Founded in 1994, now with over 200 member organisations

CRF has become a highly influential focal point and network for over 200 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

Senior Instructional Designer

Ali is responsible for designing, developing and managing the content development of interactive instructor-led courses, and technology solutions in CRF’s digital transformation process. Ali has his master’s degree in Educational Technology field, and also has over 8 years of professional experience in the field.

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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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Molly Bolding

Research Executive

Molly is responsible for adapting and developing new resources for CRF’s research team, for use in short and long-form content across the website and member communications. Prior to joining CRF, Molly spent three years as a freelance education journalist, inclusion consultant and online educator.

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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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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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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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Rachel Friend

Senior Project and Events Executive

Rachel has over five years’ experience within the events industry. At CRF, Rachel manages the core programme of member events across Europe. Alongside this, Rachel coordinates CRF Learning’s open and bespoke development programmes.

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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

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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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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Daianna Moreno

Marketing Executive

Daianna is responsible for providing marketing support, ensuring CRF communications, the website, learning platform and events deliver CRF members with a great user experience, optimising the value of their membership. Prior to joining CRF, Daianna worked as an intern political campaign manager in Augsburg, Germany.

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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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Will Pemberton

Senior Projects and Events Executive

Will has over three years’ experience in serving membership communities through events and other peer-2-peer sharing opportunities. At CRF, he organises the yearly events calendar, as well as all CRF Learning programmes.

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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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Carmen von Rohr

Research Manager

Carmen is responsible for creating, expanding, and diversifying CRF’s digital learning and development content. Prior to joining CRF, Carmen spent several years designing digital learning solutions for higher education at Cengage Learning.

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Katie Shortall

Events Executive

As an Events Executive, Katie is responsible for providing administrative, event and member support, to maximise the value of CRF memberships. Prior to joining CRF, Katie held a number of event organisation and administrative roles, including a placement in New York and various positions in Dublin.

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Clive Steer

Business Development Manager

Clive has over 25 years’ experience in business development, initially for large software companies such as Autonomy and for the last 12 years has specialised in Online Learning primarily with Ashridge Business School. Clive has worked with organisations globally and across all sectors to support them with implementing online learning, his role at CRF is to help expand the continued growth of the CRF network with a focus towards the CRF Learning On Demand online programme suite. 

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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 £25,000 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, Vice President Human Resources Europe, Ricoh Europe

Ricoh Europe

contact us to discuss membership options for your organisation

Melissa Bates

Commercial Director

+44 (0) 20 3457 2640

+44 (0) 7742 545 138

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  • Online research, resources and webinars
  • Insights and discussion at events
  • Peer exchange through digital communities
  • Advisory support from experts and practitioners
  • Capability development through programmes and courses

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  • Online research, supporting resources and webinars
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  • Peer exchange through digital communities
  • Advisory support from experts and practitioners
  • Capability development through programmes and courses