Founded in 1994, now with over 240 member organisations

CRF has become a highly influential focal point and network for over 240 members representing a cross-section of private and public sector organisations.

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CRF‘s goal is to be valued for excellence, rigour, relationship building and providing an independent view which, together, lead to measurable improvement in members’ people and organisation performance.


Before establishing CRF, PARC and Strategic Dimensions, I had the privilege of working in Senior HR roles in the US and Europe with six major international businesses including Avon, Rowntree, Unilever and Hewlett Packard. Those who were successful had a clear and compelling strategy, fostered a high-performance team-based culture, set clear objectives, employed clever people, understood the importance of customers and learned from the evaluation of outcomes.

In CRF, PARC and SD we apply these principles in the delivery of our services. We’ve built an unrivalled international network and knowledge bank in the HR and People Management communities and provide the very best advice, resourcing, research, solutions and networking to our clients.

Mike Haffenden


A blend of ex-HR practitioners, advisors and business leaders combined with senior management experience in thought leadership and forums.

Ali Akkaya

Digital Operations Manager

Ali takes the lead role in developing and implementing CRF’s technology roadmap, driving efficiency and business growth. Ali has a strong background in digital operations and educational technology, with expertise in information technologies, informatics, instructional design and project management.

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Claire Bagshaw

Finance Assistant

As Finance Assistant Claire is responsible for accounts receivable for CRF and associated businesses PARC and SD. Claire has held senior administrative positions over the past 20 years, incorporating Office Management and VP Level Executive assistant

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James Bailey

Content and Marketing Executive

James is responsible for providing high-quality copy for CRF’s internal and external communications, as well as social media and website content. Having both agency and client-side experience, James comes from a Digital Marketing background within Financial Services and Private Equity in London and the North of England.

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Emily Berger

Admin Executive

As Admin Executive, Emily ensures that all resources are organised for each event. She provides delegates with the most up-to-date information regarding event attendance and works closely with the Events Team.

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Rob Briner

Prof. Rob Briner

Associate Research Director

Rob is Professor of Organizational Psychology at Queen Mary, University of London and Associate Research Director CRF. He is also currently a Visiting Professor of Evidence-Based HRM at Birkbeck (University of London) and Professor at Oslo Nye Høyskole. He was previously co-founder and Scientific Director of the Center for Evidence-Based Management and has held positions at the Institute for Employment Studies, London School of Economics, Kings’s College (University of London), Bath University and University of Edinburgh.

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Melissa Bull

Commercial Director

Melissa is responsible for the growth of CRF through the acquisition of new corporate members and sponsoring partners of the annual programme as well as the growth of CRF Learning. Melissa also helps members optimise the value of their CRF membership through events, research, networking, and advisory services. Melissa brings 10 years of experience within the HR Advisory space from her experience at Korn Ferry, Hay Group and CEB.

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Nikki Chiles

Project Manager

Nikki provides efficient, professional end-to-end support to the team, our clients and associates, contributing to the smooth running of bespoke and open programmes and events.  A BSc graduate from Bath University, Nikki joined SD in 2005 and has held various positions across CRF and associate businesses Strategic Dimensions and PARC. Prior to this Nikki worked at the HQ of a national retailer as PA to the Head of Brand Communications.

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Baris Demirer

Online Learning Team Leader

Baris is responsible for designing and developing interactive instructor-led courses, explainer videos, learning reinforcement tools, CRF’s digital transformation process and creating project plans. Working closely with subject matter experts and lead team members to design and produce top-quality learning journeys with his 8 years of experience.

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Jessica Finn

Membership Engagement Manager

Jessica collaborates with organisations to expend their networks and provides dedicated support to members, helping them maximise their membership benefits through research, networking opportunities and advisory services. Jessica brings more than 12 years’ of experience in business development and extensive experience in supporting international member networks.

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Jon Evans

Membership Engagement Manager

Jon brings over 30 years’ experience of working with clients in HR and L&D, and holds a degree in Leadership and Management from the Open University. He is passionate about providing outstanding service to our members, proactively seeking to connect them with vital and relevant information.

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Evie Graham

Commercial Executive

As Commercial Executive, Evie is responsible for member acquisition and ensures CRF’s offerings resonate with member needs. Drawing on a background in Psychology, Evie brings a blend of analytical thinking and an understanding of human behaviour to the commercial sphere. Supporting both the marketing and commercial teams, Evie facilitates the alignment of business objectives with market outreach.

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Nigel Hadleigh

Finance Director

Nigel is the Financial Controller for CRF and its associated businesses, PARC and SD. Nigel is responsible for all financial matters including accounts payable and receivable, payroll, taxation and monitoring business performance. He has extensive experience in accountancy, taxation and payroll.

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Richard Hargreaves

Managing Director

Richard is responsible for the sustainable growth of CRF through delivering world-class HR content, facilitating knowledge exchange between HR professionals, focussing on future ventures and developing a great team. Prior to this role Richard was Commercial Director across CRF and PARC and previously the EMEA Sponsorship Director at The Economist Group.

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Nick Holley

Director of CRF Learning

As Director of CRF Learning, Nick has responsibility to run and provide development programmes for HR teams and senior professionals. Prior to joining CRF, Nick spent 10 years at Henley Business School where he was a visiting professor and Director of the Centre for HR Excellence. He has developed and delivered HR capability programmes for organisations across the UK and Europe, and internationally.

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Farrah-Ashley James

Senior Commercial Executive

In the capacity of Senior Commercial Executive, Farrah plays a crucial role in supporting the commercial team with responsibilities spanning recruitment and new acquisition research. Her professional background includes two years in Executive Search with sister company, Strategic Dimensions. With a wealth of over 10 years of recruitment experience acquired from both in-house and agency environments, Farrah brings a robust skill set to our team.

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Ash Khan

Marketing Manager

Ash is responsible for producing and driving the marketing strategy for CRF and it’s sister organisation, the Performance and Reward Centre (PARC). Ash has over 12 years of cross-industry marketing experience ranging from small not-for-profit membership organisations to large FTSE organisations with success across events, publishing and higher education marketing.

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Athena Kitching

Operations Director

As Operations Director, Athena is responsible for optimising the customer experience through the effective alignment, planning and delivery of CRF’s key projects including the core programme, digital and physical events, and CRF Learning including On Demand. She brings 13 years of international project and event management experience to the role.

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Emma Lucas


Emma is a skilled coach, trainer, facilitator, and consultant. Emma has held senior leadership roles in HR, Learning, and Talent. She has managed global teams and has a passion for developing talent.

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Jo Nayler

Senior Research Executive

Jo is responsible for publishing original research as well as adapting and developing CRF content for use across the website and member communications. Prior to joining CRF, she worked for over five years as a researcher and writer, gaining experience of a range of different research methods and publishing content in a variety of formats. 

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Rosanna Neary

Membership Engagement Manager

As Membership Engagement Manager, Rosanna supports CRF members to optimise the value of their membership through events, research, networking and advisory services. Rosanna has been part of the CRF team for over 4 years and is passionate about connecting with members, sharing insights on industry trends and building capability.

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Harriet Ojo

Senior Design Executive

A First-Class Honours graduate in Events Management, Harriet leads the design and layout of all printed and soft copy materials, marketing collateral, membership programmes and reports. Her role also encompasses the same responsibilities for both CRF’s sister organisations, Strategic Dimensions (SD) and Performance and Reward Centre (PARC).

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Gillian Pillans

Research Director

Gillian has worked as a senior HR practitioner and OD specialist for several organisations including Swiss Re, Vodafone and BAA. Prior to her HR career, she was a management consultant with Deloitte Consulting and is also a qualified solicitor. As Research Director, Gillian has written various CRF reports on subjects including HR strategy, organisation design and development, leadership development, talent management, coaching and diversity.  

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Erika Rigley-Brown

Business Development Manager

Erika engages with organisations that are committed to developing and enhancing their HR function. As a Business Development Manager with a background in delivering effective corporate relationships, Erika has more than 12 years’ experience of building and supporting valued partnerships with global organisations.

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Mette Stern

Partnership Engagement Manager

Mette is responsible for helping partners optimise the value of their CRF partnership through events, research, networking and advisory services. After graduating with a BA (Hons) from Cambridge University, Mette spent over 10 years in Professional Services Marketing managing integrated campaigns and a variety of stakeholders, advising Partners on communicating with their target audience and growing their business.

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John Whelan


Formerly UK HR Director of BAE Systems, the FTSE 100 defence, security, and aerospace company, John’s experience and strengths lie in business and HR Transformation, Organisation Development and Employee Relations. Prior to joining BAE, he held a variety of HR roles in Engineering, Technology and Manufacturing businesses across the Telecommunications and semi-conductor industries including Matra-Marconi Space where he was HR Director for the UK and, latterly, Group HRD.  

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Throughout the year we make donations to Charities nominated by our team members. In the last 18 months CRF, PARC and SD have donated to the following Charities:


I continue to be impressed by the way Corporate Research Forum links the best of leading academic input to the real organisation and people issues faced by businesses in today’s uncertain environment. Added to that, they are always a pleasure to work with.

Amy C. Edmondson, Professor of Leadership and Management, Harvard Business School

Novartis logo

Harvard Business School

I thoroughly enjoyed the course and thought the content was just right. I particularly enjoyed the practical sessions where we could put some of the tools to use and I will be using these with my Business Partners.

Clare Booth, Head of Reward & People Services, Mercedes-Benz

Ricoh Europe logo


CRF offers us access to quality research, networking, resources and meetings that energise, engage and develop our diverse Human Resources community. Feedback from our HR team is always positive, stressing the pragmatic and freshness of the discussions and ideas.

Bev Cunningham, Senior Vice President HR Europe, Ricoh Europe

Ricoh Europe

contact us

Melissa Bull

Commercial Director

+44 (0) 20 3750 3501

+44 (0) 7742 545 138

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  • Online research, supporting resources and webinars
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  • Capability development through programmes and courses