
“I hope I can continue to add value to the team and develop professionally,” she adds.
Away from work, Fiona loves her family life; she’s been married for 21 years and has a 15 year-old daughter (“she’s a gem and full of sass”). She loves entertaining friends on her deck with sunset drinks, and has a passion for motorcycles; she and her husband are regulars at Phillip Island for the GP and World Superbikes. A home renovation is also in its early stages.
Fiona has plenty of plans for making Royal Wolf an even better place, too.
“It’s a great place to work. There are lots of opportunities for people who have the courage and passion to come and join us. We look after our teams and have worked really hard on engagement initiatives,” she explains. “We have strong values, a great team and a product you can do just about anything with. You just need to think outside or inside the box!”
“Come and give it a go,” she says with a laugh.
Who knows – you may end up staying for more than 20 years, too!