Top judging panel assembles for CIPD North East of England HR&D Awards 2015

Businesses have until Friday May 1 to enter across ten categories, which will be celebrate at a ceremony on June 11

Judging for this year’s CIPD North East of England HR&D Awards is getting under way as entries from across the region’s businesses continue to flood in.

Companies have until Friday to enter, with a chance to showcase their people development activities at a major awards ceremony on June 11 at the Hilton Newcastle Gateshead.

Delivered by The Journal and associate sponsors Nigel Wright, this year’s awards feature a panel of six judges from across the region’s HR and development community who will join members of the CIPD Committee.

The panel includes:

* Andy Hill, group director of talent at The Sage Group plc. Mr Hill has held a variety of positions both within consulting and “in-house” specialising in talent, learning, performance management, employer brand, resourcing and organisation change. He has experience working throughout the US, Asia, Africa and mainland Europe and has been with Sage since June 2014. He is also on the Advisory Board for Executive HR Grapevine.

* Adrienne McFarland, head of Centres of Expertise at Nestle UK Ltd. Ms McFarland joined Nestle UK in 2014 and drives talent management, employee engagement and wellbeing across the firm’s 7,000 staff. She previously spent 11 years at The Sage Group plc in a variety of leadership roles, including global head of talent, regional HR director for AAMEA and chief people officer for the UK.

* Steve Morton, head of people and organisational development at Virgin Money. Mr Morton joined Virgin Money in March 2013 with a remit to drive growth through its workforce. He has previously worked at Coca Cola Enterprises as European head of learning and talent development.

* Sue O’Donovan, managing consultant HR - senior appointments at the Nigel Wright Group. Ms O’Donovan joined awards associate sponsors Nigel Wright in 2004 and is responsible for permanent and interim senior HR appointments. She is also an active member of NECC’s Women’s Advisory Board and works closely with Bond Dickinson and the CIPD North East Branch.

* Sarah Salter, group HR director at Northumbrian Water. Ms Salter joined Northumbrian Water in January 2010 and has previously held roles at Rowntree, Nestle, Northern Foods, and Places for People. She is a fellow of the CIPD and in 2013 was shortlisted in the HR Excellence Awards for HR Director of the Year.

* Julia Smith, senior EHRM UK and Ireland at GE Oil and Gas UK and Ireland. Ms Smith joined GE Oil and Gas in June 2010, and has held a number of HR leadership roles since. She has a 20 year career in HR spanning a variety of sectors and countries having worked for the likes of Johnson and Johnson, Orange and Provident Financial.

This year’s judging panel will meet soon to kick off the task of rooting out the winners across ten categories.

CIPD North East chair Elouise Leonard Cross said: “We are delighted to have brought on board the panel of HR and development specialists to judge these awards. All the judges are experienced professionals and are well known in their fields.

“We really think it adds something to the awards to have a respected independent panel like this who can reflect a wealth of expertise and different viewpoints in the judging process.

“It means that every application is looked at in a rounded way and from different perspectives.”

Those interested in applying for the awards have until Friday May 1 at 5pm to make a last minute entry.

To enter, log onto . Alternatively contact Lesley Hampson, events manager on 0191 201 6435 or email


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