We speak to Roshni Dhunna about working in-house at TNT Express
Roshni, can you please quickly summarise your education and career path to date?
My career aspirations dictated my educational path and led me to where I am today. It all kicked off when I had an opportunity to take up a position in Human Resources and I then took the decision to better myself in that profession. I took the decision to pursue a Post Graduate Diploma in Personnel Management even though I knew that this would result in my working full-time and studying part-time. The hard work paid off, after three years I graduated and become a Charted Member of the Personnel Institute and in 2006 I had an opportunity to progress into a HR/Legal Advisor role at TNT. Never wanting to sit still, I took the decision to undertake a part-time Graduate Diploma in Law, Legal Practice Course and completed my Training Contract over six years. As you can see I have worked and studied most of my life!
What kind of work do you undertake at TNT?
Following the acquisition of TNT by FedEx, I am responsible for legal matters pertaining to the integration of the two businesses in the United Kingdom, Ireland and the Nordics, while also leading legal integration and compliance work streams. In addition, I am actively involved in leading legal and regulatory matters associated with Brexit. That said, in the past I have also undertaken legal employment, commercial and property work.
What’s the most enjoyable thing about your current role?
What’s not to enjoy? I love the varied workload, the challenge of not one but two fundamental and ‘legal heavy” areas of law, working with senior internal and external stakeholders, having to take a commercial view and stepping out of my comfort zone. To top it all off, I enjoy the multi-jurisdictional work across Northern Europe, love working and travelling abroad and learning different cultures, laws and regulations.
What made you choose in-house?
In reality, I chose law but in-house chose me! I was fortunate to be given the opportunity to pursue my passion and to complete my training contract in-house. This included a six month seat at an external law firm which was important because I saw and made the distinction between legal practice and legal practice with profound commercial awareness, the latter was my preference and I had a head start to continue with this.
What was the biggest surprise?
Your employer is your client! It sounds obvious but when you are an in-house lawyer, everything is a priority and everyone is “paying your fees” but in reality you have to truly understand the business, the true priorities to meet business, not individuals, objectives and you have to have the influence and personality to control “internal conflict”. As an in-house lawyer the overall business is your client and it is important to make business objectives a priority.
Why did you switch to law?
It was a matter of personal desire and ambition and the journey that followed. My passion took me into HR because I wanted to make a difference, to ensure justice and to help people. My ambition then led me to educate myself and become the best I could be. Law was the next natural step and having taken up the role of HR/Legal Advisor, which allowed me to make more of a difference, influence outcome and help people, I once again decided to educate myself so that I could be the best I could be and so that I could progress my career.
What advice would you give to anyone thinking of making a similar switch?
Go for it! A lot of people want to do something but are afraid but I believe if there is a desire to do something one should have a leap of faith. I can say from my own experience, part-time study is a long haul, the weekends and evenings at University was a challenge but the hard work pays off. Surprisingly, I have also found that other areas of law interest me so my last bit of advice, try something before you make a conclusion.
What four words best sum you up?
Hard working, determined, resilient and spirited.
Do you have a motto that you live by in business?
Work hard, nothing compares to a strong work ethic.
Finally, who has been your biggest career inspiration and why?
My inspiration, career or otherwise, is Erin Brokovich because not only is she strong, tough and sexy but she also had a purpose and worked hard until she succeeded.