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Spotlight: Fiona Keady - Talent Development Business Partner - Leidos

Tell us a fun fact about yourself.

In 2022, I performed in the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee Pageant in London. This involved me dancing and singing down The Mall in 1990s clothing, surrounded by celebrities on open top buses, in front of millions of people! It was terrifying and super exciting at the same time.

Tell us about your career journey so far.

All through school and university, I had no idea what career I’d like. So I kept my options open by choosing a wide range of subjects, joining lots of clubs and volunteering. This gave me a great base of skills and helped me figure out what I liked and disliked doing.

My first job was unpaid, volunteering part-time in a charity shop while at school. This led to me getting a part-time paid job in a supermarket while at university. After that, I worked full-time in recruitment (hiring people) for about 10 years before I was made redundant. I actually loved being made redundant as it gave me a chance to reflect and realise the thing I wanted most from my career was to help people! So my next job was helping unemployed people get back into work, and now my job is helping people learn and be more inclusive.

What was your favourite subject in school and why?

I had two favourite subjects in school – Biology and Art – because both allowed me to be creative. If I came up with a new idea, I could test it through experimenting in Biology or create it through drawing or modelling in Art. I loved the freedom and excitement of seeing if my ideas worked out. I was also lucky to have great, encouraging teachers in these subjects who showed me study didn’t need to be boring.

What subjects/qualifications/skills are useful for your role?

Some key skills in my role are communication, organisation, problem solving, creativity, and people skills. Helpful subjects include:

  • English because communicating with people is a massive part of my role.

  • Art / Design / any creative subjects because I need to design things (like booklets, posters, articles, intranet pages) and come up with new ideas on how to do things.

  • Computing / IT because my work is mostly done on computer.

  • Maths because I need to analyse data and calculate budgets.

  • Business qualifications, especially Human Resources, Marketing or anything people-focused because these are what my job is all about.

What is your favourite thing about your job?

Without a doubt, my favourite thing about my job is helping people. Often I’m helping people learn through training, blogs, events… Sometimes it’s more about boosting their confidence. But no matter how big or small, I love seeing the ‘lightbulb’ moments when someone suddenly understands something, or they see a new way through a difficult situation.

One example is when I organised an internship programme for school students; they transformed from being frightened on Day 1 to feeling like bosses by the end! It was life-changing for many of them and I felt so privileged to be part of that.

What is a normal day in your role like?

I start my day by checking my calendar for the day ahead, taking a quick look at my emails, then making a list of what I need to get done. My job is very busy so it’s important to stay organised and plan break times too. Usually I have a few meetings (either by video call from home, or in-person if I’m in the office).

Meetings are with my team, other co-workers, senior managers/leaders, or sometimes people outside my company.In between meetings, my work involves things like designing training, creating e-booklets and slides, updating intranet pages, writing articles, and planning how to complete bigger projects. I get to travel a lot in my role; sometimes to local schools/colleges andoften to different parts of the UK to train co-workers. Some of my projects are global so I speak to co-workers in America and Australia regularly too!

And what does your job title mean?

My job title is “Talent Development Business Partner”. This basically means I help our Leidos Talent (i.e. our people/co-workers) to develop their skills and knowledge, and I work in partnership with people across our business to do this.

There are lots of different levels within our team, starting with entry-level (e.g apprentice or administration) and moving upwards through different levels to Head of Talent Development. My role sits in the middle-to-top end of the team, since my work includes UK-wide and global projects, and I not only take part but also lead on a few of these projects.

Can you suggest an activity that could be done at home that illustrates an aspect of your work?

  • Think of a skill you have that you can train others in. It could be anything from singing to origami to football or maths – anything at all!

  • Make a plan for how you’ll train people in this skill. Work out things like:

  • What format is best? (e.g. training session, booklet, poster, app, demo)

  • Is it best to train people one-to-one or as a group? In person or virtually?

  • How long will people need to complete it?

  • Once you’ve made a plan, go ahead and design your training.

  • When your training is ready, invite people to try it out.

  • After they’ve completed your training, ask them for feedback – then you can celebrate the good feedback and use any not-so-good feedback to make your training even better for next time!


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