Hannah Foster, director of people, Flybe
This year Foster moved sector from the National Church Institutions of the Church of England to a completely different role as director of people at Flybe
Flybe is Europe’s largest regional airline, flying eight million passengers a year to 81 locations. It is based out of Exeter, with around 2,500 people in the UK. This was a big sector change for Foster, back into the commercial space having done three-and-a-half years in the Church of England.
HR in the airline world has a high level of complexity and its own technical specialism. While still inducting into the new job she has focused her team;s priorities on culture, systems and data as well as employee engagement and relations. Flybe is on a path to profitability, at the core of which is improving operational effectiveness and culture change – both with significant HR implications.
Foster’s work at the Church of England focused on culture and transformation within the National Church Institutions as part of the wider church’s renewal and reform programme. Work included the delivery of the Pathways project enabling hundreds of church organisations to access digital recruitment – and reach the full diversity of the communities they serve – in a way that had not been available to them. This included launching a new online jobs board for employed, ordained and voluntary roles, with an applicant tracking system. Additionally she led work on church-wide people systems and data strategy. This involved working with broad sets of stakeholders and highly complex data pathways across many organisations.
Prior to this, most of Foster's career was spent across the businesses at Pearson. Her most recent posts were global HRD of Pearson’s English language education businesses and business adoption lead of the global back office infrastructure programme of change. Foster was also a parliamentary candidate in the 2010 general election.
She is a trustee of Livability (a disability and community engagement charity) and St Petcock’s, a charity for homeless and the vulnerably-housed based in Exeter, and a church warden in her village church in Devon
Foster is also a partner in the farming business that she and her husband have built since his retirement from the military. This aims to fulfil their belief in self-sufficient, high-welfare and low-environmental-impact farming. Having spent 12 years travelling the country and the world in her last two posts, she took the decision to work based where she lives in Devon in a business vital to the region she lives in.