Strivin & Thrivin EP56. Sally Read – People Leader


On our latest episode of the Strivin and Thrivin Podcast we had an inspiring and advice-filled chat with Sally Read, Head of Customer & Operations at Strivin and Director of Sourcingly, all about her unique journey from chef to recruitment connoisseur. 

An unconventional journey

After spending many years working in the hospitality industry ‘making amazing food and serving wonderful customers’, Sally eventually found herself no longer wanting to handle the heat in the kitchen.

“I think the catalyst really was burnout. It’s a hard life in kitchens. There’s high pressure, there’s no such thing as work-life balance. So my aim was to try and create that for myself and my family.

With an undeniable love for connecting with people, Sally began her unconventional journey into the world of recruitment.

“I transitioned [from a chef] into hospitality recruitment. I’ve spent the last 12 years working through a range of amazing organisations, from small startups through to large telcos … and then merging into more tech recruitment over the last few years.”

The art of taking a break

As well as discovering her passion, Sally’s career transition also taught her some invaluable life lessons.

“I’d go back and tell my younger self you didn’t have to try and have it all. I think we were always told that you can have it all. You can have the husband, you can have the kids, you can have your full-time job. That’s [actually] really hard and that leads to burnout a lot of the time and mental health issues.

“I think if I went back again I’d try and tell myself to slow down a little bit and take a deep breath.”

Sally feels it’s not only important to know when it’s time to slow down, but when to actually step away.

“Take the time to understand your own behaviours and when they shift even the slightest, it’s time to close the laptop. Go grab a cup of tea, go for that walk around the block or just shut the laptop down for the day.

“When you’re not in a good place that’s going to be a detriment to yourself, as well as anyone else you might come in contact with. Especially in recruitment, we’re not saving anyone’s lives … it’s gonna be there tomorrow.”

Not all advice is good advice

The solid advice didn’t stop flowing there, with Sally also sharing her thoughts on the value of knowing when to listen to what people have to say and what advice maybe doesn’t actually matter.

“I had a really good interview question asked of me a while ago … what’s one piece of advice that someone’s given you that you’ve discarded?  

“Even going back and looking at people leaving high school, I was told … you’re not gonna get anywhere without a university degree. These are educators telling me this. That’s some really poor advice. I think a person’s behaviour and how they conduct themselves is much more powerful than the words they might be saying.”

Stay curious 

Some final words of wisdom – stay curious.

Sally personally values the importance of ‘being humble and understanding that you don’t know what you don’t know. It’s also okay to go and ask’.

“I remember sitting in and probably annoying my engineering managers asking to go into their white-boarding sessions when they were hiring software engineers. I wanted to learn at least the basics so I could understand what a good engineer looked like.”

Want to hear all the advice Sally had to share or just want to catch up on some of our other episodes? Click here to listen.

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