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Winchester Cathedral Head Of Hr Successful Appointment
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Sarah Clements tells us about her first 12 months

At the end of 2019 Winchester Cathedral asked for our support on finding a new Head of Human Resources to join the organisation, a search that Adam Stacey took the lead on at Charisma. The opportunity to partner with Winchester Cathedral was really exciting, an honour to support an organisation that has been at the heart of the city for over 900 years.  

With some incredibly tough competition for the role Sarah Clements was appointed and has just celebrated 12 months in the position. Adam Stacey, caught up with Sarah to see how things have been.

First of all, tell us about Winchester Cathedral and your role within it?

Winchester Cathedral is a unique and beautiful place to work. We live by our values of openness, excellence and kindness. Like all major heritage attractions, there is an awful lot going on behind the scenes, from arts, heritage and visitor experience, retail, hospitality and events, education, music, liturgy, grounds, estate and property management alongside business support functions. It is the most diverse organisation I have ever worked for!

As well as staff and clergy, we are supported by a dedicated volunteer community, from Tower Guides to Holy Dusters.  

My role as the Head of Human Resources means I am responsible for people strategies, operational delivery and safeguarding for around 900 workers, employees and volunteers, so it’s fair to say I’ve been busy, starting a month before Covid and the first lockdown!  


The Cathedral was built in 1093, so has a substantial history and stood through many a testing time. What have been the challenges faced over the last 12 months and how have you got through them?
Lockdown due to Covid and closing our doors was of course a tremendous challenge; however our staff and clergy quickly adapted; providing digital services and support to people across the world!  

We live stream every day and our Verger team have become absolute experts at filming, with their own unique style.

You’ve been with the Cathedral now for 12 months, what has been the highlight or your proudest moment?
The highlight for me over the past 12 months has been the way staff have embraced the world of digital; many working remotely for the first time and learning new skills, ways of working and communicating; our Christmas Market moved online with its own microsite and our website continues to evolve, with online retail, including click and collect! The culture shift has been huge.

What are you looking forward to most in the life of the Cathedral in the coming year? What are the opportunities?
On a personal level I am looking forward to going back to the office and seeing my team and colleagues face-to-face! I am also looking forward to taking the best of what we have learned during this difficult period and applying it.  

If you could give yourself one piece of advice on your first day at the Cathedral, knowing what you know now, what would that be?
That’s such a hard question! Starting a new job, going into lockdown, managing all that has been thrown at me from furlough updates to flexible working, it has undoubtedly been one of the most challenging times of my career.  

I guess I would remind myself to follow my own advice on wellbeing and self-care and get better at switching off!

A big thank you Sarah for sharing with us, what a year and so inspiring how the Cathedral has adapted to the challenging circumstances of the last 12-months.

If you want to explore how we can support you and your organisation to find exceptional talent then please callJenny Warner or Adam Stacey  0207 998 8888or01962 813300or emailInfo@charismarecruitment.co.uk

We look forward to hearing from you.