As head of human resources at Farber, Natasha has presided over the firm’s tremendous growth over her 16-year tenure and has seen the expansion into an array of new lines of business. Despite the frenetic pace, Natasha claims, “we’ve still been able to sustain the family culture at Farber even as we grow.”
Her Other Family
Not that Natasha has any need for another family. Her own family life seems to be operating at full speed as well, with three active children—all hockey players. “I’ve become a hockey mum and a minivan driver,” she says, “which takes up a lot of evenings and weekends now, trekking in and out of local arenas and travelling to tournaments” And then there’s Forrest (as in Gump), the family dog (cockapoo), who needs time and attention as well.
When she gets the chance, Natasha is a big believer in exercise as a way to maintain her energy level. In fact, she’s done a few triathlons and half marathons but finds the winter stymies her running routine. “Sure, you can use a treadmill, but it’s just not the same as running outdoors.” She also loves to cook for her family but makes no claims to be an expert in the kitchen. Spicy dishes are her favourite “I’ve even taught my husband to like spicy foods, converting his not so adventurous palate.” And what goes well with any fine meal—or any occasion for that matter—is the music of George Michael. “I’m his biggest fan in the world,” she insists.
The Travel Bug
Natasha dreams of travelling, if only she had more time. “I love the food, the sites, and enjoy the different cultures. I enjoy adventurous holidays (zip-lining in Costa Rica and Hawaii comes to mind) but also the opportunity to just chill out on a nice beach.” She’s toured much of Europe with her family and looks to take on more destinations when opportunity permits. Mauritius, off the east coast of Madagascar, is high on her list. And that raises an interesting fact about Natasha—her heritage. “My background is a bit unique,” she explains, “with my mother from Scotland and my father from Mauritius.” In addition, having grown up in London, Natasha still sports a bit of an English accent, which often prompts people to guess where she’s from (never correctly).
Train for Skill, Hire for Fit
Since Natasha’s focus is human resources, she’s in a great position to speak to the culture at Farber. “The people are fantastic here, which you can see in the working relationships among staff and partners. I think what characterizes us is that our work relationships are honest, open, and transparent.” She points, as evidence, to the fact that people tend to stay at Farber a very long time, and that even those who leave sometimes come back. “Our ‘boomerang club’ confirms the fact that the grass is not always greener on the other side. People miss being here.”
Of course, maintaining the culture has a lot to do with how we recruit, she points out. “I’m a big believer in training for skill but hiring for fit and culture. We can certainly train people for the job, but everyone needs to be happy and happy to be here.” So far, so good, Natasha!
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