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Emily Atkinson APHRNZ

What led you to a career in HR/ the position that you are in currently?  

I was actually initially enrolled in a BA at University, studying Psychology and Theatre, with no real direction as to what I would want to pursue as a career. At the time I was also doing a voluntary role with the New Zealand Cadet Forces that saw me mentoring the most senior cadets across the South Island units. It involved coaching these cadets on topics like conflict resolution, leadership skills and understanding wellness for people in their own teams. I had this realisation that I had really enjoyed the role and this was what I wanted to do as a career. So come semester two, I changed to a BCom in HR Management, and never looked back.

I was drawn to my current role because I was looking for a generalist role where I could broaden my skillset and knowledge. My role has certainly lived up to that. No two days are the same in my role - and I love it. Port Otago has been extremely supportive in terms of both my personal development and also with anything that I want to give a try. I think that has been really instrumental in helping me become a well-rounded HR Practitioner.

What do you love about working in HR? 

My favourite part about working in HR is the sense of satisfaction you get when you help someone achieve something they've been working towards, or when you help instil change that visibly has an impact for people. 

What is an achievement so far in your career that you are proud of?   

I would say I am most proud to date of the work I have done in the Wellness space in my current role. Some of my favourites were the introduction of weekly fruit boxes to our breakrooms, a trial of period products in bathrooms across our organisation, and the creation of a Wellness Framework that our kaimahi can connect and engage with.

What are your thoughts on the Emerging Professional Member process?   

I felt that it was a really great way to reflect on all of the work that I have done in my career so far, and reflect upon where I want to work towards next. 

Do you plan to now work towards becoming a Chartered Member?   


What are your next steps in terms of your career?   

I would like to continue as a generalist and keep working on improving my knowledge of all of the functional areas of HR. 

I have really loved all of the areas of HR that I have worked in already, so I think it would be quite hard to pinpoint a speciality area if I had to choose just one. 

Eventually though, I would like to have the knowledge base needed to pursue a role as an HR Business Partner.