HR Managers’ Open Forum webinar

On Thursday, March 18th, we hosted the final of our HE Recruitment 2021 webinar series, HR Managers’ open Forum.

Watch the webinar now and hear from the following participants:


Director of HR Systems and Digital Transformation, University of Warwick

Before joining Warwick as Director of HR Systems and Digital Transformation, Karen founded her own consultancy which she ran on a global basis for over 15 years. Waponi HR delivers people and technology solutions to align businesses, people and digital strategies.

Karen has led HR, IT and L&D teams to deliver substantial change within a number of high profile organisations, across a diverse range of sectors. She brings experience of introducing a number of digital initiatives to increase efficiency.

Her fascination has always been in the change arena and understanding what the future of work will look, and most importantly, feel like from a people point of view.


Executive Director of HR and Organisational Development, Aston University

Richard Billingham discusses why a combination of home- and office-based work is the future for Aston University. He will share details of what they’re planning at Aston University, exploring what they’ll be taking from this time and implementing in the future, and discussing the people, space and technology required to create a successful hybrid working environment.

Richard Billingham is the Executive Director of HR and Organisational Development at Aston University. He has extensive experience working with leaders and organisations, across public and private sectors, both in the UK and internationally, to bring about change.

He has previously held a number of executive-level roles focusing on leading complex workforce and culture change. He joined Aston from Bristol City Council where he was Director of Human Resources and Change.

Richard is an advisor on the board of The Trusted Executive Foundation, governor of Aston University’s Engineering Academy and a pension trustee. He is recognised by friends and colleagues as an out and out, total enthusiast (and cricket fan)! He is passionate about working with organisations and people, to help them become the very best that they can be.


Director of Human Resources and Organisational Development, University of West London

I have been in this role since January 2019, having had a previous appointment here from March 2017 to January 2018 as interim Head of Human Resources. I have over 18 years’ experience in HR in Higher Education, I held substantive Assistant / Deputy Director roles at University College London and University of the Arts London from 2002 until 2012.

In autumn 2012 I took the bold step to give up a permanent role and set up as an interim / consultant and I was fortunate enough to work solidly in a range of interim and consultancy roles from 2012 until January 2019 when I re-entered the world of permanent employment! During this time I worked at Birbeck College, Kingston University, Higher Education Statistics Agency, UWL and Queen Mary University London. During these assignments, my main focus was on organisational change and design as well as being heavily involved in employee relations and “people” casework. These areas are my main professional passions. I have an ambition to ensure we in HR “put the people back into people management”.

Prior to entering Higher Education, I worked in HR for Hackney Borough Council, which was a fantastic learning curve for my burgeoning HR career. My working life started with the Metropolitan Police Service where I initially worked in general administration but then specialised in personnel and went onto become one of the first non-Chief Inspector Personnel Managers in an operational police station.

I am currently chair of the London (M25) Universities HR Group and I also sit on the UHR national executive committee.


Senior Adviser for Organisational Behaviour, CIPD

Jonny’s work centres on generating robust and relevant research insight and strengthening links between research and practice. He has been conducting applied research in the field of employment and people management for over 15 years, with previous roles at Westminster Business School, the Institute for Employment Studies and Roffey Park Institute.

His interests include job quality or ‘good work’, workplace conflict, and behavioural science insights into core HR areas such as recruitment, reward, performance management and ethical behaviour. He directs the CIPD’s annual Applied Research Conference, leads the CIPD’s work on evidence-based practice, and is a seasoned public speaker.