Interviews

Who I am: Donna Chambers

27 Sep 2017 By Marianne Calnan

The group learning and development manager at International Motors Group on why she loves L&D

Donna Chambers

I’m the only L&D professional in the business, which gives me a lot of freedom to work independently, but I also have to make many important decisions on my own. That sense of responsibility really motivates me.

Each employee ‘gets’ what we do as a business, and what we strive for. We always look for that at the recruitment stage, while also ensuring we have a diverse workforce. It’s fantastic to know that all staff are aiming to achieve the same goals.

One of the best things about L&D is watching people’s learning journey. I love being involved in their development from beginning to end, and seeing how different people progress. It’s the people I work alongside who make every day different.

Nothing beats face-to-face conversations – I much prefer that to talking on social media. I understand why people like social media, but I tend not to use it too much – either at work or in my personal life – because I prefer talking to people in person. I enjoy networking with my L&D peers because I love sharing knowledge and feel you can never know ‘enough’; we can always learn from one another’s expertise.

I prefer learning from people, not books. I’m just not the sort of person to pick up a book; on holiday, my favourite activity is people watching because I’m fascinated by people and what I can learn from them. That’s why everyone I work with now, and have worked with in the past, has inspired me – there isn’t one person in my career or personal life who has not affected me in some way.

Encouraging people to work collaboratively is my biggest challenge. IM Group is made up of two automotive brands (Subaru and Isuzu); it can sometimes be tricky to get people from the sales and aftersales sides of the business to work as one. I’m confident that this will improve when we start using a new online system that will enable the teams from both brands to see what each other is working on. I’m hoping it will make the whole management process much more streamlined and transparent.

CV

Donna Chambers joined IM Group nearly nine years ago from a non-automotive and non-HR background. Since then, she’s risen through the ranks from PA to administrator of the technical department, and on to her current role. She won the HR and training category at the Great British Women in the Car Industry – Rising Stars awards, presented by Autocar, in June.

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