Bella Shea is Human Resources Director EMEA, looking after UK, Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands among others. She has been working for Manhattan for over twelve years.


What did you want to be when you were growing up?

When I was growing up, I wanted to be just like my dad, he was a great inspiration for me. He was in the police and so I wanted to be a police officer. As I got older, it became very clear that I did not want to do that. I went on to study at the University of Kent specialising in Industrial Relations and Human Resource Management and it was here that I found the organisational psychology side of business fascinating.


What was your first job?

My first job while studying was at the Body Shop, working as a customer sales associate. Retail is so incredibly important to Manhattan, so in hindsight, it has been very useful to have seen first-hand all sides of the customer experience journey. Looking back, the Body Shop was ahead of its time in terms of its environmental, reuse and recycle approaches, not to mention its philosophy towards highlighting social injustices and promoting a more sustainable, fairer approach to life in general – it’s certainly an experience and ethos that has stayed with me professionally.


What is your favourite book?

My favourite book professionally is Emotional Intelligence 2.0 by Travis Bradbury – it is the book I most often refer to at work. It’s a short book written in sections around ‘understanding your own emotional intelligence’, ‘understanding others’ and ‘how you interact with others’. It’s a simple framework that you can easily apply to all areas of your work and life. Personally speaking, it has to be Matilda by Roald Dahl. The heroine is just a schoolgirl, but she’s courageous and mighty. I also think that it’s wonderful life lesson for children (and adults alike) to know that you have to be brave and courageous in this world.


What powers would you want to have?

For me, it would be the power to pause time when you have those magical moments in life. I had one last Saturday and it was just a really simple, beautiful moment where I was at the park with Zach and our dog, and I was just listening to him talking to the dog. I thought to myself, ‘wouldn’t it be joyful if I could pause right now and just live in this moment?’ It’s those beautiful moments that are the tonic of life and fuel you for days.


What new trends are influencing the thinking of tomorrow’s HR leaders?

We have a strong people-first culture at Manhattan. As our team grows and expands a key priority for our People Team is ensuring that our Manhattan culture aligns and continues to grow from strength to strength. We need this to be our driving ethos in each decision we take, and nurturing our culture and talent within this is key.

Secondly diversity, equity, and inclusion are incredibly important and ensuring that team members understand advocacy and how to demonstrate this positively to advance equity is, and will continue to be of utmost importance.

Last but certainly not least, environmental sustainability is a critical subject globally and for this reason it should be at the heart of every HR leader’s strategy.


If you could recruit one person (dead or alive) to work for Manhattan, who would that be?

That has to be Michelle Obama! I like her ethos of ‘going high’. My interpretation of this is that you try to respond to every situation in the most positive way. It’s an interesting concept that has served influential women well in the past, not least Queen Elizabeth who would adopt the similar approach of ‘never complain, never explain’. Having a positive attitude, and positivity in general is a common trait of inspirational leaders all over the world.



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