All nominations are reviewed by a team of Judges consisting of representatives from the CIPD, category award sponsors as well as a judge from the associate sponsor.
Judges have a wide range of experience including backgrounds in industry, commerce, academia and HR&D practitioners.
The Judges review each nomination in depth before meeting for a panel session where each nomination is scored and assessed against criteria.
Once the judging process is complete the events team at The Journal contact the shortlisted finalists to deliver the good news and invite them to attend the awards ceremony on 11 June to find out if they are victorious .
MEET THE JUDGING PANEL
Adrienne McFarland - Head of Centres of Expertise, Nestle
Adrienne McFarland joined Nestle UK LTD in 2014 to lead the Centre of Expertise. McFarland plays a key role in the development of Talent Management and Employee Engagement and Wellbeing. Nestle is a major player in the UK and Irish food industry employing 7,000 people across 20 sites. Around 95% of UK households consume the brands and more than two billion Nestle products are sold in the UK every year.
Prior to Nestle she spent 11 years with The Sage Group PLC, in a variety of leadership roles including, Global Head of Talent, Regional HR Director for AAMEA (Africa, Asia, Middle East and Australia) and Chief People Officer for the UK. Prior to Sage, she worked for Accenture, KPMG and Ford Motor Company. McFarland is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development and was featured in HR magazine’s list of Most influential Practitioners within the UK Manufacturing Sector in 2014.
Andy Hill - Global Talent Director, Sage
Andy has held a variety of positions both within Consulting and "in-house" specialising in Talent, Learning, Performance Management, Employer brand, Resourcing and Organisation Change.
In his early career Andy was employed by Computer Horizons Corporation, Satyam Computer services and Bookham Technology, where he was Director of Resourcing. He has extensive International experience having worked throughout the USA, Asia, Africa and mainland Europe.
Andy joined the Caudwell Group as a key player in the integration of Caudwell companies, Corporate 4U and Singlepoint into Vodafone UK. Here he held Head of Resourcing for the UK, Head of Executive Development and Head of Talent. Andy then joined Invensys as global Vice President of Talent & Organisation Effectiveness, and after completing its acquisition by Schneider Electric he then joined Sage in June 2014 to become its Global Director of Talent. Andy is on the Advisory Board for Executive HR Grapevine.
Claire Ritson - Head of HR, Bond Dickinson LLP
The Head of HR at Bond Dickinson LLP, Claire leads a team of 12 generalists. She is responsible for all people based activity within the firm from both an operational and strategic perspective meaning her role is a varied one. Having worked in HR since 2000, Claire has seen a number of changes in the profession and is very passionate about raising the profile of HR and ensuring that it is seen as an effective partner within any business.
Claire has been a member of the North East of England committee for five years. She is currently the Vice Chair of the committee and also helps with membership and upgrade applications and queries.
Elouise Leonard-Cross - Head of Organisational Development and Learning, Home Group
Elouise Leonard-Cross is an Occupational Psychologist and currently Head of Organisational Development and Learning for Home Group, responsible for the group-wide design and implementation of organisational development activities and learning programmes for leaders and colleagues across the UK. Having worked with public and private sectors, Elouise has supported organisations in improving performance, identifying, developing and retaining talent, defining and developing organisational culture and measuring and enhancing staff engagement (2014 winner of UK Employee Experience Award for employee engagement in delivering culture change).
Elouise is a Chartered Fellow of the CIPD and Chair of the North East of England Branch.
Jo Thackray - Global Talent Manager, The Sage Group plc
As the Global Talent Manager at the Sage Group plc, Jo manages a number of global leadership initiatives and programmes specifically relating to the talent and performance management of the leadership community across Sage. Jo has nearly 15 years’ experience in the HR field, having the privilege of working in a variety of sectors from retail, utilities, banking and now technology.
As a Chartered and active member of the committee, Jo’s role as Branch Secretary involves not only supporting the branch activities but championing the governance at branch level and helping the branch operate in line with the obligations and responsibilities associated with being a Chartered Institute, a membership organisation, and a registered charity.
Joanne Chelton - Learning and Development Business Partner, Home Group
Joanne plays an active part in the planning and managing of the events programme. Her passion to help others develop has seen her become the Mentor lead, delivering training and support to prospective Mentors, before matching them with fellow HRD practitioners.
Prior to joining Home Group in 2014, Joanne spent 15 years in Financial Services, designing and delivering training to staff in regulated roles, as well as having responsibility for design and management of Graduate Trainee Management Programmes. Recently Joanne has judged the Apprenticeship Category for the North East Business Awards.
Julia Smith - Head of HR (UK & Ireland), GE Oil & Gas
Julia joined GE Oil & Gas in June 2010 and has held a number of HR leadership positions in that time including HR Integration, Organisational Development and Global HR Management roles. In September 2014, Julia assumed her current role leading the HR team for GE Oil & Gas - UK & Ireland.
Julia has a 20 year career in Human Resources in a variety of sectors and countries. Having worked for Johnson & Johnson, Orange and Provident Financial, Julia’s career has predominantly been in International HR with particular focus on HR Business Partnership, Change Management and Organisation Development.
Lyndsey Mulley - Senior HR and Recruitment Manager, Convergys UK Ltd. and NE CIPD Branch Treasurer
Lyndsey joined Convergys in 2010 having previously worked in HR roles in banking and legal services. Lyndsey's role covers strategic HR and operational delivery, working as part of an EMEA team of HR professionals within a leading global BPO organisation.
Sarah Salter - Group HR Director, Northumbrian Water
Sarah joined Northumbrian Water as Group HR Director in January 2010. She began her career with Rowntree Mackintosh as a Sales Graduate trainee in the late 1980s, moving into HR and holding a variety of roles in Rowntree and Nestlé over the next 15 years. She joined Northern Foods in 2002 as HR Director for Cavaghan & Gray, based in Cumbria. From 2006 she was Group HR Director at Places for People, a national property management and development company. She is a fellow of the CIPD and in 2013 was shortlisted in the HR Excellence Awards for HR Director of the Year.
Sarah is a Trustee of Beamish Museum and leads the Business Friends of Beamish. She is a Common Purpose Advisor and a Trustee at the Excel Academy Partnership.
Steve Morton - Head of People and Organisational Development, Virgin Money
Steve joined Virgin Money as Head of People and Organisation Development in March 2013. The business focus had shifted from integration to building a platform for growth through colleague capability. His remit from the CEO was to deliver that platform in an innovative way which would meet the high brand expectations.
Steve transformed the approach to developing the organisation. Now everyone has access to the right development to be great at their job, build their career and grow as a person. He also launched a new approach to talent development and succession planning to ensure they are building the organisation in a way that is fit for the future.
Steve previously worked at Coca Cola Enterprises as European Head of Learning & Talent Development.
Sue O’Donovan - Managing Consultant, Nigel Wright
Sue O’Donovan joined Nigel Wright in 2004 and is responsible for permanent and interim senior HR appointments. As well as maintaining key relationships with HR Directors in the North East, Sue also supports a number of Nigel Wright’s key clients across the UK in their search for HR talent.
Alongside managing the team in Newcastle, Sue is also responsible for Nigel Wright’s many HR networking events and hosts regular HR Forums which have featured topical discussions with some of the North East’s leading HR figures. Sue is an active member of NECC’s Women’s Advisory Board and works closely with Bond Dickinson and the CIPD North East Branch.