WOF morning coffee talks

Screen Shot 2018-06-21 at 12.24.18.png

By Vicky Holdsworth, Founding Partner of WOF and Marketing Director at ProFinda.

Following a fantastic fourth WOF virtual meet-up last month, I grabbed a quick virtual coffee with one of our champions Jane Ginnever, Founding Director at Shift Consultancy to talk all things future of work and what she thinks of being part of WOF Network.  

Tell us a bit about yourself?

I began my career in customer service. In a way, I think that’s always driven my decisions, both in terms of my career path and also the choices I have made in different companies.

So my career started in customer service, and then I decided to join the Royal Air Force, much to many people’s surprise. After serving 7 years and getting loads of very useful leadership and management training and experience, I left and I ran a few organisations - mostly managing ’ activities like finance, facilities, HR, often all at the same time. I ended up with a lot of experience in how organisations worked and also how people worked within organisations.

I also did an MBA back in 2005- 2006 and as a result decided to specialise in HR. This is because I recognised that, in order for an organisation to achieve high performance working, we needed to organise work in a different way. A way that would allow people to achieve the performance levels we were aiming for. So really, from an early stage, my job has involved being a leader and working hard to enable my team achieve their potential. But I found that their potential wasn’t only limited or enable by what I did or they did, it was also affected by what our employer did Employers that didn’t help people reach their potential  found that  the organisation’s growth was restricted as well.

To try and change this, I moved into the world of HR and ended up doing three different HR leader roles. I was trying to have an impact from the inside, trying to align practices and processes within organisations to deliver high performance working - but I was hitting lots of barriers I ended up considering the whole employee lifecycle - from initial conversation, to recruitment, and then to on-boarding and eventually that person leaving and becoming an alumni. Effectively  everything that an organisation could do to improve relationships with employees past and present, and how to improve their workforce effectiveness. I had some success, but I still believed more was achievable for teams, employees and the organisations they work for.

Then, three years ago, having become  rather frustrated with the pace of change I was able to effect, I started a consultancy called Shift. We work with pioneering, forward-thinking companies that actively seek change. We have the specific aim of helping companies introduce more autonomy for employees. That’s really key, because autonomy is the way to motivate individuals and make work more than just a leadership-driven endeavour.

It has been great to be able to work with some really inspiring leaders that are out there wanting to do things in a very different way. They don’t want to follow the traditional models of command and control, with lots of power sitting within hierarchies, closed decision making and a very slow pace of change. They want to change it and to change it now.

Tell me about your general view of networks?

Networking has always been very important to me… throughout my career really. I had a good LinkedIn network before leaving employment and I do tend to keep in contact with people over a long period. I’ve moved quite a bit in my career so it’s great to be able to remain connected with people I’ve worked with.

Basically, regardless of whether it’s a formal or informal network, you can learn a lot from meeting other people and listening to them. I networked a lot in person when first setting up my business and I still do. People like to buy from other people (that they like) and it’s especially important in my line of work that people can get to know me and understand how I might be able to help.

What is the WOF network for you?

The WOF network has been great because it's full of like-minded people, all trying to change the world in their own way, and we bring a vast amount of experience to the table and can really help each other. It’s very supportive, collaborative, non-competitive. I’d always thought about business in a competitive way, very much about competitive advantage, but I have been amazed by how many people out there that genuinely want to help others. Particularly in preparing for the workforce of the future.

The WOF network is a place where you can go to learn, to meet other people who you can learn from, who you know will challenge you as well as support you. It’s a safe space where we can discuss our views, even those that differ. The conversations can be extremely thought-provoking and valuable. The regular meetings we have are a useful tool, the speakers are brilliant - they’re so open with sharing their knowledge.

How has WOF network impacted your business and how do you envisage the support of the network impacting that area?

It’s always nice to know that there are others out there with similar ideas. I really enjoy knowing that there are people globally that are wanting to move things forward, this isn’t just a London thing or a southwest England thing. It also represents what WOF network is all about.

Going forward, I would like to meet more people in the network in person, on a one to one level.

What impact do you expect it’ll have on other members?

I feel that a lot of people are waking up to these concepts now. It must be really reassuring to have something like WOF that tells them that they are not alone. To have opportunities to learn from their peers in different roles and industries. My focus is very much on the commercial side, for instance, and that experience is going to be very different from someone coming from the public sector. It’s great to hear about what’s going on in different sectors. To understand the broad range of organisations who are all experimenting with ways of working differently. That’s especially valuable to people who are coming to the WOF network for the very first time.

Want to join WOF network? Register your interested today.

WOF morning coffee talks


By Vicky Holdsworth, Founding Partner of WOF and Marketing Director at ProFinda.

We're now into the fourth in our series of WOF morning coffee talks, and what better way to end the week than with our latest interview. This morning we sat down with WOF founding influencer - Kelly Swingler to discuss all things future of work and what she expects from the workforce of the future network.


Screen Shot 2018-03-15 at 17.24.03.png


Tell us a bit about yourself?

I started in HR over 2 decades ago, in my first job for the John Lewis Partnership. Not long after I started, as an organisation we started to make changes to our teams and structures - which started the conversation about the workforce of the future and what that would look like for John Lewis.

At the time, I thought I wanted to stay with the John Lewis Partnership for life until I eventually retired. I was already planning on what I was going to do with my six months of paid leave after my 25 years of service, it was such an exciting role for me. After 8 years working for the John Lewis Partnership, the organisation started making changes to the level that I had just been promoted into. I was told that I was looking at another five to six years before my next promotion - I left John Lewis shortly after. For the next couple of years I worked for a variety of companies in roles across leadership, management and HR. In 2011, I took a position as the HR Director of Genesis Housing Group - an organisation that I felt very passionate about and where, I felt, I was able to bring about real change.

In 2013, after years of working in high-pressure roles within stressful environments I started to realise where I wanted the next steps of my career to take me, starting my own company - Chrysalis Consulting with the aim to drive real change within HR. I had never considered starting my own business before. Once I'd made the decision, I meant to do the sensible thing and save up enough money to cover a two year plan - three months later I'd handed in my noice and started Chrysalis Consulting.

Starting my own business has allowed me to grow in ways I could never have imagined. Consequently, I’m a huge advocate of personal development - always looking for new ways that people can invest in themselves to have a greater impact on work. I've now also had the opportunity to complete my MCIPD, a psychology degree, I’ve been awarded a number of coaching qualifications and am also working towards my PhD in Organisation Change. Time has flown by and next year Chrysalis will enter its 4th year, and I’m pleased to say that everything is going very well so far. 

Tell me about your general view on networks?

I've been part of networks for a long time, from ones that are virtual to ones that are face-to-face.They all seem to start with a huge amount of passion and a clearcut focus. However, as the networks that I have been involved in grow - they have lost sight of the reasons why they were created in the first place, ending up being very similar to all the other networks out there. I find this with a lot of HR networks. 

Ultimately, networks are truly useful when you can connect with great, likeminded people. But to stop the issue with networks phasing off, there needs to be a laser-like focus on the network’s aims and objectives.

What is the WOF network for you?

What I love about WOF is that it’s a real mix of people who are doing some really creative and innovative things. From my own HR and leadership development perspective, I find that the people on WOF are truly change-makers and they are implementing some really ground-breaking solutions to issues that, from an HR perspective, haven’t been solved in years.

There’s also a real mix of people who come from various professional backgrounds - like marketers, leadership experts, project managers and so forth. This creates a real mix of talent and it’s this diversity that leads to some really inspiring shared visions and values. Plus the drive to change things for our clients and within our organisations.

How do you envisage the WOF network will impact your business?

First of all, WOF offers a platform to be able to share and test ideas with an exciting group of peers. Running my own consultancy is great, and we get a lot of input from our customers and clients on the work we are doing - but sometimes you need that little extra input. I get that from WOF.

I also love the forums, face-to-face hangouts, such as the one I recently facilitated with Garry Turner. I love the opportunity to learn, listen and answer/ask important questions. WOF helps me continue my growth, test ideas, get essential collaborations, innovate and discover new ways to be creative. It really is a fantastic ideas hub.

What impact do you expect it’ll have on other members?

What you put into WOF is what you’ll get out of it. So if you’re prepared to invest time and energy to help other people on the platform, then you can get so much useful stuff out of it. WOF is all about bringing people together with a shared vision to change the status quo, develop the WOF network further, test innovative ideas, and reach out to great connections.




WOF morning coffee talks

By Vicky Holdsworth, Founding Partner of WOF and Marketing Director at ProFinda.

We're now into the third in our series of WOF morning coffee talks, and what better way to start the year than with our latest interview. This morning we sat down with WOF founding influencer - Andrew Ford to discuss all things future of work and what he expects from the workforce of the future network.  

Screen Shot 2017-11-17 at 16.23.17.png

Tell us a bit about yourself?

For the last 20 years I have worked across corporate, private-equity and start-up businesses - including Symantec, Dell, Comlinked, PB software, iadbox, Cyance, HP, BT, WeSwap, Tesco, Booking.com and Red Box software - designing digital strategies and technologies that include machine-learning data-analytics, CRM, social-media and ecommerce. 

I am someone who is curious about the development of humankind in all its guises across work, fun, family and friends, and how 7 billion of us interact across a wonderfully diverse planet. I value any thought, behaviour or technology, which provides a breakthrough to improve any of these important life building blocks. Also, I believe that collaboration is crucial to other like-minded people in terms of building new and exciting brands that come forward with new ways to pull emotional levers. Furthermore, I work across organisations and networks to help to enhance human enjoyment and what they return through engagement with customers and ultimately the delivery of business growth.

Tell me about your general view on networks?

I think networks are the new ‘glocal’ communities, from which passion, wisdom, and deed may spring, and in turn provide the catalyst for positive change. If we could all connect and interact with people around the world to work together on the big and small challenges that people are faced with, just imagine what we could achieve!

What is the WOF network?

People, and the passion, creativity, innovation, and character they bring, are the most important asset for any organisation. Thus far such a people asset has not been sufficiently valued or encouraged to flourish. We now need to unleash this important asset in the world of work and important endeavour. This is the work of the WOF network, which is a group of experienced and passionate people that have come together to forge new paths to higher levels of diverse, productive human output.

How do you envisage the WOF network will impact your work/ your business?

The WOF network will have a profound impact on me personally, and the knock-on will be an improvement in my life overall. The stimulus of collaborating with motivated people around the globe is a marvellous way to generate energy and spirit and will go from strength-to-strength.

What impact do you expect it’ll have on other members?

My fellow WOF members, and indeed those connected through their networks, will have a rich vein of knowledge from which to draw, which will have a significant impact on the quality of the work or avenue of life they lead. It is impossible to think how they would otherwise find and be close to such a seem of insight that stretches to every corner of the globe.


WOF morning coffee talks

By Vicky Holdsworth, Founding Partner of WOF and Marketing Director at ProFinda.

As the second in our series of WOF morning coffee talks, this morning we sat down with WOF influencer - Garry Turner to discuss all things future of work and what he expects from the workforce of the future network.  


1. Tell us a bit about yourself?

Having worked in international sales and product management roles since 2004, firstly for a start-up independent chemical distribution company and then with a now, global €2bn corporation, I have become deeply passionate about the current and future state of work. In my role leading teams and ensuring cross functional knowledge sharing, I had always been passionate about coaching, people development and continuous improvement.

4 years ago, I was given the opportunity with a ‘blank sheet’ to introduce a range of interventions that I felt would add value to our business. Over the years I’d seen too many organisations, across sectors and markets, operate a fear-based 19th/ 20th Century command and control structure. This inspired me to make some changes.

I took to studying first my level 5 certificate in L&D and then my level 7 award in Organisation Design & Development before rolling out our company’s in-house L&D programme covering 16 modules, fully led, tailored and delivered by internal colleagues. Over the last 3 years, the programme has embedded annual staff surveys, improved performance development processes and a range of other high performance work initiatives. 

2. Tell me about your general view on networks?

I feel networks, when used effectively and with a clear desired outcome, are immensely powerful.

If I look at where I obtain 70% + of my personal development, it comes via my networks. Whether that be a virtual Personal Learning Network #PLN such as Twitter, LinkedIn and more recently the WOF network or whether that networking comes from attending events such as FDM Groups Hackathon, CIPD branch events and others, networks offer one of the richest and most diverse learning opportunities that exist.

I also feel that networks exist to help challenge our way of thinking, build new contacts and connections and provide a platform for experimentation and innovation.

3. What is the WOF network?

The Workforce of the Future (WOF) network is focused on bringing together people from a wide range of disciplines, backgrounds and experience, predominantly on a referral basis, to challenge current ways of working, collaborating and developing improved alternatives for the future. By new network members being referred, the likelihood of regular, insightful, value adding contributions is much improved when compared with a lot of the generic LinkedIn groups for example where the noise and traffic can become overbearing at times.

On 26th September 2017, I attended our first WOF network virtual event 'Make Meaningful Work'. It was such a bonus to see, discuss and debate with other WOF champions face to face - after a couple of months of forum based conversations in the WOF virtual network platform (ProFinda). Since the meeting I have met with a number of the other event attendees, one of which introduced me to a trust who will be working with me on a project I'm running around #breakingbias (a crowd-sourcing project to help educate and balance newborn and adolescent bias).

These intros and help on my project, for me, represent why the WOF is such an awesome, truly powerful and collaborative network.  

4. How do you envisage the WOF network will impact your work/ your business?

The WOF network will be helpful in terms of sense-checking ideas and innovations. A place for the cross pollination of ideas and discussion, I am confident, will offer a deeper and richer context of thought which will add weight to strategy CREATION/promotion.  Finally I truly believe and hope that the network will open itself up to support and reinforce WOF messaging at any organisation that requires such support, especially via virtual means i.e. if I needed thought leadership support around a topic such as diversity & inclusion, someone from the network would be willing to support WOF discussions around this.

5. What impact do you expect it’ll have on other members?

I fully expect and have seen this already, to:

  • have my views and ideas challenged (constructively)
  • to share openly sources of learning and interest
  • participate in impactful conversations that lead to actionable insight
  • to offer event organisation opportunities 



WOF morning coffee talks

By Vicky Holdsworth, Founding Partner of WOF and Marketing Director at ProFinda. 


As the first in our series of WOF morning coffee talks, this morning we sat down with WOF founding partner and influencer - Perry Timms to discuss all things future of work and what he expects from the workforce of the future network.  

Tell us a bit about yourself Perry?

My story goes back to the 90s when I joined the Civil Service in a focused technology role. I followed my tech journey for another ten years - but found myself coming more to life when I was helping people to use technology, rather than working directly on it. It was the training tasks, activities and how you build people’s confidence around tech that appealed to me, so I transitioned into a more learning and development career that led me to change management, organisational design, leadership, culture, values - the list goes on. After some years working in the non-profit sector heading up a team looking at corporate learning - I decided to give the world a shout and set up my own business PTHR in 2012.

Tell me about your general view on networks?

Throughout my career, the one thing I can genuinely refer to is how helpful other people were when put in a space where they could network, link you up with opportunities, share their experiences and things they knew - making you feel like you belonged to a collection of people that helped.

Networks usually have a reputation for being just about collecting names and being part of professional bodies. I think that the advantage of a network is that you have like minded people who help shape your thoughts, help you learn new things and open new opportunities for you. They neither are to do with professional disciplines, nor to do with simply with the collection of thousands of people in the network. It is not about volume; it is the reason you want to connect to people. Today we see an abundance of networks but what marks out these networks is the principles and ethos you share with people not the number of the networks itself.

What is the WOF network?

WOF is a network of thought leaders, influencers and senior professionals from across industries. What marks this network as unique and extraordinary for me is bringing people together who genuinely would like to create a combined force to be as helpful in predicting, shaping and designing the future of work as they can be. The ultimate goal of the network is to create as much insight, as much research, as much commentary as possible so that we can help people to make better strategic decisions about the future of work. And who we are, the people in the WOF network are people who are excited to combine our efforts and energy to try to do as much as we can to influence this changing world of work. I hope we will find ourselves in a position of satisfaction, fulfillment, and usefulness as a result of it.

How do you envisage the WOF network will impact your work/ your business?

Personally, I think WOF will naturally extend my business network and link me up with more people who have a vested interest in the same principles that I do - improving work for people, creating more fulfilling working existences, influencing and educating. Moreover, it will also help me to create a constellation of connections which I have been aspiring to have for a long time. I believe the network can be both support to members’ professional development on a personal level as well as establishing a greater connectivity and creating a more compelling force for the network itself. 

What impact do you expect it’ll have on other members?

If you’re looking to plug into a network that has got energy and insight, then the WOF network is that sort of a place. If you are bothered about the future, this should a place where you should come and join!

WOF will give members a greater sense of self, mobility and will encourage more people to share their experiences, learnings and insights with each other. The network will also give members the opportunity to feel that they belong to a movement that aspires towards a greater good. I suspect, people will also get a playground, some support, friends and a whole host of opportunities.




Why I joined the Workforce Of The Future Network

By Kristin Sauter, Founding Partner at WOF.

You’d probably agree, the future of work is one of the most discussed topics right now with over 260 million hits on Google alone.

My journey in this fascinating field started a little bit over a year ago.

Curious about the changing working world, I wanted to connect and learn from the right people in this space. So, to me, networking is one of the best ways to do so, that also allows for countless opportunities to grow professionally and personally.

The choice here in London is wide and varied.  Ever since, I have been attending many workshops and events on topics like: AI in recruitment, Gig Economy, Employee Experience, Agile HR and the future of work. I’ve made some lasting connections out of some (not all) of these events.

I really enjoy it! It’s one of my favourite ways of learning and getting inspired.

But…there is one drawback.

Whether you are putting on the show or even just attending, the events demand a fair amount of time. Often you may have to sacrifice attending a key event because you simply can’t fit it into your schedule.

So, I have been on the look out for a way to compliment my face-to-face events with a virtual alternative. One that reduces the time needed but still gives me access to connect with smart and interesting people who are also interested in the future of work space.

A couple of months ago I was introduced to the WOF network and have been asked to join as one of the founding partners.

Since being involved in the making and shaping of the network, I had the pleasure to attract a wide range of new people. I’ve met authors, business owners, directors and senior leaders who all share a common interest and passion for this fascinating field.

So, where are we now?

10 months ago, there was a germ of an idea to create this network of influencers and big thinkers on how work will change and how it will impact the workforce in the future.

Today we are thrilled to have more than 100 local and global Influencers and Champions involved, eager to contribute to the network as part of their commitment to shape the future of work.

Our mission is not trivial. We want to work together to change the world of work, as we know it for the good of the present and future workforce. This is why we are building the network and working hard to attract and unite the world’s thought leaders and big thinkers who already look to challenge existing concepts and ideologies about the workforce of the future.

The network covers over 20 themes in the future of work space, which will be led or co-led by our Influencing Partners. Supported by our Champions, each Influencer will drive their chosen topic area(s) and regularly demonstrate their expertise by sharing latest industry news, innovations, research findings and hot trends.

For me, joining WOF was all about joining the right network, making the right connections, in the right field, that allows for loads opportunities to create professional relationships and to be able to support and help one another. I know it’s a place to come to feed my imagination and that inspires me. 

The platform will be (beta) launching in the next couple of weeks and will be open to Champions and Influencers with the aim to launching to the wider community in September.

I’m excited about the launch but moreover about the insights and connections I expect to make along the way.

If you want to find out more about us or better still you want to pitch to become one of our influencers or champions then get in touch today.


Our story.

By Victoria Holdsworth, Founding Partner of WOF and Marketing Director at ProFinda

Founded in September 2016, the workforce of the future network was started with the goal of better connecting people more intelligently. 

The idea for the network first came about during a debate about the exponential rate  of change impacting the workforce of future, combined with the lack of resources and networks available for leaders embracing a new vision. After extensive research, the need to build a collective network of the brightest and the best thinkers, thought leaders and senior professionals from across industries, markets and borders who are passionate about changing the future of work - became ever more apparent. 

In 2016, I established the network with a small team of people from different industries with the aim to build a collective group of champions who would own and promote the mission, vision and goals. In January 2017 the network had already reached 60 champions in size and continues to grow... 

Want to join us? Register your interest today