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Directors’ Debate Room - Black Lives Matter: How can the HR Director support, and challenge, the Vice Chancellor and Executive team

Date: 22nd July 2020

Location: Online - 3-4.45pm

Price: Free

Bookings have now closed - please contact bookings@uhr.ac.uk for more information

Wednesday 22nd July

Timings: 3pm – 4.45pm

This session will be a closed online forum for HR Directors. The session will start with a panel of speakers discussing their thoughts on the change needed and sharing some of the actions their organisations have undertaken.  After a short Q&A delegates will move into break out rooms (by UHR region) to talk about how the challenges are being considered and addressed in their own institutions. The delegates will then come back to the main room to feed back on discussions.

You may also be interested in a reading list produced by UHR Communications Officer, Martin Higgs - the list can be found here.

The idea is that this will form the first of a series of debate rooms on this subject, with the next own building from where this one goes.

Speaker Biographies:

Rachel Adams

Rachel was appointed as HR Director at Keele University in 2018 having worked at the University since 2001. Prior to this she developed her career in the private sector, including at JCB and Fujitsu. A Race Equality Charter Bronze Award holder, Keele were commended in the UHR Awards 2019 for their work on advancing race equality through a comprehensive programme focussing on culture and communications in the institution and in the UHR Awards 2020 Keele were named "HR Team of the year".  Committed to making social progress and founded on a vision to make a positive difference to the communities it serves, Keele aims to build on the firm foundations that are now in place to become a truly anti-racist institution.

Kim Frost

Kim joined the University of London in 2003 and was Director of HR and for the last 18 months also University Secretary to the Board before retiring in July 2018.  Before joining the University, Kim worked in HR in the engineering sector and then for the Civil Service, where he specialised in areas including recruitment and appraisal policy for the Department for Work and Pensions.

He was Chair of the Universities Human Resources M25 group between 2010 and 2014 and became UHR National Chair for two years until 2016. Kim is now a Trustee of the Royal Agricultural University and of the Institute of Development Studies in Sussex, and runs his own HR consultancy as well as being a member of the PHES Board.

Sheila Gupta

Sheila Gupta, MBE, is the Vice-Principal for People, Culture and Inclusion at Queen Mary University of London, which aims to become the most inclusive university of its kind anywhere. In her new role, Sheila is responsible for leading the Inclusion agenda in relation to staff, students and alumni. Prior to joining Queen Mary, Sheila was Director of Human Resources at the University of Sussex where she was a member of the University Executive Group responsible for delivering an ambitious People Strategy. Previously, Sheila was  Director of Human Resources at the universities of Cambridge and Edinburgh. 

Sheila has been invited to speak at Conferences in the UK, Europe and the US on topics relating to good governance, talent management, embedding equality and diversity into leadership development programmes and advancing gender equality.

She is a former Chair of Universities HR and the Russell Group HR Directors Forum and served as an Independent Member of the Education Honours Committee for six years.

Marcelle Moncrieffe-Johnson

Marcelle is the Group Chief People Officer at London South Bank University Group and is a member of the Executive, having joined as Group Executive Director, People and OD in 2019. LSBU Group has a diverse student population with over 50% Black Asian and Minority Ethnic students. Marcelle has over 20 years HR experience gained in several sectors. Prior to joining LSBU Group Marcelle was interim Director of HR &OD at a Local Authority. Marcelle was previously Head of HR at the BBC overseeing cultural change, employee relations cases and HR support services for 20,000 staff and was seconded to deliver major change in BBC News and BBC Television. Marcelle is completing a part time doctorate exploring the impact of public sector workplace cultures on the career progression of Black employees.

Naina Patel

Naina is the Human Resources Director at the University of the Arts London. Naina has over 20 years of experience of working in the higher education sector, prior to which she worked in the NHS. She joined the University in January 2015 and is a member of the Executive Board.

She plays an active role in the sector and is currently a member of the Universities Human Resources executive committee, chairing the M25 group. In the autumn Naina will take on the position of Joint Vice Chair on the UHR Executive. Naina represents UHR on the UUK Tackling Racial Harassment Working Group.

Outline Programme:

Chair - Kim Frost


What are the challenges still facing UK Higher Education?

Where does more work need to be done?

How can privilege be used to address racism in absence of lived experience?

Does BAME Gaslight black students?

Are black staff gaslighted?

What is the challenge in making leadership more diverse?

Followed by question and answers session

Professor Randall Whittaker, PVC Leeds Arts University

Ben Tucker and Kerry Sheppard, Minerva



Experiences in institutions

What actions have some institutions been taking?

What has worked well and less well?

Where next?


Followed by question and answers session

Rachel Adams

Sheila Gupta

Marcelle Moncrieffe-Johnson

Naina Patel


Break out into regional rooms to discuss your challenges and ideas for addressing these

Facilitated by regional Chairs or nominees



Feedback on discussions

What are the main themes arising from the discussions?

Where next?









 This webinar is part of the SummerWise* season of learning resources, webinars and blogs from some of our favourite sector voices.


Bookings have now closed - please contact bookings@uhr.ac.uk for more information



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