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Best Practice Awards Judges 2021
The Judges for the Working Families Best Practice Awards 2021 are:
Deirdre is a Senior Lecturer in Organizational Psychology at Cranfield University with extensive experience in research, executive education and programme design. She was Director of the Executive MBA at Cranfield for three years, and more recently was Head of Department, People and Organizations at the University of Lincoln, before returning to Cranfield.
A Chartered psychologist, she is a member of the British Psychological Society’s Work-Life Balance Working Group, a voluntary group of academics and practitioners committed to promoting sustainable strategies for organizations to support the management of the work/non-work interface.
With research interests including remote and other forms of flexible working, work and family (especially in different cultures), and gendered careers, Deirdre frequently presents her research at academic and practitioner conferences within the UK and internationally. She publishes articles in journals of recognized international excellence, and has also written several book chapters on flexible working and work-life balance, women’s career choices and women-only leadership development. Prior to academia, Deirdre worked for 20 years in Learning and Development roles in a number of industry sectors.
Jennifer Thomas has risen quickly to the top as a dynamic communicator, having been talent-spotted for rapid promotion at every company she has worked for.
Jennifer’s former career as a championship 400m runner and hurdler for England was early evidence of her drive and determination. Most recently, Jennifer was transforming the profile and reputation of Direct Line Group, as Director of Internal Communications, Experience & Sustainability and previously as its Director of Financial Communications. Jennifer was part
of the Group’s Strategic Leadership Team, responsible for developing the Group’s internal communications strategy, including employee engagement as well as developing and executing a new corporate social responsibility strategy.
She is also a prominent diversity and inclusion specialist, advocating for diversity and inclusion pan-industry and has been instrumental in introducing and setting D&I strategies within various organisations.
Harvey began his career in the British Army as an officer in the Royal Irish Regiment serving in Northern Ireland, Bosnia, Kosovo and Sierra Leone. Since leaving at the end of 2000, he has spent the best part of the last 20 years working in the public and voluntary sectors. Specifically, this has been in the areas of homelessness, disability, care, grant giving and employability. Prior to taking up post as ILF Scotland’s Chief Operating Officer, the majority of roles he has held during this time have been leading large scale operations across the UK.
As Chief Operating Officer for ILF Scotland, Harvey not only deputises for the CEO, but is responsible for all operational delivery, IT, health and safety, information governance, facilities, human resources and organisational development.
Throughout that whole period (especially through the COVID pandemic), he has seen the overwhelmingly positive impact of life friendly working to the individual, organisation and wider society, when this practice is adopted. In his spare time when he is not occupied with his young family, Harvey is a keen cyclist, Trustee of the Queen Mary Roehampton Trust and volunteer of Poppyscotland.
Jane van Zyl became CEO of Working Families in September 2018. Jane has 11 years’ experience working in the third sector and has held senior leadership positions at a number of UK charities. She believes in the value of a fulfilling, balanced working life and its transformative power to create social connections, build self-esteem, and impact the wider community. She is a passionate advocate of equal opportunity for all.
Prior to joining Working Families, Jane served as Operations Director at Breast Cancer Haven. She has also served as Acting Chief Executive at SANDS and Head of Operations at Samaritans.
Jane holds a Bachelor of Social Science degree from the University of Cape Town in Industrial Sociology and Industrial Psychology.