With the increasing abundance of HR talent in the region, judging the CIPD North East of England HR&D Awards gets more and more difficult each year.

This year, we’ve assembled an impressive panel of experts, all of whom are highly respected HR&D professionals here in the North East to take on the challenge.

The Judges will be tasked with looking at the extent to which submissions meet the category criteria and for any compelling evidence that illustrates the power of the achievement. The panel also look for where submissions can show differentiation and add value to the broader field of HR&D.

This year’s judging panel includes:

Claire Atkins - Director of HR, Muckle LLP

Claire joined Muckle LLP in March 2013, following a 26-year HR career in the John Lewis Partnership. She is responsible for leading a proactive and commercial HR function that helps to attract, engage and retain the best people. A Chartered Fellow member of the CIPD who was a CIPD North East Committee member for 4 years. Claire has a broad experience of HR matters and has submitted a number of winning entries since the CIPD Awards inception in 2006, most recently Diversity and Inclusion in the Workplace Award in 2015 and Health and Wellness Innovation Award in 2016.

Jac Gardner - HR Director, Arriva

Jac is HR Director at Arriva, a leading European transport operator employing 60,000 people, where she has worked for the last six years. Working across Arriva’s 14 countries, Jac is responsible for the company’s strategy and approach to attracting, identifying and developing talent, particularly at senior leadership level and for its graduate programme. Other responsibilities include reward, employee engagement and people analytics, as well as partnering the corporate functions for HR services. Previously Jac worked for fifteen years in the aerospace division of Rolls-Royce plc where she held a number of senior HR generalist and employee relations roles.

Lynne Griffin - Group Director of HR and OD, NCG

Lynne is Group Director of HR and OD for NCG, one of the UK’s largest college and training providers and has played a key role in the growth and development of the organisation. Lynne has previously worked as Head of HR for Home Group, where she led on programmes which resulted in dramatic reductions in turnover, grievance and disciplinary cases and as Operational Director of HR for Northern Rock, now Virgin Money, where she oversaw major restructures of the company.

John McConnell - Group HR Director, LSL Property Services plc

John joined LSL Property Services plc (LSL) as Group HR Director in 2016 with responsibility for a people strategy which is carefully aligned to the changing needs of the business. LSL is a leading provider of residential property services incorporating both estate agency and surveying businesses and employs over 4500 people throughout the UK. Prior to this John spent 10 years on the Executive Team of North East based Aesica Pharmaceuticals, a major European pharmaceutical CDMO. Having held senior HR positions in the Chemical Industry, Utility and health sectors John has specialist knowledge in the areas of Change Management, Employee Relations, Compensation and Benefits with experience of working in both Europe and the USA. In addition to his current role John coaches a number of HR professionals.

Sue O’Donovan - Managing Consultant HR (Senior Appointments), Nigel Wright Group

Sue O’Donovan joined Nigel Wright in 2004 and manages the HR recruitment team in Newcastle. Sue’s team recruit HR&D professionals across all levels, from Assistant to Executive level for both temporary and permanent assignments. As well as maintaining key relationships with HR Directors in the North East, Sue also manages Nigel Wright’s HR&D networking events.

Lizzy Tyler - Head of HR Payroll and Transformation, Taylor Wimpey

Lizzy has over 17 years HR experience and held a number of roles within blue chip organisations such as Marks and Spencer, Arriva and now Taylor Wimpey. In April 2007 she joined Taylor Wimpey as the Divisional HR Manager – North, where she was responsible for 2000 employees. Since 2015, Lizzy has been leading a significant change programme across the Plc organisation including; redefining the HR service through its processes and procedures, the successful implementation of a new HR and payroll system, and finally the design and delivery of an internal audit process for the entire HR function.

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