Guest Speakers

Past guest speakers

The forum has been fortunate enough to have heard from a wide range of wonderfully engaging guest speakers.  The talks and presentations shared along with the debates they initiated have helped grow our understanding of the many different elements of people engagement and wellbeing.

Whether they are industry experts providing technical knowledge or HR Leaders sharing their business experiences, our guest speakers provide valuable information helping us to learn and support each other.

“The speakers were excellent, both spoke with true understanding, compassion and gave practical advice.”

April  2022 – Diversity & Inclusion

This session explored what diversity and inclusion really means to businesses. We reviewed what practises need to be adopted to develop the right culture where all team members feel connected and able to bring their whole selves to work.

Jug Sahota
Niall Crowley
Freeths LLP

February  2022 – The new world of flexible/hybrid working

Our meeting looked at the new flexible working practices many businesses have adopted since the pandemic – from changes to working hours to hybrid working.

Anthony talked about the reality of how these changes are impacting the wellbeing of our teams from challenges switching off to perceived unfairness from those unable to work from home.

Alex also talked to us about the impacts of digital overload and what businesses can do to support their people to digitally detox from time to time.

Alex La Via
Alessandra La Via
Live More Offline
Anthony Taylor
Anthony Taylor

November  2021 – Coaching & Counselling

This forum looked at at the differences of coaching and counselling and how these skills can be applied to support employees in the workplace.

Sallyann shared her knowledge and experiences of the topics and we learnt how the techniques can help people in the workplace.

Rachel shared her knowledge and experiences of the topics and we learnt how the techniques can help people in the workplace.

sallyann 3
Sallyann Meadowcroft
The Counselling Shed
Rachel Boulton 2
Rachel Boulton
Freedom Coaching

September  2021 – Change Management and Wellbeing

This forum looked at Change and the impact it has on employee wellbeing. During her presentation Eileen talked to us about the different responses to change and how to respond to them. She also described the 5 drivers of wellbeing in the workplace and how these relate to change.

To find out more read Eileen’s blog in our News & Blogs section.

Eileen Donnelly profile pic
Eileen Donnelly
Director at Ripple & Co

June  2021 – Internal Communications

Our session looked at Internal Communications. Communication expert Heather Pritchett shared her advice on the best ways to engage your people.

To find out more read Heather’s blogin our News & Blogs section.

Heather Pritchett Agenda Communication SQ
Heather Pritchett
Agenda Communication Limited

April  2021 – Male Mental Wellbeing

Our session looked at the topic of mental health specifically focusing on men.  David Beeney talked about the work his business, Breaking the Silence, does to promote and develop ‘kinder cultures’ in the workplace.  David provided insights into the challenges of getting men to open up and talk about how they are doing and gave useful advice based on both his work and his own personal mental health challenges.

To hear more from David, read his blog in our ‘News & Blogs’ section.

David Beeney
Breaking the Silence

February 2021 – Menopause in the Workplace

In this session we talked about the menopause.  Sally Leech talked about the four compelling reasons why businesses need to take a serious approach to how they support their people who are experiencing the menopause and also provided valuable information to increase awareness and change perceptions within business.

Sally Leech Square
Sally Leech

December 2020 – Looking after the wellbeing of HR Leaders

To mark the end of  an extremely difficult and demanding year for all HR professionals, this session focused on looking after the wellbeing of those who’s job it is to look after everyone else!

During the forum Kelly Swingler talked about her personal journey from burnout to wellbeing.  We reflected on the challenges of 2020 and Kelly provided some great advice and tips to promote self care and resilience.

To find out more about Kelly’s personal journey from burnout read her blog in our news and blog section.

© 2017 Jen Allison Photography
Kelly Swingler
Kelly Swingler

October 2020 – Bereavement – How to support your people

The focus of this forum was to develop a deeper understanding of bereavement to equip HR Leaders with valuable advice on how to respond sensitively to the individual needs of a team member upon the loss of a loved one.

Sarah, from the Dove Service talked about the complexities of grief including how to recognise it, common misconceptions and how people grow with grief.

Holly from the parental bereavement charity, Child of Mine, talked sensitively about what parents need following the death of a child and how this kind of grief is somewhat different to other griefs.

Sarah Mockridge
Sarah Mockridge
The Dove Service
Holly Addison
Holly Addison
Child of Mine

August 2020 – Flexible Working (COVID specific)

This forum explored flexible working with a focus on the changes to working arrangements bought about by the lockdown restrictions of COVID-19.

Margaret, a Senior HR Leader talked us through her experience of developing and implementing a flexible working strategy.  Her presentation included lots of practical advice from how to respond to a flexible working request to establishing a road map to deliver a companywide approach.

Claire, whose business Work Best supports companies in adopting flexible working practices, talked about the shift in attitude towards flexible working this year and what challenges business need to overcome to ensure this new way of working is a success for both the individual and business.

To find out more read Claire’s blog in our news and blog section.

Margaret Renshaw
Make UK
Claire Nicoll
Claire Nicoll
Work Best

May 2020 – Supporting Employees Returning to Work (COVID specific)

The focus of this meeting was to look at the practicalities of smoothly transitioning people back into the workplace who have either been furloughed or absent due to sickness.

Our guest speakers talked about:

  • how business has changed and what is now described as ‘the new norm’
  • how to keep people safe in the workplace
  • how to engage with people who are returning back to work
  • return to work anxiety

We also heard from a group of Senior HR Leaders from different businesses who discussed how they have responded to COVID-19 and shared their plans to bring their people back.

Hayley Pic 2 (002)
Hayley Rhodes
Acorn Occupational Health
Natalie Smith
Natalie Smith
Wardell Armstrong
Anita Sherratt
Anita Sherrat
Emma Bridgewater
Louise Warrilow
Louise Warrilow
Co-Op Academies Trust

February 2020 – Company Culture & Values

In this forum we discussed what is defined as the culture of a business and how business values drive the actions and behaviours of their people.

Culture specialist, Andy Chell, talked about how cultures differ in different businesses, the process of identifying what your culture is and how to get people to engage with and adapt to this way of working.

Andy Chell
Andy Chell
Navitas Human Capital

December 2019 – Reward, Benefit & Recognition

From complex benefit packages to simply saying thank you this forum reviewed the different ways to acknowledge the positive contributions of the people in our businesses.

Reward and benefits specialist, Dan Harrison talked about the different elements which can make up a reward strategy and how these can also support the wellbeing of all team members.

Lynne Ingram shared with us her experiences of how Freeths LLP recognise and reward their people.

Dan Harrison
Dan Harrison
Lynne Ingram
Freeths LLP

October 2019 – Leadership

This forum explored what it means to be a great leader and how to develop a positive leadership culture.

Leadership Consultant, Roger Fairhead, talked through the elements of his ‘Prize’ winning leadership model focusing on how to implement a leadership strategy and the importance of ensuring there is leadership accountability within the business.

Pete Lowe, former Manchester City FC Youth Team Coach, talked about leadership from a sporting perspective and how the leadership principals of managing a successful sports team can be applied to leadership within any business.

To find out more read Roger’s blog in our news and blog section

Roger Fairhead
Roger Fairhead
PRIZE Winning Leadership
Pete Lowe
Pete Lowe
Author – The Language of Winning

August 2019 – Drugs and Alcohol

In this meeting we looked at drug and alcohol usage and the impact this has on the workplace.

Matt Taylor, who runs a drug testing business, ITS Test Kits, shared his insights into the effects of different drugs, and how businesses can protect themselves and their people through the development of policies, training and robust testing processes.

John Finn from One Recovery talked about what addiction and dependency looks like and how his program is supporting recovering addicts to get back into work – providing them with a purpose and greatly increasing their chances of not relapsing.

To find out more read Matt’s blog in our news and blog section

Matt Taylor
Matt Taylor
ITS Test Kits

June 2019 – Communication

In this forum we talked about communication and in particular how to engage with people who work remotely.

Claire Nicoll, from Work Best, shared her insights into how remote workers need and what information they need to remain feeling connected with the business.  IT specialist, Ian Walker, discussed the different IT solutions which can be used to communicate with remote teams including how technology can help bring teams together.

To end, Lynne Ingram also provided a valuable presentation about multi age teams and the impact of communicating with people across diverse age categories.

Claire Nicoll
Claire Nicoll
Work Best
Ian Walker
Fifteen Group
Lynne Ingram
Freeths LLP

April 2019 – Positive Employee Engagement

This forum focused on positive employee engagement.

Employee Engagement Consultant, Kaye Massey talked through the definition of engagement within the workplace and the direct impact this has on the success of a business.  She also shared her experience of the benefits of listening to your team and the different ways to measure engagement levels.

HR Leaders Jane Millar and Claire Halket shared a wealth of information about the different ways  they engage with their teams at Michelin Tyres and Synectics Solutions.

Kaye Massey
Listen To Your Team
Claire Halket
Claire Halket
Synectics Solutions
Jane M
Jane Millar

Feb 2019 – Mental Health in the Workplace

This forum focused on mental health in the workplace.

Occupational Health Therapist, Lyndsey Marchant, talked about her experiences of supporting people in the workplace who are struggling to deal with mental health issues.

Wellbeing and Resilience Coach, Helen Dos Santos shared some powerful statistics about mental health in the workplace and provided some interesting food for thought on how to improve presenteeism and promote positive mental health.

To find out more read Helen’s blog in our news and blog section

Helen Dos Santos COM
Helen Dos Santos
Horizons Coaching
Lyndsey Marchant
Lyndsey Marchant
Phoenix Occupational Health
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