Debbie Carter

TJ Special Achievement Award 

Debbie Carter

Editor in Chief, TJ


Debbie Carter has been at the heart of the TJ Awards since their conception, guiding the event from its original stand-up conference format to the current black tie gala dinner attended by more than 600 L&D professionals. As the key lead on our editorial content Debbie Carter is the ideal Chair to organise and assess this years applications.

​Margaret Burnside

Best Coaching/Mentoring Programme​'s Category Champion       

Margaret Burnside
Director, CAKE People Development

Margaret, a fellow member of the ILM, is an experienced coach, trainer and facilitator; having worked in Learning and Development for over 25 years.
Her expertise lies in the area of leadership development, whether it is coaching a director to define their organisation's vision and strategy or designing and delivering a tailored management development programme.

Emotional intelligence is an area of particular interest, and Margaret is one of the few people in the UK certified to use the Mayer Salovey Caruso Emotional Test (MSCEIT).  She is also a member of the Engage for Success Guru Group and a volunteer Business Mentor with The Prince’s Trust as well as training new mentors.

Mararet's panellists include:

Miroslav Vala - Founder and Director, Better Sage Limited

Sarah Cook

Best Customer Experience Programme's Category Champion

Sarah Cook

Managing Director, The Stairway Consultancy Ltd

Sarah Cook has over 20 years’ consulting experience specialising in customer experience and leadership development. Sarah began her business career in Marketing with Unilever where she worked in European marketplaces. Having completed an MBA, Sarah moved into consultancy. 

As Managing Director of The Stairway Consultancy, Sarah has worked with a wide range of international clients to help them create a customer-focused culture and enhance business performance.

Sarah is the author of many books on customer experience including: ‘Leading the Customer Experience’, ‘Customer Care Excellence’ and ‘Complaint Management Excellence’.

Sarah is an accredited executive coach, Fellow of CIPD and a Chartered Marketeer. 



Hesketh Emden

Best Talent Development Programme​'s Category Champion                       

Hesketh Emden   

Director, ProInsight | Linkedin  

Hesketh Emden is an award-winning Talent Management (TM) professional and has headed and set up a broad range of public and private sector Learning and Development functions, from Commercial Union during one of Europe’s largest mergers, to the Metropolitan Police. He also lead TM across the NHS, after which as part of government health service reforms, he was brought in to help create the brand new NHS Property Services, a Limited Company owned by the Secretary of State into which 3200 staff TUPEd overnight. Hesketh is also a trustee of the SMMGP, a national charity, is a Chartered Fellow of the CIPD, and unusually is a Chartered Engineer and Chartered Physicist!​

Hesketh's panellists include:

Shaun Wilde - Chief Executive Officer, think learning

Hanno Ellensohn - Managing Director, K3 Performance Ltd

Andy Lancaster

L&D Professional of the Year​'s Category Champion

Andy Lancaster
Head of Learning and Development Content, Chartered FCIPD, FCMI, FLPI, M.Phil, Cert.Ed

As Head of Learning and Development Content at the Chartered Institute for Personnel and Development (CIPD), Andy leads the vision for learning and development for the Institute and the creation of innovative and leading-edge learning solutions to support the L&D profession worldwide. He regularly speak at conferences, write articles about L&D and is the joint-author of the "Webinars Pocketbook".

He has more than 25 years’ experience in learning and organisational development in commercial, technological and not-for-profit organisations and brings a skilled and creative mix to the design and delivery of strategic learning solutions. ​


Neville Pritchard

Best Leadership Development Programme​'s Category Champion

Neville Pritchard

Founder & Chair of HR in Flow , People in Flow. Executive Director of Neuro-Link Europe
Co-Author of ‘Go Beyond’ – Your Workplace = Your World (May 2018)


Neville has over 30 years in HR, L&D, OD, and Leadership Development from his corporate and consulting roles. He began corporate life with Legal & General, then Abbey National and Barclays. He, and the teams he has worked with, have won 23 industry awards. He now focuses on the impact of culture, leadership, management, and their development, on the working environment and performance.

A coach, mentor, consultant and speaker, he provides organisations support in all people related considerations including organisation health, operational and strategic HR or People Support and People Development. He has developed a range of frameworks that enable new thinking and potential impact from people support and development including leadership. 

Neville's panellists include:

Guy Bloom - Executive Coaching & Team effectivness Director, Living Brave Leadership

Claire Elwin - Executive Director Engagement and Transformation, Livability

David Hayden - L&D Content Team, CIPD

Tony Shaw

Best Public Service/ Not-for-Profit Programme's Category Champion

Tony Shaw

Director of Development,Dods Group

Tony has been Director of Development at Dods Training for the last 10 years.
He works with public and private sector organisations both in the UK and internationally to design and deliver a range of policy, communications and governance programmes.
Prior to joining Dods he was a Programme Director in the Government and Policy Group of the National School of Government.

Tony's Panellists include:

Sheree Dodd - 

Martin Baker - CEO, The Charity Learning Consortium

Henry Stewart

Best Engagement Programme's Category Champion

Henry Stewart
Founder, Happy

Henry Stewart is chief happiness officer of Happy, the learning provider he founded almost 30 years ago. His company was originally called Happy Computers and focused on making learning about IT an enjoyable experience.

In 2011 Henry was added to the Guru Radar section of the Thinkers 50 list of the most influential business thinkers in the world.  "He is one of the thinkers who we believe will shape the future of business", explained list compiler Stuart Crainer.

Henry's panellists include:

Sarah Metcalfe - Happy

Joe Tidman

Best Commercial Programme' Category Champion

Joe Tidman

Head of Learning Operations, GSK


Joe’s passion is in making learning easily accessible, simple and impactful on a global scale. Joe currently Leads L&D at Johnson Matthey.  His experience majors on leading strategic Learning and Development projects, including developing company-wide Leadership Development programmes, L&D standards, enterprise learning curricula and global on-boarding. He has nearly 20 years industry experience, and has previously designed and set up a Global Supply Chain Academy, ran international graduate programmes and led various other Talent, OD and HR activities.​

Joe's panellists include:

Sue Bradshaw - Training Consultant, Clovis Oncology

Gregor Thain - Global Director Learning, BAE Systems

Karen Velasco

L&D Team of the Year's Category Champion

Karen Velasco

Director, PeopleSolve Ltd 

Karen is a performance management consultant, trainer, facilitator and coach and has worked in learning, development and leadership roles for over 25 years.

Karen is a director of PeopleSolve Ltd and immediate past Chairman of the British Institute for Learning and Development. She spent nine years as a non-executive director at the University of Chichester and is now a trustee of its Student Union.  Karen was honoured with the Award for Outstanding Contribution to the field of Human Resource Development at the 2011 Asia HRD Congress and has been a judge for the TJ Awards for the last seven years.

Karen's panellists include:

Hayley Mogridge - Director, Hayley Mogridge Training Ltd

Adrian Snook - Director, Learning Accelerators Limited

Mark Gilroy - Managing Director, TMS Development International Ltd

Laura Overton

Best use of technology in learning's Category Champion          

Laura Overton 
Founder and CEO, Towards Maturity

Laura Overton is the founder and CEO of Towards Maturity – a not for profit benchmark practice providing independent research to help organisations deliver improved performance through learning innovation. Her work is based on 30 years of practical experience and is backed by her independent research with 5,600+ learning leaders and 35,000 workers.

Author of over 40 research papers, Laura is an Academic Fellow of the CIPD and a fellow of the Learning and Performance Institute. 
In February 2010, she was the first woman to be awarded the LPI’s prestigious Colin Corder Award for services to training and was the recipient of the inaugural elearning age Special Achievement award at the 2012 elearning awards. In 2017 she was voted number 3 in the global Top Ten most influential people in the corporate e-learning in the UK.

Laura's panellist includes:

David James 

Sarah Lindsell - PWC

Gerry Griffin - Founder, Skill Pill


Melanie Lepine

Best Training Partnership's Category Champion

Melanie Lepine  

Group Head of Learning, Development & Talent | Domestic & General

Having worked in the HR & L&D world for over 20 years, across the Retail, Finance & Travel sectors, Melanie has developed a real passion for employee experience, strategic people development and leading through change. She has worked across multiple matrixed blue chip organizations both globally and locally.  Now working for Domestic and General as Group Head of Learning, Development & Talent, she is bringing together many facets of her previous experience.

Melanie's panellists include:

Diane Seaborne

Kate Widgerey

Fay Gibbin

Best Apprenticeship Programme' Category Champion

Fay Gibbin 

Chief Executive Officer, Avail Learning Academy

Fay’s passion for quality, accessible training has driven her ambition to develop the UK’s workforce, through the delivery of apprenticeships and CPD, especially within childcare, care and clinical care.

While CEO of BB Training (formerly Busy Bees Training), it received an ‘Outstanding’ by Ofsted, expanded into health and social care and clinical care and was awarded the prestigious Royal Princess Training Award.

In 2019, Fay founded Avail Learning Academy which provides online courses for early years, health and social care, clinical care, education, residential childcare and management. 

Fay's panellists include:

Claire McCarthy - Founder & Director, Avail Learning Academy

Debbie Gardiner - Founder & Director, DSG L&M Consultancy Services


Nic Hammarling

Best Diversity & Inclusion Programme 

Nic Hammarling

Partner & Head of Diversity / BSc (Hons), DPhil, CPsychol

Nic works with Boards, Executive teams and senior teams across a wide range of sectors to bring about demonstrable and sustainable change in the areas of D&I. Nic's work across the diversity spectrum includes advising on diversity strategy, developing highly successful positive action programmes, conducting diversity audits, and developing and running diversity awareness and behaviour change workshops. She specialises in the areas of tackling unconscious bias and building genuinely inclusive working cultures.

Nic is passionate about building D&I into organisations in a way that is practical and woven throughout key decision making processes. In addition, Nic advises on harassment and bullying interventions, including training independent harassment investigators and assessing the impact of culture on international teams posted in local and host countries.