Ever since leaving school 20 years ago, Yvonne Walker has been involved in Human Relations. And it still remains her passion. So much so that she has turned her passion for HR into a business where she deals with bullying and harassment in the workplace or, as Yvonne puts it, “employees behaving badly”. Her primary role is to help businesses to comply with existing legislation.
Commencing on a BHP Steelworks cadetship for 3 years, Yvonne studied Psychology and Management at the University of Wollongong before transferring to Newcastle Steelworks for 2 years in the mid 1990s. During this period she completed her Bachelor of Arts degree with a Psychology major at the University of Newcastle in 1995.
A second transfer, this time to Port Headland in January 1996, saw Yvonne working for Boodarie Iron for 3 and a half years. During this period Yvonne was involved in the setup of the HBI Plant which processed iron ore.
Over the next 2 years, Yvonne ran a women’s refuge and then a service station in the remote Pilbara region of Western Australia. She also started her own HR business which, unfortunately, was not as successful as it should have been. As Yvonne tells it, “the market was not big enough” so she decided to return to Wollongong where she landed an HR position with Port Kembla Coal from 2001 to 2003 when the company closed down.
For the next 7 years Yvonne worked for Transfield Services, firstly as HR Manager for Bluescope Steel Alliance where she was responsible for 400 employees. Later, she became HR Manager for the Industrial and Defence Business Unit where she had responsibility for sites across NSW, Queensland and New Zealand.
In November 2010, armed with an extensive background in HR and OH&S, combined with studies in law, training and assessment, and an intimate knowledge of the business environment in the Illawarra, Yvonne made the decision to go into business for a second time.
She began her new business with short term Bid Writing Contracts for people she had previously worked with. This has led her to a steady stream of referral based work as an HR consultant. In this role, Yvonne advises Management on their obligations and risk minimisation regarding employment arrangements and the law surrounding bullying and harassment. Preventing employees from behaving badly is no easy task, but one that Yvonne really enjoys.
I asked Yvonne where most of her business comes from these days. Her reply was that “all of my business comes through referrals. I work with people I’ve previously worked with or people that they refer to me.” This comes as no surprise to me because Yvonne actively networks with other business people in the Illawarra and presents herself as a very professional person.
Yvonne has two recommendations for business owners or those who are thinking of going into business.
Yvonne’ Business Tip Number 1: Make sure you use a Computer Technician to set up your Back Up systems. Losing all of your information can be disastrous.
Yvonne’s Business Tip Number 2: Always trust The Law of Reciprocity. The more you invest in helping other people now, the better it will be for you in the future.