Building the future - Internal Communication Conference 2013
Wednesday 25 September 2013: 08:30 – 17:00
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
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
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
In the spring of 2013, Barry decided to return to his passion and joined SSP UK to run the bars and
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.
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
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.
Catherine Morris, Head of Internal Communications and Engagement, Foreign & Commonwealth
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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:
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
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.
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
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).
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