UHR 2019 > Programme > Plenary Session Synopses



Plenary Session Synopses 

Within the programme for UHR 2019 we have an exciting line up of plenary speakers offering stimulating discussion around issues affecting the culture and success of organisations.

Please note that exhibitors are unable to attend the plenary and workshop sessions, unless they have booked a non-member delegate ticket for the event.

Please see full session synopses in the table below. 

Plenary sessions

Speakers and Synopses

Plenary 1

Wednesday 22 May 2019, Deansgate Suite, 9:30 – 10:45

Powerhouse: regional transformation, universities and the challenges ahead?

Professor Dame Nancy Rothwell, President and Vice Chancellor, University of Manchester and Joanne Roney, Chief Executive, Manchester City Council

Facilitator: Debbie McVitty, Editor, Wonkhe


Our opening plenary is an opportunity to hear from local university and civic leaders on the transformational impact of universities on our local and regional economies. Professor Dame Nancy Rothwell, President and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Manchester, and Joanne Roney, Chief Executive of Manchester City Council, will share their reflections on the successes and challenges of effecting regional change and the development of the Northern Powerhouse, together with insights on their approaches to leadership of significant organisations.   Debbie McVitty, Editor of Wonkhe, will facilitate the session which will incorporate a Q&A session for delegates to pose questions to these inspirational and key figures in our host City.  

Plenary 2

Wednesday 22 May 2019, Deansgate Suite, 15:15 – 16:30

The Psychology of High Performing Cultures

Professor Damian Hughes, LiquidThinker


Damian Hughes’ plenary session will demystify the culture-building process by identifying five key aspects that generate cohesion and co-operation. He will explore how diverse groups can learn to operate and succeed with a clear set of behaviours and a greater sense of purpose. Drawing on interviews with organisations’ cultural architects, including those who lead without a formal leadership role or title, Damian will share examples from his own extensive experience, as a Professor of Organisational Psychology and Change, working with leading sports, business and higher education institutions. His lively and engaging session will embrace a range of leadership cultures and the continuing importance of authentic leadership.

Plenary 3

Thursday 23 May 2019, Deansgate Suite, 09:00 - 10:15

Challenging Times


Our series of mini-plenary sessions will provide updates on key sector and professional developments. 

Plenary 3.1

Thursday 23 May 2019, Deansgate Suite, 09:10 – 09:30

Brexit: ‘Never let a good crisis go to waste'

Vivienne Stern, Director, Universities UK International 

In this session we will hear the latest on Brexit and international issues from Vivienne Stern, Director of Universities UK International, who will bring us up to date insights on the impact of Brexit for Universities. In her mini-plenary Vivienne will pay particular attention to the implications for staff and HR teams, including the opportunities which may be available to us once final decisions are made.

Plenary 3.2

Thursday 23 May 2019, Deansgate Suite, 09:30 – 09:50

Driving Culture Change in the Research Environment through the Concordat

Sue Midha, Head of HR, Cardiff University and Dr Janet Metcalfe, Head, Vitae


The imminent publication of a revised Concordat to Support the Career Development of Researchers will incorporate new principles to support cultural change in the career development and talent management of 49,000 of researchers employed in UK universities. In this session, Dr Janet Metcalfe, Head of Vitae the non-profit programme working to improve the career support and opportunities for research staff, and Sue Midha, Director of Human Resources at Cardiff University, will outline the key elements of the new Concordat, and implications and opportunities for HR teams.

Plenary 3.3

Thursday 23 May 2019, Deansgate Suite, 09:50 – 10:10

Good Work: Opportunities for the HR Profession

Daphne Doody-Green, Head of CIPD Northern England 


The CIPD’s agenda on Good Work and Profession for the Future set outs the roadmap for an evolving profession that will support people professionals to make a greater impact, thrive through change and champion better work and working lives for their organisations and economies more broadly. Daphne Doody-Green, Head of CIPD Northern England, will introduce the Profession Map which enables HR teams and organisations to innovate. Her session will also draw out key aspects of the Changing World of Work.

Plenary 4

Thursday 23 May 2019, Deansgate Suite, 15:50 - 17:00

From Transaction to Transformation: HR as Culture Disruptors

Lucy Adams, CEO, Disruptive HR


As former HR Director at the BBC, Lucy Adams is no stranger to the opportunities and risks inherent in an organisation's culture. Through her extensive experience, subsequent role as consultant and thought leader, Lucy will challenge and inspire us in this session to be catalysts and leaders of cultural transformation, starting with HR.



Please note that these sessions are subject to last minute changes due to speaker alterations. 

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