HRMI 2021: Kerry Smith, Director of People and OD, British Heart Foundation

Smith is the executive director of people and organisational development at the British Heart Foundation, one of the largest charities in the UK at over £350m turnover. She has three decades’ worth of experience working for recognised organisations including the Royal Horticultural Society and the National Trust.

In her current role, which she has been in for 8 years, Smith is responsible for the full people experience at the British Heart Foundation and leads a directorate supporting over 4,000 staff and 20,000 volunteers across 750 shops and stores, as well as the online eBay operation which has an annual turnover of 11 million.

As well as the full people function, her remit includes Talent & Organisational Development, Internal Communications and Wellbeing, Safety & Diversity. is known for leading award-winning people change programmes which bring about modern and successful workplaces. Her team have received multiple awards such as HR Excellence awards for Best Talent Management Agency, People-Focused Workplace Design Award and Most Effective Use of Internal Communications. She was also added to HR’s Most Influential Practitioners in Not for Profit in 2018 and 2019. Furthermore, she is the Chair of the Charity HR Network.


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Kerry Smith was ranked 12th on the list of HR Most Influential practitioners 2021.