Sally Bartley is passionate about raising the bar in the recruitment industry and has more than 17 years’ experience across a range of sectors.
She began her career working with multinational companies out of Sydney before returning home to Newcastle, joining Richardson Recruitment in 2001 where she worked with Ali Kimmorley. Ali and Sally established peoplefusion in 2007 and their business partnership is one of the strongest in the region.
Sally is an Accredited Professional Recruiter with the industry body Recruitment & Consulting Services Association (RCSA), is a member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors, mentors emerging and aspiring recruitment leaders and is currently completing a Diploma of Workplace and Business Coaching.
- Could you tell us a little about your career path?
My career actually started from a very young age. Both sets of parents actually were in small business, and successful small business, so I watched them from the dining room table work very hard. So I was involved with business and my career path from an early age I got the hunger for wanting to know more and learn, learnt all about dealing with people and hearing about their staffing issues and things like that.
When I went into my first role – I was employed at McDonald’s – and worked there and learnt lots about customer service before going overseas and had a few years as a lot of people did and went and worked over in London, which was exciting. I then came back to Australia and found really what I would say was my first real role if you like, in the industry that I am in now in, in Sydney and I got my first opportunity to work in recruitment. When I learnt what recruitment was all about because I truly did not know anything about it, I just became fascinated with helping people, and helping them on their journey and with their career path.
I had some great years in Sydney but missed Newcastle and decided to come back. I was very fortunate to come back to a new business that was only really a year old at the time, and come and work in their permanent division. Over time I worked with a Director there to help her run and operate that business and myself and a colleague of mine who worked together for a very long time (we had actually gone to school together as well) had a great opportunity to do a management buyout of that business. Really my career has been one that has been very adventurous and one that I have thoroughly enjoyed as I have been surrounded by great people and I guess leading me up to today which is director of peoplefusion.
- What do you believe has shaped your leadership style?
My leadership style has been shaped by working with other leaders. I have always looked up to other leaders and worked out who would I like to follow, not just a leader by title but who do I actually feel inspired by. I’ve been really fortunate to have worked around some great leaders.
My leadership style is always evolving, it certainly has not stagnated and I think it is really important to always check in and seek honest feedback and make sure that your style is interchangeable because every person is different. What style will work for one person won’t always work for the other.
I have almost completed my Workplace and Business Coaching which again has transformed my leadership style in terms of being able to have more open conversations, more in that mentoring and coaching space, and also looking at things that I haven’t enjoyed when I’ve been managed in the past and thinking well how am I perceived with my team or the people that I’m working with.
So always making sure that my style and where I’m going is fit for purpose and I think from a style perspective, again being important that you can change that around but where am I going or where is the business going. If ever I’ve felt like my leadership has been truly lacking I can always go back to one point of reference and that is because perhaps I didn’t have a clear vision or I wasn’t able to articulate that vision. For me I’m always checking in on that and making sure do I have a purpose, do I have a vision and am I able to share that with my team or the people that I’m in business with, or doing business with, so that they can choose to come on the journey with me if that’s what they would like to do.
- What is one action or task you ensure you incorporate into your diary each week?
I have a few. I think one of the really important ones is staying connected with the team. Every week we have three ‘toolies’ or ‘huddles’, they’re of a morning, they are really outcome driven, action based and great update so I do not like to miss them at all even if I’m travelling I’ll dial in and be able to hear what’s happening absolutely on the ground. As I’m very hands on in the business and what I do and it’s what I love, so it’s making sure that I understand where each person is up to because as a leader it also allows me to I guess triage exactly who might need support from me and it could be that immediate support that I can provide in that huddle or it may be ongoing where they’ve got quite a tricky assignment that they’re working on. My weekly huddles are an absolute must for me and I must say that if I do have to miss one I really feel quite lost, so yeah, I think just having that constant finger on the pulse and checking in and for the team to know that you are absolutely there at those times through the week to have a conversation is really critical.
- What do you believe makes business unique in the Hunter?
One point of difference that makes business unique in the Hunter is I get the sense of that real genuine passion for businesses’ and business leaders and managers, whoever it may be who genuinely want to connect and help other businesses which sometimes we can take for granted. It’s not till we step outside of our business community that we might realise that that is not the case in all areas. I’ve certainly experienced it as a business owner myself, the actual genuine desire for other business leaders to want to engage and help and I think that has been really important to the success of our business. So for me it’s about that real desire to connect, be involved, help one another and a lot of mentoring happens, not perhaps called that, but certainly a lot of catch ups and coffees do happen around town and I think we’re very lucky in our business community to have that. I think that would be what I would say would be quite unique.
- What local businessperson do you find inspiring?
I do actually have a few, I hope that is OK. The first one that comes to mind is Buelah Richardson who was the founder of part of our business and is a true inspiration to me. I was really fortunate to have a lot of years working side by side and watched her go through many different economic times, different changes in the way that business was going, so from completely manual to a really like digitally based business. I watched her just to continue to strive for excellence, so I’m still inspired by her, in fact she is a great friend and mentor to me and my business partner Ali still today which is wonderful.
I’m, also really fortunate to have Terry Lawler as our Chairperson who I see doing great things with other boards, obviously he has had a very successful career history in Newcastle with Lawler Partners. The local success story that really should be celebrated, now PKF, it’s just wonderful and the different work that he does with the different boards and gives so graciously of his time and is a very humble man.
Then for me one career that absolutely inspires me is Kyle Loades, what a great fellow and person but having built such a great business in Auto Advantage with Simon then watching him go from strength to strength with NRMA so, yes, it is surrounding myself with people like that and just being very fortunate to have been able to watch them in business and be inspired by those great people is something that I’ve really enjoyed and I don’t take for granted that’s for sure.
peoplefusion is a Newcastle-based agency with a reputation for punching above its weight. Founded in 2007 by Ali Kimmorley and Sally Bartley, whose partnership started in the primary school playground and has since grown to be one of the strongest in the Hunter Valley region, peoplefusion offers temporary, contract and permanent recruitment solutions, specialising in professional services roles. Having been described as “set[ting] the cat among the pigeons” when they introduced an industry-first 12-month placement guarantee in 2014, Ali and Sally are passionate about innovation and raising the bar in the recruitment industry.
peoplefusion specialises across Business Support Services, Accounting, Finance & IT, HR, Marketing & Communications, Executive & Management and Engineering & Technical recruitment.