HPMA London Academy Virtual Conference

We are very excited to welcome you to the HPMA London Academy Virtual Conference. Below is the agenda, our amazing speaker Biogs and links you need to join the sessions.

10.30 – 11.15   Creating a resilient workforce: learning from Covid and sustaining longer term health and wellbeing

  •  Em Wilkinson Brice, Deputy Chief People Officer, NHS England and NHS Improvement (chair)
    • Dr Sonya Wallbank,,Head of Cultural Transformation at NHS England and NHS  Improvement
    • Dr Mary J Docherty, Consultant Liaison Psychiatrist in Long Term Conditions at South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust, King’s College Hospital, St Thomas’ Hospital
    • Dr Jane Keep, Head of Staff Experience at University College London Hospitals  NHS Foundation Trust
    • Janine La Rosa, Head of Equality and Inclusion, Workforce, London


11.45 – 12.30  Creating an open and compassionate culture: what have we learnt in the last 6 months and how do we take this forward?
• Paul Taylor-Pitt, Assistant Director of OD at NHS Employers
• Karen Dumain, Co-Lead Do OD, People Directorate, NHS England & NHS                                                                  Improvement

12.30 – 13.00   Coffee & Convo

13.00 – 14.00   Supporting and valuing our BAME workforce professionals
• Laurell Anne Hector, Global Learning & Development Specialist and MD at  McManus  (panel chair)
• Cheryl Samuels, Deputy Director of Workforce Transformation – London Region at NHS England and NHS Improvement
• Manjit Mahal, Deputy Chief People Officer at NHS Improvement/England London Workforce Cell
• Elizabeth Nyawade, Acting Chief People Officer, St George’s University Hospitals  NHS Foundation Trust

14.00 – 14.30     Coffee & Convo

14.30 – 15.10       From Striving to Thriving: Where do we go from here?

  • Prerana Issar, NHS Chief People Officer, NHS England & NHS Improvement

15.10 – 15.45      Coffee & Convo

15.45 – 16.30      Creating the conditions for a thriving workforce
• Craig de Sousa, HPMA Vice President, London Academy & Director of HR & Corporate Governance at The Tavistock & Portman NHS Foundation Trust
• Dr Navina Evans, chair of London People Board and Chief Executive of East London NHS Foundation Trust
• David Grantham, Chief People Officer, Royal Free London NHS Foundation Trust and HRD for the North Central London Integrated Care System

16.45 – 17.30      Celebrating and supporting workforce professionals to thrive
• Rachael Tyler, HPMA London Development Director (chair)
• Craig de Sousa, HPMA Vice President, London Academy & Director of HR & Corporate Governance at The Tavistock & Portman NHS Foundation Trust
• Laura Fitzsimons, Senior Workforce Partner at West London Mental Health NHS  Trust & Staff Recognition Lead at NHS England & Improvement
• Roujin Ghamsari, Deputy Director of HR and OD: Operations & Innovation, Chelsea and Westminster Hospital NHS Foundation Trust
• Simon Baxendale, HR Business Partner, Theatres & Anaesthetics University College London Hospital NHS Foundation Trust

Our speakers

Prerana Issar, Chief People Officer, NHS:

Prerana is the first NHS Chief People Officer. In joining the NHS, Prerana brings a wealth of expertise in leadership development and strategic talent management, as well as diversity and inclusion. Prior to joining the NHS Prerana was Director for Public-Private Partnerships at the United Nations and prior to that she was the Chief Human Resources Officer for the World Food Programme. During this time leading the development of the United Nation’s first strategic human capital approach, as well as the reform of many key policies. Before the United Nations, Prerana worked for over 15 years at Unilever Plc. Her last role in Unilever was Vice-President HR for the Global Foods business.


Craig de Sousa, HPMA VP – London, Director of Human Resources and Corporate Governance, The Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust 

Craig was appointed Vice President for the Health People Management Association, London Branch in February 2020. In his day job he is the Director of Human Resources and Corporate Governance at the Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation.


He brings with him a long track record of working closely with HPMA and almost two decades of working in various HR roles across the NHS in London.




Rachael Tyler, Development Director, HPMA London

Rachael is the Development Director of the HPMA London Academy. She has been in the role now for almost four years and in that time has worked closely with the Academy team and partner organisations to develop an exciting and holistic development programme for workforce professionals.
Under her leadership the Academy has gone from strength to strength and now has 53 members across London and the South East. Satisfaction rates for events is higher than ever before and the development programmes for aspirant Business Partners and Deputy Workforce Directors have been highly successful with the latter programme recently being nominated for a CIPD award.
Rachael is passionate about improving talent management processes for the workforce profession supporting member organisations to identify and develop our talented future workforce leaders. Rachael had worked in HR in the NHS since 1988 working as a Workforce Director for 13 years in Mental Health, Community and PCT organisations. Whilst working at Director of HR and Organisation Development at West London Mental Health Trust she
also took up the role of Vice President for the HPMA London Branch.

Professor Em Wilkinson-Brice, Deputy Chief People Officer, NHS England and NHS Improvement

Professor Em Wilkinson-Brice has just joined NHS England/ Improvement as Deputy Chief People Officer. She is working closely with Chief People Officer Prerana Issar by developing and implementing the final version of the NHS people plan.
Professor Em Wilkinson-Brice qualified as a nurse in 1992 in Exeter. She then worked in Oxford, specialising in cardiology and high dependency care, and a firm interest in facilities management later resulted in Em taking the post of Director of Nursing and facilities at Derby Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, before going back to Exeter in July 2010. During her time at the Royal Devon & Exeter, Em undertook numerous roles alongside the Chief Nurse role, including leading the Trust’s five year Transformation Programme to deliver a new model of care in partnership with local agencies.
In recognition of the close working partnership between the Trust and Plymouth University, Em was appointed Associate Professor Faculty of Health and Human Sciences. She was in the first cohort of the National NHS Leadership Academy Aspiring Chief Executive programme, completing in February 2017

Dr Sonya Wallbank,,Head of Cultural Transformation at NHS England and NHS Improvement

Dr Sonya Wallbank DClinPsy FCIPD is the Head of Culture transformation for the NHS in England and the Clinical Lead for the Covid’19 NHS staff wellbeing response. She is the co-chair of the ACP-UK Leadership Network and has a clinical speciality in staff wellbeing and restorative supervision. Sonya works for NHS England and Improvement and has enjoyed a career spanning the Department of Health & Social Care, Strategic Health authorities and working directly with organisations undertaking complex culture change and trying to improve the wellbeing of their people both here in the UK as well as Australia and the USA. She has authored a range of materials to enable organisations to embed their own approach to restorative supervision and continues to lecture on the mental health benefits for staff groups of focusing supervision on the individual person and their needs not just the work they are involved in.


Dr Mary J Docherty, Consultant Liaison Psychiatrist in Long Term Conditions at South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust, King’s College Hospital, St Thomas’ Hospital

Dr Jane Keep, MPhil, MSc, FCIPD, FCMI Head of Staff Experience at University College London Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

Currently Head of Staff Experience at University College London Hospital, and Visiting Associate Professor, Health Services Innovation Laboratory, London South Bank University.

Worked with the NHS as a manager for 41 years including as Head of Organisational Development in two large acute NHS Foundation Trusts (both with over 5,000 staff), Head of Staff Engagement, in addition to undertaking 20 years of freelance project/interim contracts in the NHS, working on Board and Leadership Development, Team coaching, Staff Engagement and Health, Wellbeing and Resilience. Worked as a national advisor (sub contractor) in the Department of Health, for the Kings Fund, and the NHS Confederation. Also worked with parliamentary select committees on national policy, as well as working with healthcare professionals in Hong Kong and Europe, and in Further Education, Local Government, and Not for Profit organisations.  PhD is on ‘Developing Self-Care at work’ and have also undertaken a research project with an NHS Maternity Unit on ‘how to develop and sustain self-care in a 24/7 service’.  Ran as a parliamentary candidate in the General Election in 2019.

Janine La Rosa, Head of Equality and Inclusion, Workforce, London


Karen Dumain – Co-lead Do OD, NHS England and Improvement karen.dumain@leadershipacademy.nhs.uk    Phone: +44 7900 606971 Twitter : @karendumain1

Karen is an experienced OD practitioner currently leading national projects to develop OD capability and change across the NHS. It’s a privilege and a joy to co-lead the national NHS Do OD network with Paul – the expert resource for OD in health and care.  A variety of private and public sector OD & HR strategic and operational roles have embedded her OD practice. Karen has a degree in Behavioural Sciences, MA in Leadership & Organisation of Public Services alongside proud to be a CIPD chartered fellow and NTL OD graduate.  The golden thread in her work is the passion to inspire and enable people, organisations and systems to be the best they can be.  A critical thinker and writer committed to evolve the theory and practice of OD to make a difference

Dr Paul Taylor Pitt – Co-Lead Do OD, NHS Employers

Paul.taylor-pitt@nhsemployers.org  Phone: 07880 554208,  Twitter @NHSE_PaulT

Leaving university in 1995 without a plan, Paul began his career as a care assistant in a residential home. Volunteering for a sexual health charity sparked a lifelong interested in helping people achieve and exceed their potential which has been a theme through a diverse range of roles in Local Government and the NHS over two decades. Paul has found his happy place co-leading Do OD with Karen. Paul’s enthusiasm and advocacy for the OD profession to which he belongs fuels a creative and meaningful approach to his work. Paul has a BSc (Hons) in Psychology, a MSc in HR Leadership and a Doctorate in OD Professional Practice. He is an Associate Member of CIPD, a member of BPS and a fellow of the RSA. Paul strives to think deeper.

Laurell Anne Hector

Laurell is an accomplished Organisational Development, Learning Specialist and Executive Coach with over 20 years’ experience. She has an entrepreneurial flair, and substantial success in supporting learning and development and organizational development strategies of private, public and third sector organisations in both domestic and international environments. Laurell applies clear direction and collaborates effectively with strategic stakeholders in the design and execution of customized programs, developing impactful training solutions aimed at effecting change. Laurell leverages innovative thinking in solving problems and managing conflict, developing collaboration at both team and organizational levels, and is committed to operational excellence. As a published author and a regularly pursued conference speaker and panel expert, Laurell believes that her role is to shape people for their future.


Cheryl Samuels, Deputy Director of Workforce Transformation – London Region at NHS England and NHS Improvement


Ms Manjit Mahal, FCIPD

Deputy Chief People Officer with 20 + years’ experience in Workforce and OD roles in the NHS across London.

Currently seconded to the London Region Workforce Cell at NHSE/I working with a team of workforce specialists from across London on regional workforce priorities during and post Covid.

I’ve worked in many teams however my perfect team would be where we role model and set the standard for others, exhibiting behaviours and values that inspire and motivate; being open, transparent, honest, kind and humble with each other; collaborating with stamina, pride, dignity, compassion and inclusivity.  Being fully accountable, acknowledging mistakes and learning from these, being active listeners with an ability to receive and understand feedback from colleagues as well as a willingness to see a different perspective.



Elizabeth Nyawade, Acting Chief People Officer, St George’s University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

Elizabeth has 20+ years of experience as an HR and OD professional working in stratgeic and operational roles across private, public and third sectors. Elizabethis currently in the the leadership role of Deputy Director of HR & OD at Medway NHS Foundation Trust. As a leader, Elizabeth is passionate about engendering an inclusive workplace environment to maximize productivity for the benefit of patients. A current area of focus for Elizabeth within her profession is exploring unconventional options for flexible working to increase retention. In her downtime, Elizabeth enjoys watching cooking shows, Saturday Kitchen being her favourite, and road running. Elizabeth is a Chartered Fellow of CIPD and hold an MA in HRM and MSc in Healthcare Leadership.




David Grantham, Chief People Officer – Royal Free London NHS Foundation Trust

David Grantham is Chief People Officer at the Royal Free London NHS Foundation Trust. His role is leadership on HR, OD and education for the Trust’s 10,000 staff across three main hospital sites and over 30 satellite sites. He previously spent 4 years at Kingston Hospital. He has recently become the workforce lead for North London Partners in health and care (the local integrated care system) alongside his CPO role. He has worked at national level too leading for NHS Employers on medical workforce issues including being chair of its medical workforce forum. He now chairs the employer’s team negotiating on the consultant contract (which is proving to be a lengthy endeavour!).  He is a board member of the Healthcare People Management Association’s (HPMA) London Academy, seeking to support professional development in HR and OD and of the London HR Directors’ network steering group. He is current President of the National Association of Medical Personnel Specialists (NAMPS). Before joining the NHS in 2004 David worked for the British Medical Association on policy matters and representation of doctors’ interests. He is a law and politics graduate.

Dr Navina Evans MBBS, DCH, MRCPsych

Chief Executive of East London NHS Foundation Trust

Navina has over twenty years’ clinical experience in psychiatry, medicine and paediatrics, and came to East London in 1997 as a Consultant Psychiatrist. In 2011 Navina took on the role of Deputy Chief Executive and Director of Operations at the East London NHS Foundation Trust (ELFT) and was appointed as Chief Executive in August 2016.

Prior to 2011, Navina worked as the Clinical Director for Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) at ELFT. She has been involved in Medical Education at Barts and The London Medical School as Honorary Senior Lecturer, Associate Dean, and provided pastoral care to medical students.

During her time with ELFT Navina has been involved in service development and redesign, encompassing change management at considerable scale, careful balancing of staff morale, maintaining quality and safety and keeping within financial limits. Navina has considerable experience of working across organisational boundaries, especially with Local Authorities, Voluntary Sector, Acute and Community Services and Primary Care. More recently she has taken an active role in the development of local Integrated Care Systems. She is a strong advocate of improving staff wellbeing, creating a culture for enjoying work and coproduction with patients.

Laura Fitzsimons, Senior Workforce Partner at West London Mental Health NHS Trust & Staff Recognition Lead at NHS England & Improvement

Laura has worked in the NHS now for 13 years working in a variety of HR & OD roles. Having joined the NHS straight from college and as a third generation NHS worker in the family, she describes herself as NHS ‘born & bred’!

Laura also works as part of West London NHS Trust where she leads a team of OD & Workforce colleagues to support Local & Specialist Services in Ealing, Hounslow and Hammersmith & Fulham with a mental health and community focus. In November 2018 Laura won Employee of the Month, having been nominated by the Staff Side Chair & Secretary for commitment to partnership working. The other part of Laura’s week is spent with NHS England & Improvement working as the Staff Recognition Lead for the London Region.

Laura has a passion for OD and has recently completed the CIPD Advanced Award in Organisation Design & Development – something she hopes to put to good use in the COVID recovery.

Simon Baxendale, HR Business Partner, Theatres & Anaesthetics University College London Hospital NHS Foundation Trust

Simon Baxendale joined the NHS in 2013, working for the Royal Marsden as an HR Administrator. From there, he joined NEL Commissioning Support Unit as an HR Coordinator, whilst completing his CIPD Level 7. Keen to return to an NHS Trust, he has worked at University College London Hospitals since 2016 starting first as an Employee Relations Advisor. He became an Associate HR Business Partner in 2019 and entered the second cohort of Aspirant HR Business Partners through the HPMA led programme which he successfully completed in January 2020. He is now an HR Business Partner for Theatres an Anaesthetics at UCLH and is soon to look after a second division in the UCLH Surgery and Cancer Board (Gastrointestinal Services).

Roujin Ghamsari Deputy Director of People and OD: Operations & Innovation, Chelsea and Westminster Hospital NHS Foundation Trust

Roujin Ghamsari started her journey as a HR professional in Dubai, after graduating in Psychology with Artificial Intelligence and working as a Psychologist & Relationship Expert for a few years.  The desire to combine her understanding of human psychology with the working environment, led her to pursue a career in HR.  She has worked in a variety of different industries including Banking, Retail and the NHS.   Roujin loves contributing to the agenda of making NHS the best place to work and looking after our NHS heroes.  Currently working for Chelsea & Westminster NHS FT as the Deputy Director of People & OD, as well as looking after the HR transactional teams, she leads the people innovation agenda for the Trust.

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