• Mike Haffenden

    Mike Haffenden


    Mike has worked in Senior HR roles in the US and Europe with major international businesses including Avon, Rowntree, Unilever and Hewlett Packard. He founded CRF as a research consortium to investigate the principles and practices that make a difference in people management. He applied the same principles in forming PARC, a research group investigating good practice in the area of performance, reward and governance. He is also a founder of Strategic Dimensions, a leading HR recruitment business.

    Contact Mike at mike@crforum.co.uk

  • Richard Hargreaves

    Richard Hargreaves

    Commercial Director

    Richard is responsible for the growth of the network through the acquisitions of new organisations and the retention of existing members and partners. He also leads on the development of new services to deliver value to the HR community. Prior to joining CRF, Richard was the EMEA Sponsorship Director at The Economist Group managing the growth of the business in both events and research.

    Contact Richard at richard@crforum.co.uk

  • Gillian Pillans

    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.

    Contact Gillian at gillian@crforum.co.uk

  • Stuart Hetherington

    Stuart Hetherington

    Programme Director

    Stuart coordinates the production of CRF’s annual programme, international conference material and other informational publications. Formally Head of HR at National Power, Stuart’s career included responsibility for most aspects of HR both in the UK and overseas. He has been working at CRF for the past five years.

    Contact Stuart at stuart@crforum.co.uk

  • 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.

    Contact John at john@crforum.co.uk

  • Nick Holley

    Nick Holley

    Director of CRF Learning

    In his role as Director of CRF Learning, Nick has responsibility for building on CRF's unique position as one of the largest business-focused HR networks and 20+ years of practical research to provide unrivalled development 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.

    Contact Nick at nick@crforum.co.uk

  • Hugh Mitchell


    Hugh Mitchell is the former Chief Human Resources and Corporate Officer of Royal Dutch Shell. During a career spanning 37 years, Hugh’s portfolio included global responsibility for Human Resources, Brand and Communications, Real Estate, Health, Security and Shell Aircraft, as well as Regional Oversight for Africa. Hugh is currently Vice Chair of Edinburgh Business School. He is a visiting lecturer at London Business School and continues in a range of HR Advisory roles. Previously, he was Non Executive Director of Royal Sun Alliance Insurance (RSA) including Chair of the Remuneration Committee (2012-2018) and has served as a Board member for over 10 years at IMD Business School in Lausanne and The Centre for Advanced Human Resources at Cornell University (USA).

    Contact Hugh at eva@strategic-dimensions.co.uk

  • Steven Toft

    Steven Toft


    Steven Toft is a writer and business consultant. Before starting his own business he worked in the consulting practice of PricewaterhouseCoopers. His blog about employment and the labour market won the Editorial Intelligence Independent Blogger Award in 2013. He has also written for The Guardian, The New Statesman and Prospect, and featured on People Management’s list of the Top 20 social media influencers.

    Contact Steven at steven.toft@firebrand.uk.com

  • Sally Brand

    Sally Brand

    Business Development Manager - Europe

    Sally has over 10 years’ experience in business development and HR consultancy. She has worked for organisations including Barclays, MPS Group International and boutique HR consultancy Purple Cubed. Sally has worked with exec and HR teams across many sectors to support them in embedding fit for purpose HR strategies that support sustainable results and returns. Her role at CRF is to continue to expand the network in Europe.

    Contact Sally at sally@crforum.co.uk

  • Tristan Powell

    Business Development Manager

    Tristan is responsible for growing the CRF network and promoting CRF Learning Programmes; a suite of HR development programmes that deliver business impact. Prior to joining CRF, Tristan has worked in the HR industry sector for over 18 years for companies such as shl, XpertHR, CEB and PSI. He has a keen interest in HR research, and talent assessment and development.

    Contact Tristan at tristan@crforum.co.uk

  • Athena Kitching

    Athena Kitching

    Events Manager

    Athena leads the CRF member and events team through the effective coordination and delivery of CRF's core programme events. She also has oversight of the CRF Learning events programme (open and bespoke in-house programmes). After graduating with a BA (Hons) Events Management and prior to joining CRF, Athena spent eight years managing events in the UK, New York and Australia.

    Contact Athena at athena@crforum.co.uk

  • Rachel Flax

    Rachel Flax

    Senior Project & 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.

    Contact Rachel at rachel@crforum.co.uk

  • Carmen Von Rohr

    Carmen von Rohr

    Content & Digital 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.

    Contact Carmen at carmen@crforum.co.uk

  • Neil Ingoe

    Head of Marketing

    Neil joined CRF in 2019 to improve its digital marketing and content delivery capabilities. Prior to joining he toured the major names in British workplace education, including Pearson, City & Guilds and BPP.

    Contact Neil at neil@crforum.co.uk

  • Harriet Ojo

    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).

    Contact Harriet at harriet@crforum.co.uk

  • 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.

    Contact Mette at mette@crforum.co.uk

  • Melissa Bates

    Melissa Bates

    Membership Engagement Manager

    Melissa has worked within the HR advisory space since graduating from the University of Sheffield with a degree in French and Management. Her areas of focus in her previous role at Korn Ferry Hay Group were assessment, leadership development and reward. Melissa is responsible for helping members optimise the value of their CRF membership through events, research, networking and advisory services.

    Contact Melissa at melissa@crforum.co.uk

  • Rosanna Neary

    Rosanna Neary

    Membership Engagement Executive

    As Membership Engagement Executive, Rosanna assists in helping CRF members optimise the value of their membership through events, research, networking and advisory services. Prior to joining CRF, Rosanna held a number of client-facing administration roles.

    Contact Rosanna at rosanna@crforum.co.uk