People Development Summit 2020
11 - 13 March, Dolce La Hulpe, Brussels

Topics for 2020 sessions

We are in the process of sourcing speakers for our 2020 programme. The topics and session titles will be:

Digital Transformation – Staying modern in the digital age

Employee wellbeing – Developing a culture of resilience, health and well-being

Apprenticeship Levy – Getting ahead of the game with the Apprenticeship Levy

Multi-generational Workforce – Motivating Millennials

Diversity, inclusion and culture – Implementing inclusive initiatives

Learning technology – Personalised delivery and collaborative learning

Disruptive Leadership – Leading against the grain

Challenges of the future of work – 4th Industrial Revolution & sustainable innovation

If you are interested in a speaking opportunity, please contact

2019 speaker programme

2020 speakers coming soon!

Hamish Wilson

Director and Co-founder
Leadership on the front line
  • Biography

    Hamish is the Director and Co-founder of Wasafiri ( – an organisation tackling Africa’s toughest problems; from conflict to climate change.

    Hamish has served for over a decade on the front lines of war and disaster. His humanitarian work has seen him tackle natural disasters such as South-Asia’s Tsunami, Myanmar’s cyclone and Pakistan’s earthquake. His work with communities affected by conflict has taken him to Somalia, South Sudan, Afghanistan and beyond. These efforts have earned accolades including the Queen’s Medal for his work in Sierra Leone’s Ebola Crisis and the NATO Meritorious Medal for his work in Afghanistan.

    Having emerged (mostly) unscathed, Hamish brings eye-opening insights into what it takes to lead in some of the most extreme environments on the planet. He will take us on a wild, inspiring (and sometimes harrowing) journey to confront the toughest questions facing all of us who lead.

    He is passionate about helping leaders facing tough challenges make better decisions – whether they be military commanders and corporate executives, or local aid-workers and young entrepreneurs. His recently launched blog captures compelling (and slightly unconventional) insights from leaders tackling front line issues around the world.

  • Presentation Outline

    Eye-opening insights into what it takes to lead on the front lines of war and disaster… Having emerged (mostly) unscathed from working in some of the remotest corners of the planet, Hamish takes us on a wild ride through Afghanistan, Myanmar, Darfur and beyond to confront the toughest questions facing all of us who lead.

Matthew Pitt

Head of People Development
Veolia Group
Moving your L&D function from compliance delivery to strategic enabler - A case study!
  • Biography

    I lead a talented team of professionals with a shared vision to develop our 14,000 staff for business success. Veolia is the UK’s number one waste, water and energy services company and the People Development Team play an important role in ensuring continued success.

    Having previously worked within multiple sectors including Financial Services, Manufacturing and Housing; I have been at Veolia for four years and am committed to the work of the Company in the environment and the circular economy.
    I am passionate about growing our talent through effective and innovative development programmes, using a blend of resources that will have maximum impact for our learners and the business.
    I sit on the Board of the Rural Enterprise Academy – a pioneering educational establishment, which aims to educate and inspire young people, training them for careers in the land-based, rural and environmental sustainability sectors.

    I am a Fellow of the CIPD, qualified coach and mentor and you can find me on Twitter @MattPittHr

  • Presentation Outline

    My session would focus on the following themes:
    • How we have partnered with the business, starting with a problem, not a solution.
    • How we have addressed the skills gap in the UK, touching on the Energy and Utility sector (and the effect of not doing something!)
    • The skills required within a modern day L+D function
    • How we have leveraged apprenticeships for our advantage
    • How People and Data Analytics have been incorporated within the team.
    • How we have addressed our digital learning output.
    • How we have partnered with other HR functions, home and abroad to enhance our offer.

Hannelie Meintjies

Director, Learning and Development, EMEA
Why virtualising learning is the obvious thing to do
  • Biography

    Hailing from South Africa, Hannelie Meintjies studied Languages and Education at the University of Johannesburg, where a passion for Linguistics culminated in an MA in Applied Linguistics. Her early career included secondary and tertiary education at a variety of schools and colleges, until a move to Scotland in 2001 coincided with a career move into the private sector, and specifically into the world of Business Process Outsourcing.

    Having spent the last 10 years at Sykes Global Services, Hannelie looks after a passionate and talented team of L&D professionals responsible for the development of SYKES leaders across the EMEA region – including bread and butter services such as performance management, core leadership development and succession programmes; and high profile projects such as the deployment of a Culture initiative across EMEA, and the establishment of an in-house e-design function.

  • Presentation Outline

    In a world of ever evolving technology, many Learning and Development professionals (and often even learners themselves) maintain that ‘old school’ is probably still best: the immediacy of learners and facilitator interacting in an airy training space, the opportunity to learn from other learners (training has always been a social event) and the fun of doing learning activities (those much-loved role plays!).

    In this discussion I’ll share examples of specific learning activities that, in my experience, not only benefitted from being virtualised, but offered exceptional learner engagement, and outstanding learning effectiveness as a result. I’ll reference a couple of case studies, both current live projects run by L&D at Sykes Global Services in EMEA:
    • A culture-change project
    • A succession programme

    Amongst others, I’ll specifically discuss the value in virtualising:
    • Mentoring
    • Learning through peer interaction and networking
    • Learning through informal channels, including virtual spaces and enterprise social media channels
    • Learning inclusivity, flexibility and transcendence of hierarchy
    • Overcoming barriers of language and culture

    Of course, it is not so much WHAT we do but HOW we do it, so I’ll provide some suggestions, and proposals for measures of success, that I have personally found of use.

    This presentation will benefit most L&D professionals, but specifically those in larger organisations grappling with L&D resourcing and provisioning across multiple geographies.

Adam Hodgkinson

Head of Talent Development
HRA Pharma
Building a blueprint for today and tomorrow
  • Biography

    With now an extensive background in Training, Performance Management, People Development and Talent Management, Adam has taken senior People Development roles in many different organisations.

    Starting his Career at Santander in the financial sector (PLC) Adam has experience in Facilitation, Programme Management, Project Management and Talent Management where has worked on projects that have been successful and continue to be successful many years after conception.

    Not content to be a ‘one company guy’, Adam moved not only to another company but into an entirely different sector to the BBC (Public Sector) where he faced a completely different set of challenges and new initiatives to conceive and implement, now having the taste for change… his third move was to HRA Pharma (Private Sector).

    Now based in Paris. Adam at HRA has the opportunity to put all he has learned over the years into practice as he pulls together People Development, Performance Management, Talent Development and Communication into one seamless approach and strategy that he aims to implement and embed over the next four years.

  • Presentation Outline

    In a world of constant change the notion of being at the ‘cutting edge’ of our profession can be a scary and daunting task… It’s a time-consuming business and something that cannot be rushed… however, this is happening in a world where we are asked to deliver more, and faster, than ever before. Join Adam as he shares with you his blueprint for an L,D & T function that can stay solid and structured as we move into a new world of Learning and Development

    Using a ‘non-learning’ approach, he will share with the success of his journey, the challenges he faced and the way he is approaching learning over the next 4 years. In this presentation he will not just show you the blueprint he is using, but also show you how is implementing it in his newest role of Head of Talent Management and Communication at HRA Pharma.

Jonathan Fletcher

Global Head of Learning & Development
Stop worrying about the future and consider the now
  • Biography

    An influential, experienced and creative individual, Jonathan has over 15 years’ experience managing and operating Learning, Development and Talent Management teams and operations in fast pace global environments and industries.

    Accomplished and highly experienced across all areas of the Learning and Talent lifecycles including design, development, delivery and analysis (ROI) of effective & engaging learning solutions, Jon utilising a range of digital and face to face tools to enable staff to improve performance and become highly effective in their roles.

    He is currently Global Head of Technicolor Academy which is an internal L&D department supporting over 5000 staff, in 4 VFX companies, across seven global locations. Within this role, Jon and his team have started a unique project to strategically work with Education partners, aligning their courses to the industry trends and requirements. They have recently expanded our Creative Academies into five global locations, which offer fully paid, intensive training programmes aimed at recently graduated artists, lasting up to 10 weeks, with a core objective to deliver the highly skilled artists into the business units. In 2018 the Technicolor Academy Team trained over 600 artists through these programmes. Another area Jon looks after is the internal learning solutions for existing artists, supporting their development of technical and softs skills through a range of learning interventions. In August 2018, a new, innovative LMS system deployed, with the core focus of supporting, developing and managing the talent pipeline of the 4 VFX studios.

  • Presentation Outline

    The infrastructure in and around Learning and Development is evolving, and at a fast pace. Cloud based LMS & CMS, Next Gen learning systems, Macro Learning solutions, and so on.. however, are the businesses equipped to deal with this pace of development and are we even asking if we need this level of development? – all this and more will be discussed.

Professor Geoff Bird

Professor of Cognitive Neuroscience
University of Oxford
The neuroscience of stress and sleep deprivation
  • Biography

    Professor Geoff Bird is a Professor of Cognitive Neuroscience at the University of Oxford and a Senior Lecturer at the Institute of Psychiatry, King’s College London. He also holds a Research Fellowship at the Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience at University College London. Geoff has focused throughout his career on understanding the neuroscience of performance, both of individuals and of groups.

    He is an expert on social interaction, and his research covers how the brain enables us to learn from others, feel empathy for them, and influence how they feel and think. A key focus of his present research is how people can make better decisions, both individually and in groups. As a result of this interest Geoff has completed a WABC-accredited Business Coaching course focusing on the neuroscience of leadership and performance.

    Professor Bird served as a Science Policy Advisor to the UK Government throughout 2008 and is one of the Principals of the Centre for Educational Neuroscience – an organisation dedicated to enriching education through the application of findings from neuroscience. He contributes his expertise in the neuroscience of learning and reward to the centre in order to increase the efficiency with which people learn, and how best to motivate that learning. He is frequently consulted by blue chip companies and the media to explain the relevance of neuroscience to society and business.
    He has recently been voted one of the UK’s ‘Most Influential HR Thinkers’ by HR magazine.

  • Presentation Outline

    Geoff is a cognitive neuroscientist, which means he is both a psychologist and a neuroscientist. As an active research scientist, he is extremely interested in the factors that allow us to perform to the best of our abilities at work, and conversely those factors that result in reduced performance and wellbeing. As a result of his research, he has developed a keen interest in the neuroscience of stress and sleep deprivation.

    Although most of us know stress is a bad thing, and would like to reduce levels of stress in our organisations, it is surprising how few people actually know what stress is. Geoff will provide a scientific definition of stress, and highlight how this definition allows us to understand the implications of stress outside the workplace for workplace performance, and the difference between pressure and stress. It will also become clear why the amount of work someone has to do has little relationship with the amount of stress they feel. This is important, as most leaders assume that workload is the thing that they should modulate in order to reduce stress in their organisation.

    The session will move on to look at the relationship between stress and sleep deprivation, and how and why both factors severely impact our performance and behaviour at work. While designed to highlight the seriousness of stress and sleep deprivation, the session will provide a positive message by highlighting ways in which stress can be reduced in the workplace, and better sleep achieved despite the pressures of modern life and work patterns.

Hannah O'Sullivan

Head of Learning and Development
Maximising people potential
  • Biographies

    Hannah O’Sullivan, Head of Learning and Development, VolkerWessels UK
    With over 20 years of training, coaching, mentoring and management experience gained within a wide range of industries from fast moving telecoms, through to manufacturing and retail, and more recently the construction industry; Hannah has a balanced understanding of the desire to develop individuals’ potential and that of the business’ strategic requirements and ROI. Her passion for people is coupled with strong commercial acumen and a determination to ensure L&D is not seen as “the fluffy stuff”!

  • Presentation Outline

    The simple question is – why maximise people’s potential?
    Looking at every level in business from high flyers to perceived “steady Eddies”; through to managing and supporting current underachievers; to what extent is maximising people potential a key driver for business success?

    From a more strategic and business view - do we understand what the impact would be of not doing this?

    In the current employment market, all sectors want to attract and retain the best people. Matching the generational expectations for their workplace experience, which include both personal and professional development and life/work balance, is a challenge for all.

    What does the future hold in terms of maximising people potential?

    As a nation, productivity is one of the lowest – and that coupled with a backdrop of desired continuous improvement and innovation, at every level from the CEO to the shop floor, puts a real spotlight on driving people performance.

    What part does employee engagement have on maximising people potential?

    Is making people feel good about themselves or the business actually helping the bottom line?

    How can we maximise people’s potential?

    Join Hannah O’Sullivan, Head of Learning and Development, VolkerWessels UK, to discuss the issues facing us all, and share your views and thoughts.

Robert Ashcroft

Head of Learning Strategy and Development
Santander Group
Disrupt L&D – Looking to the future and rethinking learning and leadership development …
  • Biographies

    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.

  • Presentation Outline

    Join me for a focused workshop where we will all use our insight, views and research to collectively reshape and reinvent our future. We may be bold, we could be cautious or we may even just walk away content that we are doing everything imaginable, but can you afford to miss such an opportunity?
    We have all heard how digitalisation and technology are reshaping the world we live in. You will also likely have a view on what we should be doing in Learning and Development to reinvent ourselves ... but the question is ... are we doing enough?

    With the rate of change that surrounds us, coupled with the dramatic shifts if consumerism and people’s expectations, the products and services we produce in Learning can often fall a little behind the times.
    By using Design Thinking techniques we will rapidly ideate, refine and prototype our possible future. We will take the very best that we have from the wealth of personal insight in the room, combined with
    our own perceptions and expectations of disrupters such as Facebook, Netflix, Amazon, Google and Airbnb.

    What other opportunity do you get to collaborate and reinvent our future with like-minded professionals from across multiple sectors, industries and geographies? Just imagine what we could create!

Speaker Programme

The People Development Summits programme consists of 6 Strategy Group sessions – case study led presentations followed by Q&A and 2 Action Learning workshops – key topic roundtable discussions.

If you have any recommendations for speakers or topics please email

Register your interest in the People Development Summit

11-13 March 2020, Dolce La Hulpe, Brussels.

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“Well organised; quality conversations; a great opportunity to meet and build relationships with likeminded suppliers and delegates. All in a convivial and relaxed atmosphere in a great location. Simply perfect!”

Rachel Brastock, Head of Talent Development & Engagement

“Thank you Summit Events for another fantastic session. The organisation is second to none. The value of these two days for networking, sharing best practice and meeting great people is such a great investment, its why we keep coming back. Meeting likeminded people who are all passionate about development is amazing and creates a great environment for really interesting conversations.”

Jenny Jones, Sales Director
Dove Nest Group