Meet the MD: Peta Hay of Saxton Bampfylde Scotland

Meet the MD: Peta Hay of Saxton Bampfylde Scotland

As a child Peta Hay hoped to be a detective, solving mysteries for a living, however, these days she is too busy finding exceptional talent to meet client’s business needs acting as MD of Saxton Bampfylde’s Scottish Office. She caught up with BQ to tell us more.

Describe your role in no more than 100 words.

My role is to build relationships with leading private, public and not-for-profit organisations across Scotland and the UK to find exceptional talent to meet their business needs. I advise clients to secure the best person for the job, while also engaging with potential candidates to help realise their own aspirations. I’m also responsible for the strategic direction for Saxton Bampfylde’s Scotland office.


What is it the company does?

Saxton Bampfylde is an employee-owned executive search business. We have advised on leadership appointments for nearly 30 years across both private and public sectors, and we work with some of the UK’s most influential FTSE 100 organisations, across Government and Regulation, through to Higher Education, Arts institutions and the non-profit arena. We have operated in Scotland for over twenty years and in 2014 celebrated the opening of our first  dedicated operations in Edinburgh.


Give us a brief timeline of your career so far – where did you start, how did you move on?

After graduating with a BAHons degree in Business studies and a Post Graduate diploma in HR Management from Napier University in Edinburgh, I joined Tesco PLC where I went on to hold a number of senior roles including Store Director. After developing my career reporting to the Executive Board as Group Talent Director, where I was accountable for the recruitment and leadership development of Functional and Country COO’s and CEO’s, I was approached by Asda Walmart to join as Group Talent & Diversity Director. In this role I was responsible for professional development, diversity strategy, colleague training and development strategy and advisor to Walmart for the international Talent strategy. After 20 years in the retail sector, I joined Saxton Bampfylde to lead the Consumer and Retail practice.


What do you believe makes a great leader?

A great leader is someone who looks at people in a balanced and objective way. They realise that everyone has something to offer, no matter what their background. A great leader should also know their own worth and make decisions in an honest and objective way trusting in their own judgement. They should be strong enough not to be beholden to somebody else’s views. They are their own person and should value that.


What has been your biggest challenge in your current position?

A consistent challenge is balancing an organisation’s expectations with the realities of the market place and available talent. Timing is everything.  A candidate’s personal circumstances and life challenges, while often overlooked, is vitally important to understand and be taken into consideration.

We need to manage how organisations and candidates alike deal with rejection.  Sometimes it is simply that the time is not right.


How do you alleviate the stress that comes with your job?

If I’m ever feeling overwhelmed or have had a challenging time at work, I always think it is best to gain some perspective before you go again. I advise taking a step back and having space to breathe. My family helps me to do this along with running. My nine year old daughter certainly helps to put life into sharp focus.


When you were little, what did you want to be when you grew up?

When I was my daughter’s age, I had aspirations of being a detective like Agatha Christie’s Miss Marple. I used to think solving mysteries would be great fun. 


Any pet hates in the workplace? What do you do about then?

I’m not a fan of what happens when people lose perspective. You should never let ‘noise’ get in the way of sensible decision-making. To lose perspective in my opinion is the root of all issues in the workplace and can be damaging for personal development, and in Saxton Bampfylde’s case our clients and our candidates. It is always best to take a step back, remain calm to make sense of a problem and never make assumptions.


Where do you see the company in five years time?

Saxton Bampfylde has experienced significant business milestones over the last few years. We became an employee-owned business in 2014 and recently celebrated the one year anniversary of the opening of our Scotland office. As a firm, it is our ambition to continue to grow in every sector across the UK, Scotland and into international market places. We’re also keen to share our experiences as an employee-owned business with others and how this adds value to a business.  2016 will also be an important year for the Scotland office as we continue to establish ourselves locally and nationally. Our focus will be on increasing our reputation as the leading executive search firm with existing and potential new clients and candidates.


What advice would you give to an aspiring business leader?

Take risks – don’t wait for opportunities to come to you. A successful leader should be self-aware and know their worth. This will help to inform your judgement in what you want to achieve next.

You should also know your limits. There is nothing wrong with knowing when you’re out of your depth and when to call on the support of others.