OBN Human Resources Special Interest Group (HRSIG)

The OBN HR Special Interest Group (HRSIG) is committed to supporting our current and future members in championing work and people. Leaders, entrepreneurs and business owners have much to make sense of right now and, in our rapidly changing workplace environment, sustaining pre Covid 19 initiatives and improvements can be hard to maintain. However, as our research indicates the need for effective and measurable Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) strategies is increasingly vital for every organisation.

Throughout this pivotal year we will gather feedback and data on the issues and opportunities, and we will publish our results in December 2022. Our priorities include establishing EDI criteria for the 2022 Annual OBN Awards and developing a comprehensive support package for members.

As an international membership organisation, we are committed to building an inclusive environment that focuses on equality of opportunity, respect, fairness and inclusion. Our key guiding principles are to:

  • Develop a long-term strategy for EDI within OBN with short, mid and long-term priorities
  • Build an inclusive and positive work culture within OBN to enable a thriving and diverse community
  • Support our members to establish authentic, valuable and measurable EDI strategies
  • Provide resources, data and access to expertise and support for OBN members
  • Establish our own definitions and guidelines and share with member organisations.

We welcome feedback and participation, so do please share your experiences and insights.


In December 2021 we launched a twelve-month series of events designed to stimulate valuable discussion and deliver on measurable targets for equality, diversity and inclusion.

The HRSIG Team

Chair: Angela Hobbs, Managing Director, Wilkinson Hall Ltd

Catrin Gaston Penny, Group Head of HR, Cell Therapy Catapult Ltd

Debbie Lyon, Senior Manager UK Human Resources and Business Operations, KalVista Pharmaceuticals Ltd

Declan Haverty, Founder & Principal, Informed Decision

Hsin Locke, VP Head of Finance & Operations, OMass Therapeutics

Jane O’Driscoll, Head of Events, OBN

Julie Naish, Head of Human Resources, The Vaccines Manufacturing and Innovation Centre (VMIC UK)

Laura Bennett, LBU Consulting
Laura BennettLaura is a chartered member of the CIPD with 15 years as a People Professional working across public and private sectors, including healthcare and life sciences, leading and delivering people and skills-related initiatives. She has worked across HR, Organisational Design, Change, OD, Skills and led award winning apprenticeship schemes. Laura has been an independent HR & Skills Consultant since 2019. Her clients have included CGT Catapult, NHS Blood and Transplant, Sandwell and West Birmingham NHS Trust, Surrey Heartlands ICS, Ekosgen, and New College of Humanities. As a Consultant for the CGT Catapult, Laura has been instrumental, along with the skills team, in the design and implementation of the Advanced Therapies Apprenticeship Community (ATAC) and Advanced Therapies Skills Training Network (ATSTN).

Rod Cook, Founder, Biotech Personnel
Rod CookRod has over 40 years' HR experience working in a variety of high technology companies. His last company role was as Head of Personnel for British Biotech. Since the formation of Biotech Personnel in 1996, he has helped over 50 life science companies and runs the premier remuneration benchmark survey for the UK sector.



Contact information

Angela Hobbs, Wilkinson Hall Ltd, hello@wilkinsonhall.com, M. 07766 148535

For enquiries on HRSIG events and content, please contact: events@obn.org.uk 

References and Resources

Parker Review: Improving the Ethnic Diversity of UK Boards

PRI: Diversity, equity & inclusion: Key action areas for investors


Summary of References used in the article in CONNECT 6, Spring 2022 

WEF: 3 women of colour on how to boost diversity from the outside in

SIP 2030 Skills Strategy

Harvard Business Review: Why Aren’t We Making More Progress Towards Gender Equity?

Nature: Minority representation in US science workforce sees few gains

LinkedIn Pulse: The LGBTQ+ Experience in the Life Sciences!

Royal Society report: Qualitative research on barriers to progression of disabled scientists

Center for Creative Leadership: Create REAL Workplace Culture Change With a Systemic Approach to Equity, Diversity & Inclusion