Sophie Milliken has helped John Lewis climb from 74 to number 9 in the TimesTop100 Graduate Employer rankings, winning numerous awards. Since setting up Smart Resourcing Solutions, she's developed a team of associates with backgrounds in recruitment who help support clients such as M&S, AXA and Sunderland University.
As Sophie was a highly commended of our SME Emerging Business of the Year Award (Yorkshire, North East & Scotland) we caught up with her and asked about her experiences so far.
How did you decide to pursue the career that you are working in today?
I fell into HR after joining the John Lewis graduate scheme and enjoyed a variety of HR roles, mostly in Learning & Development before taking over responsibility for the graduate and placement schemes. I loved this role for so many reasons and it ignited my passion for finding and growing talent. I co-founded Smart Resourcing Solutions in 2013 to enable me to relocate back to Newcastle and work with the client groups I enjoy most.
What advice would you give a new employee going into a leadership position for the first time?
Set goals and take consistent action. Research shows that people who set goals are more likely to take consistent action and therefore make progress. Without goals, it is easy to drift and lose motivation. Finding a mentor will also help with this.
What are you doing daily to ensure your growth and development continues as a leader?
I believe you will always have a “someday” life unless you take consistent action. I make time for personal development on a daily basis. Some days this might be completing a course or listening to a podcast. It is often reading a personal development book and reviewing my goals.
What are you most proud of?
I’m most proud of the fantastic client list we have built up in the last four years. Every name is recognisable and I always feel proud to think that such household names like M&S, Expedia, Boots, BP and AXA want to work with us, as well as our marvellous university clients.
What’s the biggest risk you’ve ever taken?
The biggest risk I’ve ever taken was to leave my corporate job and start up Smart Resourcing Solutions. It has provided so many exciting and inspiring development opportunities and also another big risk earlier this year when I took full control of the company. I have no regrets with either decision!
What was the last business or personal development book you read (or are reading at the moment)?
I always have a business book on the go and have read some brilliant ones this year. I’m currently reading The Miracle Morning by Hal Elrod and have committed to starting the 30-day challenge from the book with a colleague.
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