Global M Marketing and Communication Manager, Elizabeth Dehtiar, had an amazing chance to speak to Hollie Church in our Cambridge office. Hollie is a Senior Talent Acquisition Partner and a Co-Founder/Chair of Embrace your Uniqueness (UNIQUE) ERG Group for Europe in collaboration with the DEI team at Illumina.
We had a great chat with Hollie about her career journey, a typical day in her work life, and the importance of implementing Diversity and Inclusivity programs 🌱
1. Hey, Hollie! First off can you tell us a bit about your job & what your company
Hello! I work for a biotech company called Illumina which is known as a leading developer, manufacturer, and marketer of life science tools and integrated systems for large-scale analysis of genetic variation and function.
My full-time role is as a Senior Talent Acquisition and Business Partner. I support the Technology groups by finding some of the best talents globally. Alongside this, I am the Founder and Chair of the Unique ERG group, short for Embrace your Uniqueness, which focuses on disability including neurodiversity. Working for a company full of supportive/inspiring professionals is so rewarding. I love how our products contribute to having a positive impact in the human health market which makes our work so meaningful.
2. What is your background? How did you get into the industry?
I think if you ask that question to any recruiter, they would probably say that they fell into it. Before getting into recruitment, I worked in hospitality. However, I soon realised that if I wanted a different career, I needed to broaden my skills. My sister inspired me to get into recruitment, She was working in this industry at the time, so I moved into agency recruitment whilst working toward securing a qualification in Business Management. It was a really great opportunity to combine so many aspects and skills in one job. After spending 10+ years in agency recruitment, I moved to in-house recruitment, which was approx 3 years ago, during the pandemic.
3. What does your typical workday schedule look like?
No day is the same! One day I could be headhunting candidates, trying to source hard-to-fill roles, the next day I could be working on a project focusing on process/business improvement such as branding. I also dedicate a lot of time leading our Unique ERG leadership team/designing educational events in order to raise awareness and promote the untapped market of unique abilities.
4. What types of projects do you currently work with?
We actually have an event coming up at the end of this month. The focus of this event is on parents of autistic children. I personally consider there are a lot of people that will be touched by this story. I would hope that by raising awareness of such conditions, we can encourage more people to come forward, and if not – talk about their situation privately and learn. Going to this event we may be looking at our own experience, or how children act in school. It may connect on different levels. I hope that our ERG group will help to spread awareness by creating a community and organising events like this. My personal mission is to disrupt the stigma celebrate individual differences and normalise this process.
5. Do you implement DE&I strategies in your recruitment process?
We are a very open company and we do not discriminate in any way. We have added to our job adverts a clause which says, “If you require any reasonable adjustments to support you through your interview process, then do let us know”, a dedicated team picks up all requests. We try to use inclusive language when creating our ads and job descriptions. So, we do the best we can, however, this is a continuous being review.
6. What is your biggest achievement?
I was nominated and awarded Top 80 UK Neurodiversity Evangelists 2023. To be listed amongst some of the most inspiring ND leaders is just incredible, I truly feel honoured and privileged. When I first started initiating research which led to conversations, not for 1 second did I think it would be so big, I’m excited for what’s to come. I would welcome everyone to embrace/celebrate individual differences, finding solutions to bridge the gap rather than focusing on weaknesses. Many people live in fear and don’t know where to start with this journey, I highly recommend you set time to educate yourself, reach out and network.