HR Heroes and Panellists

15th September 2020, etc Venues: County Hall, Westminster

Annabelle Walters, Senior People Partner, Inside Ideas

Diversity & Inclusion panel


Annabelle is a Senior People Partner at Oliver Marketing. After 3 years of studying law at The University of Essex, much like an unknown percentage of Graduates over a decade ago decided that her chosen field of study was not for her. She instead decided to pursue a career in HR and joined the good fight for engagement, managing employee relations & developing a workforce. However in more recent years found a deeper passion for diversity and inclusion in the workplace. She has worked in a variety of different markets from renewable energy, the charity sector, telecoms and now Media & Marketing. She has seen and heard it all and is now on a mission to disrupt the ‘norm’, and help Senior Stakeholders in ensuring they have a workforce as diverse as their audience and consumers to ensure full representation from the grass roots to the top of the tree.

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John Athanasiou, Director of People, Harper Collins

Diversity & Inclusion panel


John was appointed Director of People at HarperCollins in October 2008. He is responsible for overseeing all areas of the employee lifecycle from talent management, resourcing and retention, learning and development, remuneration and benefits, and employee relations across the company. Sitting on the UK Executive Board, John has also rolled out an industry-leading strategy on diversity and inclusion at HarperCollins, for which the company was recognised at the 2016 Race Equality Awards, winning the Employee Network category as well as being placed in the Top 100 Best Employers For Race by Business In The Community – 2 years in a row. HarperCollins has been highly commended for the company’s work with Creative Access and in 2016 was the first Publisher to launch a BAME Traineeship which is now in its fourth year running.

John has a BA (Hons) in Finance, an MA in Human Resource Management and is an ILM Executive Coach and NLP Practitioner. He is bi-lingual in Greek and English and is currently learning Spanish. In his spare time he likes football, Hot Yoga, wildlife, travelling/safaris and the Arts/Media.

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Rob Ashcroft, Head of Learning Strategy & Development, Santander

Tech innovations & trends panel & HR Hero


Passionate about People Development, Rob is the Head of Learning Strategy and Development for Santander UK. With over 15 years of experience across Learning and Financial Services, Rob and his team at are on a journey of transformation, focused on updating the Learning Experience to keep pace with colleague expectations shaped by digital giants such as Netflix, Amazon, Google, Facebook Paypal, Uber ... the list goes on.

Rob’s passion for innovation and evolution saw him take up the position of Head of Learning in late 2015 when he choose to “start again” with the Learning setup. Hitting the reset button allowed the team to take stock and implement significant changes in areas such as the team structure, working practices, learning systems, content offering and overall learning experience.

It’s not often you get the opportunity to start again with pretty much everything and it certainly hasn’t been easy but now in year three of the learning transformation, Rob and the team are looking to the future and considering what the next evolutionary step in L&D should be.

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Nebel Crowhurst, Director of HR Communications, Roche

The Future of HR panel & HR Hero


Nebel has a progressive approach to HR with an emphasis on delivering real business value and impact. Having spent a career supporting the people agenda within various organisations including River Island and Virgin, Nebel has experienced extensive business change and growth. Using modern HR practices to implement fresh ideas on; performance management, Agile working, using evidence based practice and Tech led approaches has resulted achieving multiple HR industry awards. With real success in helping business leaders to understand the benefits of moving away from traditional HR tactics and truly leveraging the most valuable asset of any organisation … it’s talented people.

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Alistair Gill, Head of People, giffgaff

The Future of HR panel


Alastair is currently the Head of People for the multi-award-winning telco, giffgaff, where for the last 4 years he has led on all things internal Culture, Engagement and People experience. His passion is for people, creating connections and building better places of work. He scrapes into the category of millennial (but only just apparently) with a degree in Visual Communication, a Masters in HR, and also a certified Strengths Coach. This, layered with years of experience in local government, at the coalface in HR, makes for a rather Interesting but concoction.

His achievements include being shortlisted for HRD of the year 2019, HR Mags who is who of HR Influence and HR Most Influential: Making Waves 2019.

He is a proud Brummy and even prouder dad to two pint-sized dictators, Matilda and Rowen.

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Andrea Pattico, Chief People Officer, MVF

HR Hero


Ange has led the People function at MVF for the last 4 years and along with her fantastic team is responsible for co-creating and executing a People Strategy and Experience that makes MVF a great place to work. She has over 22 years’ experience working in senior, international People roles within film, BPO/ITO, online retail and online comparison sectors. She is a fellow of the CIPD (Chartered Institute of Personnel & Development) and an accredited coaching Practitioner with the European Mentoring and Coaching Council. Ange’s passion is people - she is dedicated to coaching and developing colleagues to support organisational growth and help people achieve their personal purpose.

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Duncan Swanson, HR Director, Yotel

HR Hero


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Andrew Marrins, Senior L&D Leader

HR Hero


Andrew’s career began with the Scottish Co-operative Group where he trained in Accountancy before seeking an opportunity with Boots in 2006 as a Regional Finance Manager. Whilst at Boots, Andrew embarked on a year-long Leadership Development Programmed which concluded in attending an aspirational week long residential programme at Kebele College Oxford , part of the Oxford Summer School. On return to Boots, Andrew decided to pursue a different career path and ventured into the world of Learning & Development , through exceptional internal support.

From there , Andrew has held various L&D roles across Boots, Specsavers, Boots Opticians and was Head Of Learning & Development for BrewDog from July 2017 to August 2019. The transition from Health care led businesses into the world of a disruptive FMCG/Hospitality focused business has not been easy but it’s certainly been the most rewarding and challenging.

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Brian Newman, SVP Human Resources, Live Nation

HR Hero


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Rosie Ranganathan, People Director, ECB

HR Hero


When Rosie joined the ECB in 2014, she found both a blank canvas and a senior management as determined as she was to create a great culture. In the years since, the ECB has been named as one of The Times’ Top 100 companies to work for with a strong set of people values. It has launched a development academy and an internal communications function, while Rosie has also worked to adapt the culture to support the ECB’s wider strategic framework.

Rosie is dedicated to developing people and has introduced a culture of personal improvement at the ECB. It now has an internal training centre, a high-performance initiative and RISE, a programme focused specifically on female talent. Rosie began her HR career working in music for EMI Records and BMG, where she was part of the team working on the merger with Sony Music. She moved into TV and worked at Channel 5 and Channel 4, where she ran the HR Operations team for almost six years.

Among the large-scale organisational design projects she worked on was the purchase of EMAP TV, the outsourcing of Transmission and the lucrative acquisition of the UKTV advertising sales team. She is also a qualified Executive Coach and Mentor and is currently studying for a Masters in Leadership (specialising in Sports Leadership and High Performance). She has also just been appointed to be on the board for UK Coaching.

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