James Devine’s blog: Swmpus!

Guest Blog by HR Manager of the Year 2016, James Devine.

I opened up my timehop app this week, to learn that it was a year ago since I won the HR News HR Manager of the year award

How fast a year flies by. I remember travelling to the awards ceremony in Bridgend, Wales – at the time that the news of possible closures at Tata Steel was breaking.

Arriving in Bridgend, I was greeted by the ‘lovelylisabaker’ – that’s her private twitter handle, but actually a very accurate reflection of a hard working lady who seems to have about 50 full time jobs! Lisa set up the monthly HR news winners to not only promote the newest HR online journal (HRnews.co.uk), but more so to recognise the valuable role that HR professionals play – and perhaps never more so than at a time when the people of South Wales needed competent, but inspiring HR people.

Hearing from Mark Hendy talking about the new South Wales HR Forum was inspiring; and now with over 1400 twitter followers, and 470 members, it’s a growing network, alongside rapid growth in other emerging HR networks in the region.

I read all the nominations for the HR Manager of the year on the journey to Bridgend. I had picked out my winner (and actually had a great lunch chatting to him); so you can imagine my surprise at winning the award.

However, reflecting on my trip to Bridgend, whilst I left with a lovely trophy, I actually left with a new HR network that has remained strong over the past 12 months.

Thank you to sponsors Activ Absence and to Lisa Baker who works tirelessly to keep HR News at the forefront of up to date information, and a really useful resource.

Networks grow in all directions, and the ones that are sustained are the natural ones. It’s impossible not to like Lisa, or her husband Mark (who gave me a lift back to the station!) – thank you being so passionate about HR.

As they say in Wales, Swmpus. Awesome.


James Devine is the Executive Director of HR&OD at the Medway NHS Foundation Trust.  James is also a co-author on a pioneering study into ‘lookism’ in recruitment, which other studies are now building on.

Author: Editorial Team

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