Talent Manager / lululemon
Nicole Miran-Khan, is unlike any woman that I have ever met. Stunningly gorgeous, like “oh wow, you are BEAUTIFUL” gorgeous, with piercing blue eyes, Julia Roberts type smile and a magnetic warmth that you feel as soon as you shake her hand. But… She is also sharp like a knife. After pleasantries were exchanged, and a coffee offered (Yep, Nicole’s office has a staff cafe!) she cut to the chase…
“What are you wanting to achieve, what are your ultimate goals, and how can we work together to make that happen?”.
Now these questions might be strange to some, but to me, they were every ounce of perfect. Nicole Miran-Khan isn’t your average run-of-the-mill Human Resources Manager, she works at lululemon, as a Talent Manager in the People and Culture team and she is all about ‘you’, actually the entire company culture is, let me explain.
Having great company culture and devilishly wild values are no longer just an option. Today’s workers consider it as much as they consider salary and benefits. lululemon are known for their new-age recruiting techniques that could include a group session and maybe a yoga class or two, and that is before the actual face-to-face interview begins. Why? Well, it’s simple… they want to find the right people, and that’s where Nicole comes in, she finds the right people.
Today’s #careerstory is one of my favourites to date. Nicole’s rebellious tale will take you from her time at high school, to work experience, Uni, her redundancy and beyond. She also explains how a turn of fate landed her with an interview at lululemon, the company that she is still with today.
Nicole is an evolution of self. A self-confessed hippy, who loves her family, loves her team, and embodies her companies values because they are hers as well. I am certain that the world is a better place because she is in it.
Please meet the hilarious, smart and mesmerising Nicole Miran-Khan.
Hi Nicole, wow, you work in such an incredible office, but before we chat about lululemon, can you tell me where you grew up, and how your experience shaped the person you are, today?
I grew up in leafy Upwey at the bottom of Mount Dandenong. My young years were all about being outside, chickens in the backyard and playing 40/40 in the street with neighbours. Once I hit teenage years I was so grateful to have the train station as an escape route to the city, clubs and parties. As a teenager, I couldn’t wait to get out of there, now as an adult and a mum I can’t wait to move back! I grew up with successful parents, who instilled high values and passion for social issues and politics. My mum has also been an awesome role model owning her own business, and now an author. I knew from a young age that I wanted to work within a company that was doing things differently and always questions the status quo. I would say growing up in Upwey did begin my love affair with the hippy life.
Where did you go to High School and how was that experience for you?
I went to Billanook College in the south-east of Melbourne, I loved it mostly. I did spend a bit of time in detention and in my coordinator’s office for wearing too much makeup and had to commute for an hour to get there each way, but I had a group of besties who were fun and high achievers. I liked Billanook’s green site and their flexible approach to learning with a big focus on humanities and arts.
Did your High School play an important role in helping you choose your further education and future career?
Our careers support wasn’t amazing. I found it to be super restrictive and they didn’t offer many out-of-the-box options, which now working in a job which is all about careers is such a limiting approach. My friends and support at school did lead me to get my best possible enter score which ensured that I got into university. It took me a gap year and one false start before settling on RMIT Social Science course which I enjoyed- didn’t really directly relate to my career now though!
Did you complete any internships or work experience placements in high school? Tell us about that experience.
YES! We had compulsory with work experience for year 10, 11 and 12. I found it SUPER useful as I could test out different industries which I thought I would be interested in (Lighting design/Arts backstage, Social work, and PR #random… clearly had no idea what I wanted to do.). Turns out none of these were for me and I am so glad I took this opportunity to try them before I invested in doing a course in something I hated.
Did you go to College, University, Tafe or another equivalent? Take us through the courses that you studied and why you chose them?
I started with an Arts course at Deakin, I didn’t love the vibe here or my course, so I transferred to RMIT Social Science majoring in Australian Politics and Public Relations. This was a better fit. I loved going into the city serval times a week and the subjects were broad, keeping my options open for further study and career. Later I went back and did post graduate studies in HR, which was needed to break into the field.
Tell us about your career journey so far. Who you have worked for, and explain any highlights.
I jumped around my career a bit, started in Admin, then did some sales based roles with companies that worked in Human Resource fields (including Right Management, TP3, and Women in Leadership Australia). These different roles gave me insights into HR and sparked an interest in the field. They also set me up with skills around networking, business acumen, and selling. Leading me to my career path in Recruitment/Talent Management.
How did you get the job that you are in now?
I did career coaching with a coach after being made redundant when I was 29, I wanted to really find that I was looking for in a career. After several sessions, we came up with a target list of 5 companies that were aligned with my values and a plan on how to target. Lululemon was second on my list. After some crazy turns of events (aka one of the senior leaders turning up at a friend’s birthday party dinner and sitting next to me) and LOTS of networking meetings and pestering over 12 months, I landed my dream job as Recruiter at lululemon. From here my role has grown and moved as I have developed myself and my career.
What is the hardest part of your job at lululemon?
Not spending your full pay on athletic apparel, haha, and keeping up with the youngsters now that I am a mum. I used to LOVE early mornings sweat sessions with my team now I find the juggle challenging. We are also moving into a global company so having so many more approval lines and less freedom is an ongoing challenge.
What does a day a typical business day look like for you at lululemon?
Morning sweat session either at our onsite gym or a yoga class (on lululemon!), shower onsite in our beautiful facilities (where fluffy towels and toiletries are supplied). Generally, meetings, then emails and several interviews or project based work, I spend a lot of time on our social media, on our people channels, predominantly LinkedIn.
Who has been your hero, or greatest inspiration growing up and why?
My mum, she is a business woman who nailed her career and being a hands-on mum who is extremely values driven. She is the one who taught how to have difficult conversations, have an option, make pasta and be proud of your heritage. She also drilled into me that I am smart and capable.
What advice would you give girls who are interested in a career in recruitment or HR?
Recruitment/Talent Management in a culturally driven organisation is all about you and your personality. Being a natural connector and people person is a skill that is innate and difficult to teach. So let your natural personality shine and STUDY you will need a qualification at some point to progress in your career, network and get a mentor who works in the field.
List your most valuable resources that you turn to constantly for inspiration in your profession?
- Favourite Blogs or Websites: LinkedIn (for work), AM (such a political geek), threegoodstories (one of my besties blog)
- Books: The Virgin Way, Lean In, Work Rules, The Happiness Advantage
- People: Manoj Dias, Lizzy March
- Others: Foodie Melbourne, Australia Greens, Triple J Hack, Broadsheet. Power Living, Spotify.