CRF Learning On Demand brings together a world-class faculty comprising leading educators, HR practitioners, advisors, business leaders and researchers. Working with our in-house team of instructional designers, courses are designed using the principles of adult learning to ensure a rich and engaging learning experience.

Course Directors

Nick Holley

Director, CRF Learning
Nick Holley is Director of CRF Learning has responsibility to provide 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.

Nick Kemsley

Nick brings a wealth of experience in the HR arena. His career spans many sectors and combines 20 years’ corporate experience as a senior HR leader and in wider business roles, plus several years in organisational consulting and HR capability development and research. Nick works with c-suite teams and HR leadership teams around the world. He specialises in aligning organisation to strategy and increasing HR functional and individual effectiveness in the context of the new economic landscape. 

Gillian Pillans

Research Director, CRF
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.

John Whelan MBE

Director, CRF
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. He was awarded an MBE in 2019 for services to industry and equality. 

Phil Wills

Associate Director, PARC
Phil advises and assists PARC in the development of its programme of events. His previous corporate roles included Global Head of Reward for Reed Elsevier (RELX), ICI, and Diageo. Since 2010 he has established an independent consultancy to provide strategic reward support, focused on the delivery of business strategy and organisational performance. His other major focus is as coach to newly appointed (or aspiring) corporate HR Directors on all areas of reward strategy and delivery (including incentive plan design and corporate governance effectiveness).

Karen Clark

Director, PARC
Karen is a Director at PARC and leads on content creation, member and partner engagement. She is a contributor to PARC’s programme development and designs and chairs PARC’s Peer to Peer exchanges. She is a facilitator on the bi-annual PARC Masterclass which aligns with her interest in the development of capability in the areas of reward, performance and wellbeing. She is also instrumental in the design and delivery of PARC’s bespoke learning products. Additionally, Karen is a Director of Strategic Dimensions, a leading HR recruitment firm. Her first career was as a lawyer in the TMT sector. She is also an EMCC qualified coach.

Course Contributors

Peter Blausten

Peter Blausten is a senior advisor and has non-executive roles in the charity and government sectors. He was Group HR Director of FTSE30 and FTSE250 international companies, a partner in a US restructuring consultancy, and worked as an independent consultant with private equity and corporate clients. His sector experience includes consumer, aviation, engineering, financial services, infrastructure, healthcare, scientific services, and real estate. He was Civil Service Commissioner for the UK Government Cabinet Office.

Jennifer Duvalier


Jennifer joined ARM as Executive Vice President of People in 2013 and left in March 2017 following the £24bn acquisition of ARM by SoftBank. Prior to joining ARM, Jennifer was Group People & Culture Director for 6 years at UBM plc, the global events-led marketing and communications services business, and was previously Group Human Resources Director for an international media and marketing services group. Her earlier career was in management consultancy and financial services. Jennifer is now a Board advisor, mentor and Non Executive Director, with a passion for ensuring equality of opportunity, and supporting talented individuals to fulfil their potential.

Sarah Hamilton-Hanna

Sarah Hamilton-Hanna is passionate about ensuring individuals and organisations have the opportunity to develop to unleash their full potential. She is an advocate of inclusive work environments and a big supporter of diversity, especially women in the workplace. Sarah is currently the CHRO for TT Electronics. Prior to joining TT, Sarah spent 3.5 years at Tate and Lyle and 14 years at Associated British Foods, where she had a variety of HR Leadership roles. This included M&A work and leading business Transformation in divisions including business crisis and turnaround, as well as running the ABF Leadership Development programmes.

Wendy Hirsh

Wendy Hirsh is a researcher and consultant, specialising in the future-oriented aspects of people management. Wendy regularly contributes to CRF research and events. She is a Principal Associate of the Institute for Employment Studies and Visiting Professor at both Derby and Kingston Universities. Wendy works across private, public and third sectors with recent assignments in the police, ports and international development. She has been researching how workforce planning in companies is responding to the uncertainties and possible impacts of Brexit on business and the labour market.

Hugh Mitchell

Hugh Mitchell is the former Chief HR 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 RSA Insurance, 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).

Catherine Taylor

Catherine has worked within a range of multinational companies, including Unilever, RS Components, Mercedes-Benz and Marston’s Plc. Throughout her career, Catherine has gained a breadth of experience across factory, distribution, sales, retail, head office and corporate environments. At Marston’s Plc, a FTSE 250 listed company, Catherine was Group People Director, responsible for working with the Board and the HR team to maximise return on Marston’s people investment, for both the Company and their 14,000 employees based in a multi-site organisation of 6 manufacturing sites and 1600 pub outlets. Under her leadership Marston’s was named as the Best Macro Employer in the West Midlands under the National Apprenticeship Awards and the HR team as Best HR team in Hospitality. Catherine now leads the HR function at British Sugar.

Professor Patrick Wright

Chair, Professor, University of South Carolina
Professor Patrick Wright is Thomas C. Vandiver Bicentennial Chair in the Darla Moore School of Business at the University of South Carolina and Founder and Director of the Centre for Executive Succession. Previously he was at Cornell, Texas A&M, and Notre Dame. A prolific writer, Pat’s main areas of interest are strategic human resource management, the changing nature of the Chief HR Officer role and the challenges and best practices in CEO succession. He is Editor-in-Chief for the Journal of Management.

Professor George Yip

George Yip is Professor of Marketing and Strategy, and Associate Dean for Executive MBA at Imperial College Business School. Previous academic positions include Professor of Strategy and Co-Director of the Centre on China Innovation at China Europe International Business School, Dean of Rotterdam School of Management – Erasmus University, and Harvard, UCLA, Cambridge Judge and London Business School. He is also the former Lead Senior Fellow of the UK’s Advanced Institute of Management Research. George’s previous business positions include Vice President and Director of Research and Innovation at Capgemini Consulting, senior manager at Price Waterhouse (USA), manager at Unilever, and various board level positions.

Sign up to receive notifications of upcoming courses and new research

Thank you!