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28 September 2022

Member spotlight Nicole James

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Posted by: Mary Asante

Nicole James HR Generalist from Bamboo People Solutions is this month’s member spotlight.


About Nicole

Nicole is well experienced in employee relations and organisation design and development. She enjoys making a positive difference to people’s working lives and believes that everyone should be treated with dignity and respect.

How long have you been a member of HRi?

Nicole: I joined HRI when it first started. I think that was two years ago, but time flies so correct me if I’m wrong!

HRi: Time does fly, it certainly has been two years, in fact this month is our 2nd birthday.


Why did you join HRi?

I wanted to be start part of something that supported the needs of independents. It’s great to be part of a group who really understands the differences between being employed and self employed. We are underrepresented by the CIPD, who tend to focus on HR employment in large corporates. Working with SME’s is very different and it’s helpful to belong to a group who really understands that.


What’s your favourite part of being a member of HRi?

I’ve found the legal support very useful. It has a good balance of the legal and pragmatic/commercial requirements. It’s also really useful to have links to partner offers for services like payroll.

I’ve been away on maternity leave for the last year so I haven’t made as much use of the networking in the group as I did previously. I’m back now so I’m focused on getting back into chatting to colleagues again.


What is your specialism?

I’m an HR generalist, I’ve worked in SME’s and corporates throughout my career. I have good experience in ER and Organisational Design and Development.

What do you love most about HR? and being independent?

I’ve always loved working in HR. No one day is the same and it allows you to make a positive difference to people’s working lives. I believe that everyone should be treated with dignity and respect. No matter what activity you’re delivering you can stay true to those values. Being independent works well for me, I was happy to escape the day to day politics and the flexibility fits well with my family. You can choose who you do (and don’t!) work with and make sure that you are aligned in your outlook towards people management.


How do you define success?

I think there are two sides to success, the first is about doing what you love. When you work for yourself this is essential as you live and breathe your business. The second is financial. I’m not looking to earn 6 figures but I do need to make sure that I earn enough to put food on the table and clothe my kids.


What is your most memorable win, achievement or celebration?

Honestly, the big ones are very personal. Beating cancer is way up there; the absolute sheer relief when I got the all clear was immense and I celebrate life daily as a result. Keeping all the balls in the air for my business, retaining all my clients whilst looking after a new baby and getting divorced is probably my biggest life achievement. It was a period when I was very vulnerable but somehow I kept it all going. My clients have been incredibly supportive and I think that speaks volumes for how much they value the work I do for them.

When it comes to work, it would have to be that first client, first big project, winning new business, getting great feedback, being recommended to others to work with you. When you work for yourself it’s important to celebrate the milestones and achievements each week. This week I’m writing my next 90 day business plan and that will include looking back on the wins in the last 90 days.


Member spotlight Nicole James

Fun Facts


What’s something about you (a fun fact) that not many people know?

I accidently went swimming with piranhas. I was on a trip to Venezula in the Amazon jungle. It was boiling hot and the guide suggested we could take a dip in the river to cool down. The group I was with looked horrified (I was a bit too), but I decided if you’re there you should embrace it. So I jumped in. It was muddy underfoot and things kept touching me. So I got out pretty quick. When we were all back in the boat the guide got out the fishing rods so we could catch piranhas. He told us they only bite when you’re bleeding… I felt maybe he should have checked the women weren’t bleeding before he sent us in. We ate the piranhas on the BBQ that evening, they taste like fish fingers!


Are you currently binge-watching any shows?

I’m just coming to the end of The Morning Show on Apple TV. It’s about all different perspectives on #metoo. I’ve really enjoyed it and found it thought provoking. Particularly the perspective of those who were witness to events but perhaps hadn’t realised the impact for the individuals affected at the time. In HR we’re often witness to things and we need to be very aware of the culture particular behaviours generate.


If you had to eat one meal every day for the rest of your life, what would it be?

I LOVE lasagne. I make it from scratch and cook enough so you can freeze it and have another meal later.


What’s one item you can’t live without?

My hiking boots – the outdoors is my happy place.