Governing Body Spotlight

Governing Body Member of the UK & Ireland CHRO Community

Joanna Phillips

Chief People Officer

Carnival UK (P&O Cruises & Cunard)

Jo Phillips is currently the Chief People Officer at Carnival UK, better known for their two brands Cunard and P&O Cruises. As part of their executive team, she says she is privileged to lead a business with a clear and compelling purpose to create Unforgettable Holiday Happiness for their guests. They have 15.000 colleagues from over 70 countries working for them across their ships and land-based operations. They are committed to an inclusive culture, a People Experience that they are known and chosen for, and nurturing a community of deeply connected (to each other and to their purpose) high performing teams. They have ambitious goals, one of which is to become Travel & Leisure’s employer of choice.

When she is not working, Jo is also a Pilates instructor and soft tissue therapist and took a step out of the Corporate world to run her own business doing this for 5 years in the 2010s. She says that tuning in to her mind and body regularly is an important part of her success and how she maintains a healthy balance. She is married to Ed and they have 2 horses and 3 dogs. She says that most of her spare time is spent riding a horse or a bike. 

Learn more about the UK & Ireland CHRO community here.

Give us a brief overview of the path that led to your current role.

I studied languages at University and revel in communication and people. When scouring career options after university, I realised that understanding, connecting with and getting the best out of people is a strength and a passion, so I turned that into my career. 

I've worked in HR in global organisations across various industries including Pharma, Telcoms and Aerospace & Defence. I’m lucky enough to have led people change, international talent & reward agendas and HR technology transformation across different geographies and business models through the last 25 years.

What is one of your guiding leadership principles?

Nurture people and give them wings to do great things.

What is the greatest challenge CHROs face today, and how are you addressing it?

The greatest challenge is ptimising organisational ways of working and design to enable higher performance.

What is the key to success for someone just starting out as a CHRO?

Listen; be open and curious. Understand the business' strategic needs and shape people solutions that respond specifically to those – avoid HR for HR's sake. Bring the outside in by horizon scanning and learning from other organisations; the business may not tell you it needs that from you, but it does!

How do you measure success as a leader?

I measure success through employee voice and business results.

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