Industry Leaders
Strike and Purplebricks
Chief People Officer

Dom Mellonie

In people-led businesses that are growing in a competitive industry, fostering a sense of inclusion and belonging whilst delivering business goals is something a lot of people leaders are focused on. 

In this discussion, Co-host of The Interview Max Webber sat down with Dom Mellonie, Chief People Officer at Strike and Purplebricks, to discuss his extensive experience in HR leadership roles and his approach to building an inclusive culture.

Dom's Journey

Max: Can we start with an introduction to yourself and the organisation?

Sure, I’m Dom Mellonie, Chief People Officer at Strike and, more recently, Purplebricks since we acquired the business, our biggest competitor, in June of this year. I’ve been in HR for 29 years, starting out in retail in 1992, before moving ten years later to work in Madrid for a period. Since then, I’ve come back and worked in a variety of industries, such as in the Group HR Director role at TalkTalk when it was first established in 2005 and more recently I was HR Director at Expedia and Chief People Officer at Motorsport Network. The fortunate thing in HR is that you can work across industries with transferable skills.

Max: What keeps you energised and enthused about leading the people function?

It’s all about the people. I love interacting with people; I’m really inspired by people (even though that sounds a bit naff!). You have a phenomenal chance to make an impact on a business and its people in my role — something I’m incredibly grateful for. Being in people leadership also requires you to have team, company, and cultural awareness, which is a great challenge to navigate.

When moving across different industries, you see the same desires, frustrations, challenges, and more — there are common threads that run through all industries. Working with amazing people who are experts in their field is inspiring.

Max: A big focus of the HR professional is Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI). What’s your approach to this work?

Last week, we had an all-day meeting about the brand of Purplebricks 2.0, where an external agency was collating soundbites and snippets from across the business. A common word that came out was ‘family’; my opinion is God forbid should we ever be like a family! Most people have dysfunction in their family in one form or another; really it’s about community and connection. The next day, at a seminar, the word struck — it’s about belonging. The extension of the well-known quote was: ‘Diversity is being invited to the party, inclusion is being asked to dance, and belonging is dancing like you just don’t care’.

Yet different things create a sense of belonging for different people; what you find creates that special feeling will be different to what I find does, particularly in a hybrid working world. We had a real sense of belonging in Expedia when I was there as Group HR Director. I was based out of Islington or my house in Lancaster, yet was supporting and speaking with colleagues based in Seattle, Singapore, Sydney, and wherever else it might be, and we all felt a strong sense of belonging and mutual excitement. To take engagement seriously, you have to define and work on this nebulous concept that is belonging.

Max: Given the range of pulls on staff time, particularly post-acquisition, how do you ensure busy staff are engaged with EDI initiatives?

The end game is that these aren’t thought of as ‘initiatives’ — it’s that they become a default part of the usual rhythm of the business. If you try to force it by giving it a funky title or glamorising it, people might enjoy it for a period but without embedding it in business processes and leadership behaviours, then it’ll fall flat. We’re trying at the moment to come to an agreement on what our new values should be, which is a difficult but important conversation to have. We’ve an employee forum that ensures staff can input not just to our values, but to how we fundamentally determine how we do our work together. Not doing a song and dance about it but instead embedding it as a fundamental part of the business’ rhythm helps keep staff engaged.

Max: For you, what traits do great leaders have that allow them to bring their teams together?

I started out a long time ago, and I’ve seen some really interesting changes in the perspective of what makes a great leader. During Covid, we saw that the humility of leadership was absolutely the thing that brought people together. I was doing some work for Rolls Royce Maritime, who were building nuclear submarines at the time, so working from home was never a thing prior to Covid. The MD at the time, who was ex-MOD and very down the line, held a town hall where she let the mask fall and told people honestly that she also didn’t know what was going to happen here, that being stuck at home was really unpleasant, and that she doesn’t have all the answers, which really helped bring people together. Beyond that, be vulnerable, and trust your people. Admitting that you don’t have all the answers - in fact rarely having them - and that’s why you have a great team makes you a genuine Leader.

Max: To finish — what’s the best piece of advice you’ve received across your career?

The one that resonates with me is from my time at Carphone Warehouse/TalkTalk, where my boss — Group HR Director for the wider business — once told me that being the HR leader is one of the loneliest jobs there is. Which I totally get now, although I do have a wonderful team around me. It’s helpful advice to prepare you mentally for what’s to come in this profession.

Curious to see what the future of training looks like?
Max Webber
Max works closely with people leaders and change-makers in our professional services markets. If you're looking to feature on The Interview, or simply want to learn more about GoodCourse, then get in touch at

The future of training is here, are you ready for it?

Tired of chasing your learners to complete dull training? Let's speak today👇
Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.