With the increasing abundance of HR talent in the region, judging the CIPD North East of England HR&D Awards gets more and more difficult each year.

Each year, we assemble an impressive panel of experts, all of whom are highly respected HR&D professionals here in the North East to take on the challenge.

The Judges will be tasked with looking at the extent to which submissions meet the category criteria and for any compelling evidence that illustrates the power of the achievement. The panel also look for where submissions can show differentiation and add value to the broader field of HR&D.

Meet the judges

Lisa Davidson

Connect Logo

Lisa is HR Director at Connect Health, the largest specialty MSK Physiotherapy provider in the UK. As a Chartered Fellow of the CIPD and Change Management Practitioner, she brings with her a wealth of experience in organisational change and colleague engagement, which ensures that Connect continue to have a motivated team, with the right skills and behaviours to take them into their next period of substantial growth. Lisa has held a number of senior HR positions in the UK, Middle East and India, across a variety of sectors including Public, Private and the 3rd sector.

Daphne Doody-Green


Daphne is the CIPD Head of the North of England. She is responsible for driving the CIPD’s Strategy in region ensuring it reflects the diversity of businesses, organisations and members’ interests in the North.

Her role is focused on building reach, influence and impact across the region and involves working and partnering with key stakeholders, including CIPD Members, Employers, HR Leaders, Government, Academic centres and the broader business community to amplify CIPD’s voice and develop regional insight and understanding that will champion better work and working lives.

Over the last 11 years, Daphne has developed extensive experience in developing strategic relationships in HR both here in the UK and internationally. Her previous role focused on developing new markets for CIPD, leading market and business development for Europe, Middle East and Singapore.

Nicola Leyden

Muckle Logo

Nic has over 10 years HR experience and recently joined Muckle LLP in February 2018. She is responsible for leading a commercial HR function that helps to attract, engage and retain the best people. Prior to this she held the role of Head of People Success for Performance Horizon, a performance marketing company, where she set up the global HR function. Nic is passionate about employee engagement and has led teams to win a number of CIPD Awards, including HR team of the Year at NCFE in 2015 and HR&D Excellence in SME’s at Performance Horizon in 2017.

Lyndsey Mulley

Convergys Logo

Lyndsey is Convergys’ HR Director for the UK and Ireland and is responsible for the delivery of a commercial HR function at twelve contact centre sites employing over 7000 people. A Chartered Fellow member of the CIPD and former CIPD North East Committee member, Lyndsey has worked in HR roles in the North East for 20 years, covering several sectors including contact centre, banking, legal services and manufacturing. Lyndsey’s Convergys Newcastle team won the CIPD North East HR Team of the Year award in 2012.

Andy Preacher

Sunderland City Council Logo

Andy is Group Head of People and Culture for Aioi Nissay Dowa Insurance Europe, Toyota’s insurance partner across the EU and a market leader in telematics through its insurethebox brand. He leads a team with an emphasis on transformation, innovation in learning and in creating an engaged and connected community.

With over 15 years of experience in developing engaged and high-performing employees, Andy has worked across a broad range of sectors and companies including Santander, the BBC and LSL Property Services.

John Rawling

Sunderland Cisty Council Logo

John is Head of HR & OD at Sunderland City Council and has had a 30 year career in HR at the council. As a member of the council’s executive team he works with chief officers and elected members to meet all the workforce challenges facing a large, dynamic public authority. John has previously specialised in employee relations, pay and reward. John leads on workplace equality and diversity and is the council’s LGBT equality champion. John is also the HR Adviser to the Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Authority and to the Board of Beamish Museum.

Gemma Robinson

Balfour Beatty Logo

Gemma is HR Service Delivery Lead at Balfour Beatty, a leading international infrastructure group with over 30,000 employees. With more than 18 years’ HR experience working in a variety of HR roles, Gemma is responsible for all HR, L&D and Recruitment administration, HR advice and guidance across the company. Gemma has played a pivotal leadership role in the Company’s HR and Payroll Transformation programme which culminated in being awarded CIPD NE Team of the Year at the 2017 awards. Gemma’s vision is to care for Balfour Beatty’s employees, ensuring they feel included and have a sustainable future.