A Design For Life

– with Sarah Hamilton-Gill, Leap into HR Consulting®️

Humans of HR: The story behind the leading lights – their career, motivation and achievements.

Sarah aims to leave a legacy that will accelerate the transition of HR professionals into consulting and help them avoid common pitfalls and make the most of their skills and expertise.

Sarah Hamilton-Gill

21 February 2023

Story by
Simon Kent, Head of Content – The HR World

Sarah Hamilton-Gill is calling in from Corfu. She’s not on holiday. This is where she is based for many months of the year – working remotely. And she’s based here because Corfu is exactly where she wants to be, ‘Living her Dream’.

Sarah was ahead of the curve when she established one of the first dedicated HR consultancies, and she’s continued to be a trailblazer by creating a business that helps others do the same. As the demand for independent HR services skyrocketed during the pandemic, Sarah’s ‘Leap into HR Consulting®️’ program was perfectly positioned to help HR professionals transition into consulting.

Her program offers a comprehensive approach to HR consulting, including coaching, webinars, retreats, and bootcamps. When lock-down forced everyone to work from home, Sarah took her program online, ensuring that HR professionals could still access her expertise and support from the comfort of their own homes. If you’re an in-house HR professional looking to make a successful leap into consulting, Sarah’s expertise, knowledge, and decades of experience make her the ideal guide.

As a senior HR professional, you understand the importance of staying ahead of the game and constantly evolving in a rapidly changing industry. Sarah Hamilton-Gill, a seasoned HR consultant and entrepreneur, shares her expertise and success in the field, offering valuable insights and mentorship to those looking to take their career to the next level.

Extensive experience from a young age

With over 20 years of experience in HR and a proven track record of success, Sarah has made a name for herself as a leading consultant in the industry. She started her HR journey at a young age, taking on high levels of responsibility and quickly rising through the ranks in the retail sector.


“I come from a family of pharmacists, but I ended up studying business studies and continued with a postgraduate degree in human resources. I applied for a couple of graduate roles, but I didn't hear back from Sainsbury's,”

a laptop is open for work with the sea in Corfu as backdrop

she says. “However, I was offered a role as the HR Manager at a department store called Owen & Owen, where I had the opportunity to create a new function. A few months later, Sainsbury’s got in touch and offered me a job as the Personnel Manager for a store in Cambridge with a comprehensive training programme. Within six months, I was promoted to open a new store in St. Albans.”

Opening the store required the recruitment and training of over 500 staff. “The experience was remarkable,” says Sarah, “but I discovered that Sainsbury’s was too structured for my creative nature. A couple of more roles in the retail sector followed, and I was enticed into the world of management consulting. I gave up my steady job and joined them as an Associate, only to decide six months later that I could go it alone as an independent HR consultant.”

Like many Sarah set up her business in her spare room and started lining up her own clients. She identified a gap in the market offering HR services to SMEs and grew the business steadily, employing more people as she went. The business surged ahead with a contract with BT, and in ten years, her consultancy had a turnover of over £1m per annum and employed over 20 staff.

Setbacks and success

However, success wasn’t without its challenges and as a single parent Sarah faced setbacks along the way. In 2004 after three months off work following an operation, she returned to the business to find the client sales pipeline has dried up in her absence and the business was no longer viable. But her determination and passion for HR and entrepreneurship kept her moving forward, and she went on to build another successful HR consultancy, which was eventually acquired by Thomas International, where she took on the role of Head of HR and 360 Services. In her capacity as product author of her 360-degree feedback system she had an international remit to grow the services and build the knowledge across the 56 countries.

But corporate life long term wasn’t for Sarah, and she struck out on her own once again to combine direct HR consulting services with mentoring and coaching for HR professionals looking to leave the corporate world and start their own consultancy. Sarah has since mentored over 100 start-up businesses and is proud of the numerous awards she has received for her work in the industry.

As a senior HR professional, you know the importance of staying current and finding new ways to challenge yourself. Sarah’s personalised mentorship, guidance, and support is designed to do just that. Whether it be through developing and implementing effective HR strategies, building strong teams, or navigating the challenges of starting and growing a business, Sarah has a wealth of knowledge and experience to share.

Sarah Hamilton-Gill is not just a seasoned HR consultant and entrepreneur, but also a thought leader in the industry. Her vast experience and expertise have been captured in her book, “Leap into HR Consulting: How to move successfully from Corporate to Consulting.” The book is aimed at in-house HR professionals who are considering making the leap into consulting, and provides them with practical guidance, tips, and insights to help them make the transition smoothly and successfully.

The book is based on Sarah’s more than three decades of experience as a consultant and covers everything from developing a personal brand, to building a client base, to running a successful consulting business. With this book, Sarah aims to leave a legacy that will accelerate the transition of HR professionals into consulting and help them avoid common pitfalls and make the most of their skills and expertise. “Leap into HR Consulting” was a finalist in the Business Book Awards 2021, further showcasing the value and impact that it has had on the industry.

Sarah is determined to continue to help HR professionals take their career to the next level and achieve their professional and personal goals. As she looks to open new initiatives in the USA in the future, she says one of the most rewarding parts of her job is hearing from her HR clients who, having taken the path to consultancy, continue to achieve their targets both in industry and in their own family lives.

Sarah’s one claim to fame: playing Underwater Hockey for England’s Ladies Team.

Sarah Hamilton-Gill

Sarah Hamilton-Gill

Leap into HR Consulting®️
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