Hello PPMA members and friends

Leatham Green leads our excellent HR Rising Star and the new The One to Watch programmes. The finals were held recently in Leeds and Leatham tells us more about the event.

“We are now into our sixth year of PPMA’s award winning HR Rising Star initiative and 2108 has seen a major refresh with the introduction of a new sponsor, judging panel, event structure, location, and coaching team – so there is much to share with you!

While we have brought much change this year, the one thing that has remained constant is the inspiration which the event creates for everyone who gets involved. For me, this is such a great occasion to be part of – having the opportunity to connect with a community of talented young professionals is such a privilege watching every participant put their heart and soul into the experience. I am in no doubt that the future of HR and OD in public service is in fantastic hands and the professionals I have met deserve to have the spotlight illuminate their talents and passion for what they do and aspire to achieve.

There is something about HR Rising Stars that seems to attract snow as yet again the snow was falling when I arrived in to Leeds City – something we have become accustomed to as the snow has fallen at each event over the past 5 years! It was great for me to be back in Leeds – I attended University there in 1984 however recognised nothing of the City at all – but it was still as vibrant and welcoming as ever. I was delighted to be joined this year by the 2017 Peer into the Future winner, Sonia Grewal, Swindon Borough Council. It was fantastic to be able to co-host the event with Sonia – another first for 2018!

A huge thanks to Gemma Taskas, Deputy Chief Officer HR and her colleagues from Leeds City Council for supporting us so well. These events take so much organising and coordinating and the team made sure everything worked perfectly. We will be moving the event around the country each year, so if you would be wiling to host the event please do get in touch – alongside the hard work it is also great fun!

With the new location and venue came a new sponsor. For the past 5 years we have worked in partnership with Nick Heckscher and his colleagues at ManpowerGroup who will now be working with us on our Apprentice of the Year event. This year we have partnered with EY and one of their senior Directors Marcus Haddrell, joined us on the judging panel. The other judges for 2018 were Caroline Anderson, HR and OD Director, The Land Registry; Suzanne Hudson, Senior Workforce Advisor, LGA; and our Rising Star from 2016 Ashleigh Richards, Bristol City Council

To add to the mix, this year it was decided to have two spotlights to the event – our traditional HR Rising Star and a new feature called ‘The One to Watch’ – this was targeting HR professionals at the very start of their careers. The two groups of participants worked alongside each other on all of the activities with the exception of the ‘business case’ which was delivered by our Rising Stars only. This proved to be a great addition to the event and is something that we intend to continue with in future years.

Our official line up for 2018 was:

HR Rising Star
Dorothy Coleman: oneSource
Jessica Dolphin: Leeds City Council
Aruj Haider: Westminster City Council
Charlotte Hill: oneSource
Keeley Metcalfe: North Yorkshire County Council
Lisa Rathbone: Swindon Borough Council
Katie Rixon: Hertfordshire County Council
Loran Simpson – Powys County Council

The One to Watch
Oliver Fletcher, Somerset County Council
Ross Shawe, Swindon Borough Council
Sue Podmore, Leeds City Council
Alison Backhouse, Manchester City Council
Eric Stephenson, Bristol City Council
Imogen Comely, Bristol City Council
Jade Donnan Lee, Manchester City Council
Laura Guilliatt, Serco/ Lincolnshire County Council
Matt Burrows, Serco/ Lincolnshire County Council

The event opened with a morning of personal development and coaching followed by two days of activities testing our delegates skills in areas including personal resilience, spontaneity, operating under pressure, team work, communication, confidence and creativity. The performance of all delegates was outstanding and this made the judges task extremely difficult. The highlight was the slot where delegates shared their personal legacy statements which proved to be extremely powerful and moving. It highlighted that while we have a great deal of diversity in public service there are a number of common values that bind us together in wanting to make a difference to our local communities. We hope to share some of these stories in more detail over coming weeks.

After two tough, but rewarding days the judges made their deliberations and announced the following results:

HR Rising Star 2018
Lisa Rathbone, Swindon Borough Council
Runner- Up
Keeley Metcalfe, North Yorkshire County Council

The One to Watch 2018
Matt Burrows, Serco/ Lincolnshire County Council
Runner -Up
Oliver Fletcher, Somerset County Council
Highly Commended
Ross Shawe, Swindon Borough Council
Alison Backhouse, Manchester City Council

Caroline Anderson, one of our new judges for 2018 had this to say about her experience: “As a strong advocate of emerging talent, I was really pleased to be invited to participate in the judging/ coaching process. Being new to this event I wasn’t really sure what to expect but what a joy it turned out to be. Through a challenging and engaging programme of competition, assessment and development it took a group of mainly inexperienced HR practitioners (some at the very beginning of their careers) through a journey which saw them emerge as confident and competent professionals. They were able to hold the attention of an audience and their surroundings. It was both uplifting and validating of the profession/sector and left me feeling immensely proud and privileged to have been part of that journey.”

On behalf of our new sponsor EY, Marcus Haddrell reflects: “EY is a proud sponsor of PPMA and for me personally it was a great privilege to be part of the judging panel and witness the incredible talent on show and witness their remarkable journey of development over 2 days. I saw amazing passion for public service and innovative thinking by all participants and was left feeling we have a very bright future in public service with such talent in show. Rising Star winner Lisa Rathbone demonstrated amazing confidence, persuasive delivery and critical thinking throughout the event. Matt Burrows, our ‘One to Watch’ showed a depth of thought and willingness to learn that marks him out as an HR professional with great potential.”

We know that all of our 2018 stars have very bright futures ahead and we can’t wait to introduce our winners to you at our Annual Conference in April.

Thank you to everyone for making this year’s event so memorable and a huge success and if you have anyone you think deserves the opportunity to shine watch out for the launch of the 2019 event later this year.”


Leatham Green, PPMA HR Rising Star and The One To Watch Programme Lead and Founder, Mindful HR