HPMA Hempsons Rising Stars Award winners announced

Congratulations to Sarb Birk, Richard Burnell and Olayinka Iwu who were named last night as Hempsons HPMA Rising Stars 2021 at the HPMA Excellence in People Awards, which recognise and celebrate the work of HR, organisational development and workforce professionals across the UK.

The judging panel was so impressed with the quality and achievements of all three finalists they decided to name them all as winners.

The winners

Sarb Birk is diversity and inclusion lead at Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust. She is a dynamic and influential leader and, despite being only two years into her NHS career, Sarb expertly hosts board seminars and designs and delivers powerful ALLY programmes. She also leads complex casework and supports diverse communities, making her indispensable to her trust. The judges recognised that she is a great influencer within the organisation and beyond.

Richard Burnell, organisational and people development specialist at Sandwell and West Birmingham NHS Trust recognised the mental health needs of those working inside and outside of his organisation. He developed and implemented several support mechanisms, making an impact on the wellbeing of his colleagues and staff in organisations around him. Richard’s obvious drive and determination showed the judges that he goes above and beyond his role and benefits the lives of those he encounters through work.

Olayinka Iwu is head of equality diversity and inclusion at Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust. She has had an immeasurable impact on the equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI) strategic direction for her trust, constantly striving to improve internal practices and advocating for inclusion. She has excelled at building relationships and helps to educate others on a wide range of EDI improvements. The judges were impressed with her ability to look ahead and development of the commitment to a strategy.

National head of employment Andrew Davidson said “We are delighted to be sponsoring the Rising Star Award. This is an important award that recognises the contribution of up-and-coming workforce practitioners. The rising stars have impressed us with their commitment, passion and ability to get things done. Congratulations to them all.

Listen to our podcast featuring the three winners discussing their careers and nominations.

Read more about the HPMA awards.