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Internal Communications Conference 2013 - Speaker Biographies

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  • 1. Building the future - Internal Communication Conference 2013 Wednesday 25 September 2013: 08:30 – 17:00 SPEAKER BIOGRAPHIES James Harkness, CIPR Inside Chair and Founding Partner, HarknessKennett Limited. James is founding partner at HarknessKennett with over 20 years' experience in internal communication gained working for some of the UK's leading communication consultancies and as Head of Global Internal Communication for The Body Shop International plc. James has hands-on experience of developing internal and engagement programmes to support change, build leadership communication capability, measurement and campaigns. James is a fellow of the CIPR and currently Chair of CIPR Inside. Sarah Larvor, Global Head of Strategic Communication & Brand Strategy, National Grid. Sarah is Global Head of Strategic Communication & Brand Strategy at National Grid plc, an international electricity and gas company and one of the largest investor-owned energy companies in the world. Sarah has more than 18 years' experience of leading and delivering successful communication, engagement, brand and cultural change programmes in complex organisations. Prior to her current role, she consulted to the financial services industry, working with global clients including Prudential and Lloyds TSB. Sarah began her career at Royal Mail, before moving to Abbey National plc, where she led the employee communication function during a prolonged period of change, strategic realignment and M&A activity for the UK high street bank. Jenni Wheller, Internal Communications at SSP UK. After graduating university with a Marketing degree, Jenni embarked on the journey of a career in Communications. Starting in local government as a communications assistant she worked on all aspects of communication, from internal communication, local PR and event management. After two years Jenni moved to defence company BAE Systems to further her passion for PR and as a Media Relations Advisor for one of their divisions Jenni managed the media relations for regional press across 13 UK sites, travelling worldwide supporting events and exhibitions to ensure products/capabilities were featured in show publications as well as national press – both UK and/or international. Jenni then moved on to enhance the skill set of internal communication and joined Thomson Local to set up the internal communications function for them. Introducing a new intranet, growing a four page newsletter to a 12-page magazine and taking ownership of the company brand were all key projects during her time there. Now that her passion for internal communications was firmly established Jenni decided to get some experience from the other side of the fence and joined internal communications agency theblueballroom as their Business Development Manager. Jenni
  • 2. worked with the team to develop their marketing strategy and worked on various projects around applying social media to the internal communications arena. After a year Jenni decided that the in- house environment was for her and returned to the role of Internal Communications Manager with SSP in March 2010. Since joining the business and building the function from scratch Jenni has taken the role from churning out comms to advising teams throughout the business on best practice. As a result the role changed to Head of Internal Communciation and the team grew from one to two! Outside of work Jenni co-founded The IC Crowd with fellow internal comms pros Rachel Miller and Dana Leeson. You can be part of the crowd by following @theiccrowd on Twitter and it is there for anyone to use to find out more about the world of internal comms. Jenni is also Treasurer for CIPR Inside and is studying to complete the CIPR Internal Communications Diploma as well. In her spare time Jenni practices Bikram Yoga and is training for a 250 mile bike ride in early September in honour of The Railway Children. Barry Gifford, Operations Director for Pubs and Bars at SSP UK. Barry started his career in the South African army where he spent seven years leading troops in combat through Africa. He worked closely with the United Nations in countries like Rwanda, Somalia and Sierra Leon. When he left the army he re-educated himself and worked with the biggest steak house chain in Africa. He rolled out steak house franchises in seven countries and had to start each venture with new teams, languages and a host of cultural challenges. Barry moved to the UK in 2000 where he worked for First Group where he rolled out their award winning 'Travelling Chef' concept and a service delivery management team which improved their service KPIs to record highs. An opportunity to move into a different sector saw Barry head up a team in a large logistics business and work to grow the business substantially. Barry moved back into the leisure industry and worked for the most successful pub business in the country, Greene King. He worked in operations and moved to a commercial role to manage the business through the transition of change following the smoking ban and a business restructure. This resulted in industry-leading results in revenue growth and like-for-like sales. In 2011, Barry moved into a consulting role with The Gap Partnership which saw him work with many FTSE 100 and Fortune 500 companies in the UK, Europe, USA and the UAE. He worked with these companies developing their teams in behavioural change, strategic implementation and negotiation. In the spring of 2013, Barry decided to return to his passion and joined SSP UK to run the bars and pubs division. In his spare time, Barry enjoys spending time with friends and playing rugby. A keen athletem, Barry is taking part in the charity cycle from Brussels to London later this year with other SSP colleagues.
  • 3. Fiona Gibson, Head of Communications, Global Legal for HSBC. Fiona joined HSBC in 2010 in Hong Kong, running communications and change projects across Asia- Pacific. During that time, she was the Group's only internal facilitator for the communications learning and development programme. She returned to the UK earlier this year to set up a communications component for the Legal function, and also leads on education communications for the legal agreements the Bank has with the US and UK authorities. Prior to HSBC, Fiona held senior employee communications roles at Royal Bank of Canada, Ernst & Young, and Lloyds TSB. Virginia Hicks, Managing Director, Comma Partners. Virginia Hicks is the owner of Comma Partners, an interim placement consultancy for internal and change communications specialists, which was set up in 2007. Previously, Virginia was an independent communications consultant with Unilever and Network Rail. Her early career was in sponsorship, PR and marketing until she specialised in internal communications with Thorn (owner of Radio Rentals) and then with GSK's manufacturing division before moving to Marks & Spencer as the company's first head of internal communication. Virginia is also a mentor for communications practitioners and runs a series of learning and development events for her network of interims. Andrew Jones, Director of Fundraising & Communications, Blind Veterans UK. Andrew Jones has been Director of Fundraising and Communications at Blind Veterans UK since 2007. Blind Veterans UK is a medium-sized national charity that supports blind and visually impaired ex-Service men and women. In 2012, after 97 years, the organisation changed its name from St Dunstan's to Blind Veterans UK. Following an MA in Marketing from Westminster University, Andrew's early career was spent in tourism and arts marketing before moving to The Royal British Legion as Head of Direct Marketing from 2001 to 2007. Andrew is married with two children and chair of a local childcare charity. Krishan Lathigra, Senior Communications and Research specialist, Foreign & Commonwealth Office Krish works in the Internal Communications team at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO), specialising in the global staff survey, employee engagement, leadership communications and change initiatives. Prior to joining the FCO he worked at COI, HSBC, Mintel and NatWest. He has authored papers on 'consulting citizens at a time of crisis' and 'citizen journalism'. Along the way, Krish has picked up three industry awards including a highly commended CIPRInside Award. When he's not at the FCO he manages the Tavern Stand at Lord's cricket ground, runs half marathons and was part of the industrial revolution segment in the Olympics Opening Ceremony.
  • 4. Catherine Morris, Head of Internal Communications and Engagement, Foreign & Commonwealth Office. Catherine is Head of Internal Communications and Engagement at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO), responsible for corporate communications, leadership/staff engagement, the intranet and Diplomatic Excellence - FCO's major change initiative which has recently been given an 'Award of Inspiration' by the Institute for Government and a highly commended CIPRInside Award. Previously she has worked as a communications consultant and practitioner in the public, private and not-for-profit sectors, including at the Cabinet Office, Hutchison Whampoa and Open Doors. Catherine is currently studying (MSc in Change Management) and enjoys running, climbing mountains and exploring far-flung places. Cliff Ettridge, Director, The Team Brand Communication Consultants. Since joining The Team in 2002, Cliff has led our employee engagement offer, delivering projects for clients such as British Gas, Vodafone and the BBC, as well as helping the BP leadership release their new values and behaviours to the global organisation. Today, he leads a team delivering work for a number of clients including BP, RBS Group, British Gas and Rio Tinto. He and his team design employer brands, create internal communication plans and develop campaigns to bring business messages to life inside the organisation. With 18 years' experience in developing employee engagement strategies, Cliff's expertise lies in developing ideas that can bring basic business concepts to life. The mix of client experience means that Cliff has developed excellent insights into how a wide range of people inside businesses think and feel. Jamie Pert, Senior Internal Communications Consultant, Newsweaver. Jamie is Senior Internal Communications Consultant at Newsweaver, where he is responsible for ensuring the success of major implementations within global blue chip organisations. As a former customer of Newsweaver himself, he has an intimate knowledge of the product and works closely with customers to understand their communication needs and help them get the most from the software. He brings a wealth of knowledge and insight to his role, having developed and managed successful communications programmes within Vodafone UK, Cable&Wireless Worldwide, UK Trade & Investment and Coca-Cola Oceania. David MacLeod, Engage for Success David is co-Chair of the Employee Engagement Task Force launched by the Prime Minister at Number 10 in 2011. He is a Non-Executive Director of the Ministry of Justice, a visiting Professor of the Cass Business School, a Fellow of the Ashridge Business School, the Institute of Marketing and of the RSA. He co-authored the book entitled 'The Extra Mile' published by Pearson, also translated into
  • 5. Chinese. David is co-author of the 'Engaging for Success' Report commissioned by the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills, described by the CMI as the definitive work on this subject. This follows an early career in marketing followed by becoming a CEO. David was awarded an OBE for services to Employee Engagement and Business in the Queen's Birthday Honours in June 2013. Tanith Dodge, M&S. Tanith Dodge joined Marks & Spencer as Director of Human Resources in March 2008. She is a member of the M&S Management Committee, leading HR for its 78,000 employees across the UK and 42 territories internationally. Before joining M&S, Tanith was Group Human Resources Director at WH Smith, where she also held responsibility for Public Relations, Communications and Post Office Operations. Prior to this, she was Senior Vice President of Human Resources for Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA), at InterContinental Hotels Group. Tanith has also held senior HR roles at Diageo Plc and Prudential Corporation Plc. Tanith is an active member of the BiTC Workwell Leadership Team and sits on the Board of the BiTC Business Action on Homelessness campaign. Tanith is member of the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills' Employee Engagement Taskforce. Launched in early 2011, the independent taskforce aims to improve workplace productivity through higher motivation and engagement. Claire Newton, Head of Internal Communications Strategy, O2 Telefonica UK Claire has 15 years of internal communications experience under her belt working with private and public sector companies such as Npower, Siemens Plc, the Department of Health and the NHS. She's currently working with the O2 as Head of UK Internal Communications Strategy which covers planning, strategy, measurement and the senior leadership team events programme. She's a self- confessed 'Monica from Friends' when it comes to planning and measurement and wishes she had Monica's swishy mane of hair. She's a Yorkshire lass, works part-time and spends the rest of the week running after 16-month-old Harrison, her husband (sometimes!) and her cat Hobo. Margaret Wotherspoon, Director, HarknessKennett. Maggie is a Director at HarknessKennett with over 20 years of senior management and management consultancy experience. She's been extensively involved in the review and measurement of communications, strategic planning assignments, project management and channel development. She recently worked with O2 to review the effectiveness of internal communications and develop a monthly dashboard. Maggie's clients have included organisations in the public, private and not-for-profit sectors, such as the Cabinet Office, Shell and the NSPCC. Prior to HarknessKennett, Maggie worked freelance and before that was a senior consultant with Price Waterhouse. She has an LL.B (Hons) from University College, London.
  • 6. Sam Hodlin. Head of Internal Communications at Eurostar. I am passionate about internal communications and see it as one of the key levers in helping businesses deliver stronger performances. I have had the pleasure of working at some great companies including BA, Centrica, KPMG and Vodafone UK. Currently working for Eurostar, I have learnt an enormous amount about how, working with colleagues across the business, you can develop clear, straightforward and clear internal communications approaches that really make a difference. My current hot topics are: understanding how we can improve line manager communications capability to help communicate key messages, and developing and launching a new social intranet for Eurostar. Roland Burton, Senior Employee Communication Manager, M&S. Roland manages internal communication at Marks & Spencer, as part of a small team focused on strategic communication with around 70,000 employees across the country. During the last 10 years he has also held internal communications roles at BT and Sainsbury's, and in summer 2012 completed an MSc in Psychology at the University of East London. He is currently undertaking the CIPR Diploma in Internal Communication. Pete Stevenson, Creative Director, The Edge Picture Company Pete Stevenson, owner/executive producer at The Edge has over twenty years' experience in the business and is responsible for managing client relationships and developing creative solutions. The Edge is recognised for the creative excellence of their work by award ceremonies around the world, where they are consistently the top performer. Pete regularly presents at major communication and employee engagement events. Over the last couple of years he has spoken with clients of the calibre of B&Q, McDonalds, Network Rail, Nokia, O2, Serco and Siemens. Michelle Griffiths, Internal Communications Officer, Sport Wales. Michelle is an experienced Internal Communications Officer at Sport Wales, encouraging internal collaboration to keep the workforce fully engaged and performing at the highest possible level. Along with playing a key role in shaping the organisation's behaviors, producing department profiles and providing entertaining Staff Day events, Michelle is determined to engage staff by winning their 'hearts and minds', utilising a blend of emotional intelligence, communications theory, best practice and common sense. Michael Pounsford, Managing Director, Couravel Ltd Mike works with communications, HR and leadership teams and specialises in internal communication and organisation development. His main areas are helping communicate strategy internally, developing communication skills and the function itself. Recent work includes:
  • 7.  The Big Conversation at TUI UK and Ireland (winning IABC Gold Quill 2012 and EMERald Awards of Excellence), helping to support TUI through a particularly tough environment and out-perform its competitors.  Developing advocacy throughout Natural England to measurably improve reputation amongst its external stakeholders, and developing customer service improvement in response to the Government's cost cutting and service improvement agendas. Mike founded and owns Couravel Limited and recently established The Big Conversation Company. He works extensively with a network of trusted independent associates and his clients include Anglo American, the Walt Disney Company, Cabinet Office, Home Office, Sussex Police, GKN, Pfizer, Tata Steel Europe, Thales, Syngenta and Vodafone. Steve Chapman, Couravel Ltd Steve is fascinated in how organisations really work as opposed to how they are supposed to work. Having spent over 20 years in the corporate world as a senior leadership and organisation development director and now as an independent change and creativity consultant, he brings an exciting mix of experience and experimentation to his work. He has worked with a wide variety of clients in the pharmaceutical, FMCG, mobile telecoms, airlines, financial services, water, arts and culture and charity sectors, helping them through times of change by developing their own creative and innovative spirit. He is a speaker on change and creativity and maintains a popular blog on the subject. Ashley Freeman, Sales and Marketing Director, INVOLVE Ashley Freeman is responsible for all of INVOLVE's Sales & Marketing. Born in Hawaii in the Manoa Valley, but raised in Berkshire in the Thames Valley, he graduated from Bournemouth University with a BSc in Business. After completing a dissertation that studied the characteristics of effective business communicators, he naturally gravitated towards a role at INVOLVE in 2005 having flirted with sales and marketing roles in media (Granada Media / ITV) and then IT. When he's not planning and activating new ways to help INVOLVE drive brand awareness and deliver creative, lead-generating B2B marketing campaigns, most of Ashley's time is spent managing their new-client acquisition efforts and developing employee engagement ideas and campaigns for some of the world's leading businesses. He is passionate about developing creative ways of giving employees a voice and getting them involved and bought into change, predominantly focusing on vision, values, behaviours and brand. Jonny Tapnack, Head of Change, INVOLVE. Born in South Africa, Jonny now lives with his family (1 wife, 3 children and 0 pets) in North London. He has a BA in Political Science, and an MA in Human Resource Management, and before joining the corporate world, worked for a youth movement, trying to come up with inventive ways of educating 8-16 year olds.
  • 8. He took this passion for education, and worked in Learning & Development for a few years, before joining one of the Big 4’s consultancy practices – where he worked on some challenging change programmes – including the largest transaction in corporate history. His experience in leading complex change programmes makes him perfectly placed to lead our change capability. While he has dived with Great White Sharks, shared a ski-lift with Hugh Grant (Hugh is still talking about it too) and can blow a ram’s horn…he loves nothing more than working with our clients to solve their challenges by dreaming up creative and successful methods of engagement. When he’s not at work, Jonny spends time with his 3 children, usually driving them to activities he wished he was doing himself – like swimming, football and diving into a big ball-pool. Rachel Miller, Internal Communication and Social Media strategist. Rachel Miller is an Internal Communication and Social Media strategist. She wrote the chapter on how social media is changing employee engagement and internal communication in the best-selling book Share This: The Social Media Handbook for PR Professionals. Rachel started her career as a journalist and has worked agency side and in-house for companies including BSkyB, L'Oréal, Visa, Tube Lines and London Overground. Named in PR Week's Top 29 under 29 professional communicators in the UK, she's a Kingston Internal Communications Management postgraduate, mentors comms professionals and writes her own internal comms blog. Jonathan Phillips, Senior Manager Digital Communications, Coca-Cola Enterprises. Jonathan Phillips is Senior Manager of Digital Communications at Coca-Cola Enterprises, where he's been managing their intranet in one form or another for the best part of a decade. With over 15 years of intranet, internet, social media and other digital communication technologies, he is a regular conference speaker and contributor to the intranet community. Based in Bristol and London, he is a recognised global expert on intranet technologies. Jonathan is co-founder of intranetizen.com, a world-leading blog. Wendy Jordan, Group Communications Officer, The Wheatley Group. Wendy Jordan is an internal communications and intranet specialist working for the Wheatley Group, Scotland's leading force in housing and regeneration. Wendy is an intranet geek and cares deeply about delivering the best service to her colleagues by providing easy access to the information and tools they need to better serve their customers. Linda Mortimer, Internal Communications Executive at Gatwick Airport. I'm passionate about helping people find their potential and motivating my colleagues through engaging, honest communication. I also have a strong Microsoft Office background, which helps me to use software tools effectively (and be the in-house IT support for office workers nearby).
  • 9. My BSc (Hons) degree in Organisational Management trained me to exercise my passions of communication and technology to make "work" a little less tiresome. My previous role as technical author gave me great insight into how to simplify complex messages to the benefit of a wide range of audiences. In addition, it gave me a great insight into the perspective of the audience to whom I now communicate. ***********************************************************************