A Hunter local and member of the performHR team since its inception in 2009, Kirbie McWhirter has been instrumental in the success of the business to date.
Originally part of the client delivery team, Kirbie supported performHR’s clients with everything from HR strategy to workplace investigations. Taking on the role of Operations Director in 2015, Kirbie’s influence has seen the business grow and mature over the past nine years. She is entrepreneurial in her thinking and is committed to developing long-term relationships with clients and collaboration partners.
After welcoming her first child in August 2017, Kirbie is balancing motherhood with the same warmth and pragmatism that she brings to her work – but acknowledges it isn’t always easy!
- What career path led you to where you are now?
I’ve always been drawn to people in operations from when I was working in my family business. I was at university at that time and was lucky enough to gain an internship with performHR. I started a 10-week program with the two founders and fell in love with their energy and the vision they created. I’ve stayed on and I’ve never left. From there, I’ve been really, really lucky to have my career grow with the company and continue to grow.
- What motivates and drives you?
I’ve never really been clear on what I wanted to do. But, I did know, from an early age, that I wanted to do something that was bigger than me and be part of creating and driving something I believed in. I think the most important thing to me personally is being connected to what I’m doing. That’s performHR in a nutshell, I guess.
- What has been your biggest learning curve in your career?
I feel like I’ve been on a continuous learning journey for the past ten years. I’ve had millions and millions of “a-ha” moments and I think I’ve learned the most when I’ve got it wrong, which has happened quite a few times.
But, the most recent learning curve was the transition to parental leave after the birth of my daughter at the end of August. I knew that I’d have to step to the side for a little while. I knew that I’d have to hand over some control and trust my business partner and my team. They were all things I wanted to do and knew I needed to do, but was really conscience that letting go of control was an uncomfortable thing for me.
So, coming out at the end of that, that has been a massive learning curve for me and taught me a lot about what leadership is. It has taught me a lot about my personal style, my comfort levels, what to let go of and what to hold on to.
But it has also given me a better insight into my team. Me stepping to the side, has just seen those guys absolutely nail it. It’s reminded me to get out of the way a little bit more.
- Where would you like to be in 10 years?
Ten years? That’s scary. I think in 10 years’ time I want to be in a position where I can see that our organisation has made a real impact in changing the way HR is done, both nationally and internationally. I think we’ve made great lead way towards that in the past few years. We’ve partnered with our clients and partnered with amazing people within our networks. A lot has been achieved. I’m really excited to see what’s next for us, what challenges and obstacles we can overcome and the difference and impact that we can make in the industry.
- Have you had any significant Hunter-based mentors during your career who inspire you?
I’m so grateful for the amazing people that I get to hang out with every day. I think the network that we have built has given me the opportunity to work with many crazy, intelligent and inspirational people. I get my daily dose of inspiration from our CEO and my Business Partner, Lyndell.
Outside of the organisation, I’ve been really lucky to be part of the Variety Mentoring Program and I scored Todd Williams as my mentor; he is absolutely amazing. It was really helpful for me, completely different and gave me good insight.
More recently, Samantha Alford from Inbound Addons has been an incredible mentor. She is extremely generous with her time. She had a killer year last year, but I’ve been able to see how differently she approaches the growth of her business, support for other businesses and the growth within. She’s a gem.