News Reel & Blog

Written by James Cheetham on 23rd September 2014


Should we wire up our senior executive teams to heart monitors to assess their stress levels? This was just one of the tips suggested at our recent Seminar on Fit for the Future - Building Personal & Organisational Resilience where companies such as ITV, Royal Opera House, BSkyb and ITN shared their secret survival techniques and how they stay resilient in such a competitive environment.

Taking place on Friday 12th September, Searchlight and Lumina came together to put on another successful HR Forum, our annual event for HR professionals working within the media and entertainment sectors.

Due to the great success we had last year, it was held at the NBCUniversal headquarters in Central London again, and we’re happy to say we had another great turn out and an exciting variety of entertaining and informative speakers.

This year’s theme of Fit For The Future - Building Personal & Organisational Resilience allowed for a variety of topics and different media organisation’s perspectives to be covered, and the range of companies in attendance represented this.

We kicked things off with Faz Aftab (ITV Player Controller) and Hazel Mitchell (HR Director) from ITV who gave a lively introduction to the developments at ITV and how the evolving landscape of the media industry and its trends can impact us from an employee and HR perspective.

TV viewing and how audiences have changed due to the introduction of VOD was covered, and how our expectations of content quality and functionality has increased. They also addressed social media and its relationship with viewers and how the “tools to enhance enjoyment” are forever increasing and how we need to keep up to date with this.

Being a success the year before, the next feature was the Case Studies which focused upon Building Organisational Resilience, and with Melanie Tansey (HR Director) from ITN, Elizabeth Bridges (Director of Personnel) from the Royal Opera House, and James Longwell (VP Learning & Organisational Development) from NBCUniversal, we had an interesting spectrum of media companies to analyse.


They each covered how their organisations have broached the topic of resilience, with Melanie discussing the challenge of pulling a struggling company back to the top and how they succeeded, and Elizabeth Bridges and James Longwell giving insight into how large scale companies and well recognised institutions maintain their positioning in the industry and keep their workforce motivated.

After a coffee break and a spot of networking with the speakers, we came back with our good friend Russell Brimelow, (Partner) from Lewis Silkin, who gave his annual Media Employment Law update and was joined by colleague Victoria Goode, (Partner) with topics of Tax, Maternity Leave and Freelancers addressed.

Moving away from the topic of how to build company resilience, Louise Wingrove (Director) from Funky Learning came to teach us about Personal Resilience; it’s all well and good maintaining a resilient company but it can’t be at the behest of our own personal and employee well being.

Louise went through a number of techniques of how to deal with stress when working in a demanding role or coming up against any level of professional disappointment. This came with a number of key quotes and facts from famous faces including JK Rowling, Walt Disney, Michael Jordan and Fred Astaire.

She also covered body language in relation to approaching colleagues and useful phrases and key words to keep up a positive atmosphere in the workplace.

Our final speaker was Gavin Baxter (Senior Development Manager) from BSkyB who covered “Thriving in a Challenging Environment”, discussing the idea of developing employees and creating resilient leaders. He gave an interesting insight into how BSkyB’s development framework is designed in line with their “believe in better” slogan; rather than spread yourself and employees too thin by trying to achieve a multitude of objectives – aim for fewer targets but make them bigger and better.

We finished up the day with a networking lunch with the excellent food provided by NBCUniversal and their minions in the form of Despicable Me sandwiches and Norman “Bites” snacks.


We’d like to say a big thank you to all those who attended and for your feedback and suggestions for next year.

And of course thank you to our excellent speakers, NBCUniversal for being wonderful hosts and our sponsors; GrapevineJobs, Lewis Silkin and NBCUniversal.

We hope to see you at the next one, and if you are not in HR directly, do encourage your teams to join us in 2015!

“Very informative and loved the case study event.”

“Lovely venue and interesting topics with a broad range of speakers with vast experience.”

“Enjoyed the interaction between the speakers and the audience