Meet the Keynote Speaker for Vanuatu: Karen Stahl

When did you start in HR and why did you change to HR? What companies have you worked for?

I started my career as a Chartered Accountant with Ernst & Young and spent almost five years doing this role. After a three month secondment into Graduate Recruitment, I realised I had more of a passion for people than numbers so decided on a change in career. I completed a post-graduate degree in HR Management, and then moved into an HR role with PwC which was helpful because I understood the business and my internal accountant clients (its what I used to do!). My next HR role was with Mercedes-Benz in Australia and I was fortunate to get a transfer to their UK office. I spent 10 years living and working in London which was an amazing experience. After my time with Mercedes-Benz UK, I moved to GSK (Pharmaceutical Company) and worked at their UK Headquarters in London for nearly 8 years. This was a fabulous experience as it gave me global experiences and lots of travel with work, sometimes even at the pointy end of the plane! After a five month stint in Singapore, I returned to Melbourne in 2019 and have since worked with NAB and Asahi Beverages.


Where is your favourite holiday destination? Anywhere in Italy- it is definitely my favourite destination in Europe. Sicily has a special place in my heart.


What was the last country you visited for work or a holiday? Wow it’s been a while!!! It was actually Singapore when I worked there with GSK for 5 months. A brilliant place to live and work as it is very clean & very safe! I loved to watch the light show over the Marina Bay Sands, but not sure whether that was a better view or whether it was a better view from the bar at the top with a Singapore Sling in hand!


What is the most important thing to travel with other than your passport? My iPhone & a Peaceful Mind 😊


Window or aisle seat? Aisle Seat


Best hotel you have ever stayed in? There have been many but perhaps Villa Mazamet in the South of France



What is the most interesting place you have ever been to? It would have to be Rome due to the history and the amazing ruins like the Colosseum which are still standing!


What is something positive to come out of the pandemic? Companies being open to more flexible working and working from home. I am a social person but it is nice to work from home sometimes too.


Are you a folder or roller when it comes to packing? Roller for sure!


Where are you travelling to next? Heading back to Europe in mid June for three months…. Can’t wait! And then I get to work in Vanuatu with some cool people 😊


What do you do in your spare time? Meditation every morning, bootcamp & cycling to keep fit, studying Buddhist philosophy, and spending quality time with family & friends.

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