At just 25 years old, Natalie Banham is already making significant strides in her career but, she says, there’s still a lot to learn.
How does it feel to win the Dave Ulrich HR Rising Star of the year award?
It was an incredible honour and a huge surprise. I have been fortunate to have had excellent mentors, colleagues and managers who have supported and challenged me to achieve more than I thought was possible.
Tell us a little about your career so far?
I have been working in the HR field since 2011 where I started as a graduate. I spent time rotating through the corporate office and open-cut and underground mine operations in Australia. I was fortunate to have been recognised as a next-generation leader and graduate of the year, which gave me the opportunity to gain a global perspective of the business and undertake a research project visiting Peabody Energy’s mining operations in the US. I moved to my current mine site in 2012 as HR adviser where I have completed negotiations on two enterprise agreements and was promoted to senior HR adviser in September.
What have you learnt from your career at Peabody Energy so far?
You can never know everything. The important thing is to know where to find the correct answer. This concept took me a long time to grasp but in my role as a generalist, my day is varied from task to task. I have experienced plenty that I would never have expected to at this stage of my career including negotiations of enterprise agreements, organisational restructuring, e-learning and induction package development and facilitation, the list goes on. I also frequently have the opportunity to work across a variety of levels of the organisation, from mines to corporate office and the global business.
How important have mentors and supervisors been to your development?
Critical. They are people who have a vested interest in you and your career and they are people you can confide in. I have turned to my mentors and supervisors for a variety of different development opportunities including networking, career path guidance and future study opportunities. It is great to have someone to turn to who has been through an experience you may be facing, potentially in a different context, but is able to provide learnings and guidance and help you reflect on your experience.
How do you see the role of HR developing in the future?
HR will become further integrated into the organisational decision-making process. HR professionals will become even greater business partners and will need the skills and ability to build organisational capability and flexibility to meet the technological and economic challenges.
What’s next for you?
I am aiming to gain a greater perspective of strategic HR by moving internationally and working on projects that will influence business units globally.
Applications for the 2015 AHRI Awards are now open. Find out more.