Founded in 2006, Affinity Health at Work is led by Dr Jo Yarker and Dr Rachel Lewis. They both hold academic posts at Birkbeck, University of London leading a thriving professional doctorate programme. They are supported by a team with diverse professional experience across Occupational Psychology, Occupational Health, Health Psychology, Human Resources, Learning and Development and Executive Coaching, bringing in relevant expertise to deliver projects that make a difference.
Rachel is passionate about promoting evidence based practice and does this by taking a rigorous approach that builds and gathers both academic research and practitioner expertise. Her research interest focuses on promoting psychological wellbeing at work, particularly for those working in critical and inherently stressful occupations. In 2020 she won the British Psychological Society award for excellence in research for her work to understand the psychological implications of business travel. Most recently she has been researching remote rotational workers and lone rail workers. She has contributed to the development of guidance materials used within organisations and provided by bodies such as the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, ACAS and the Health and Safety Executive, written articles for both peer reviewed academic and trade publications, and co-authored and edited three books, one (written with Emma Donaldson-Feilder and Joanna Yarker) based on their research on ‘Management Competencies for Preventing and Reducing Stress at Work’, which was awarded ‘Practitioner book of the Year’ by the British Psychological Society. Alongside her role at Affinity Health at Work, Rachel Lewis is also (along with Jo) Director of the Professional Doctorate in Organizational Psychology at Birkbeck, University of London.
Jo is passionate about understanding what we can do to foster fulfilling, healthy and productive work, particularly under times of challenge such as when individuals are unwell or under pressure. More recently, Jo has been working on a number of projects that aim to understand the impact of workplace design on our health and wellbeing. Working with colleagues Rachel Lewis and Emma Donaldson-Feilder and a network of academics in leading UK Universities, her research has been sponsored by the HSE, CIPD, Mental Health Foundation, British Occupational Health Research Foundation and Cancer Research UK. This research has been translated into guides, toolkits and metrics that organisations can use to help organisations, managers, teams and individuals better manage their work. Her work has been published in academic and practitioner spaces. Alongside her role at Affinity Health at Work, Jo also works at Birkbeck, University of London where she leads the Professional Doctorate in Organizational Psychology. As well as her lecturing, research and consultancy work, Jo holds voluntary roles with the British Psychological Society.
Emma aims to support the development of kinder, wiser workplaces, with more relational leadership and people management, and improved employee health and wellbeing. Her varied professional portfolio includes teaching relational mindfulness, coaching senior managers and executives, individual and group supervision for coaches, consultancy for organisations and teams, research, writing, speaking, and public policy. She is a member of the Health and Safety Executive Workplace Health Expert committee. In order to have the best possible evidence-base for her work, Emma is actively involved in research; at the same time, her consultancy and coaching with a range of organisations ensures that the research is of genuine practical use in real-world settings. Alongside her role at Affinity Health at Work, Emma is also Director of Affinity Coaching and Supervision and is particularly interested in applying relational mindfulness to support leadership development and coach development. She draws on 12 years’ previous experience working in international relations and communications.
Kate joined Affinity in 2015 and plays a key role in Affinity’s work with the Greater London Authority as Expert Delivery Partner for the London Healthy Workplace Award assisting in the running of the verification process and supporting organisations to achieve accreditation. Kate also oversees the Work, Health and Wellbeing Research Consortium. Her research interest focuses on interventions to improve workplace health and wellbeing and she has led a variety of projects including risk assessment projects for work stress and evaluations of interventions to improve work design, diet and exercise. In 2020 Kate completed her PhD which focused on weight stigma in the workplace. Alongside her role at Affinity Health at Work, Kate is also a research associate at Loughborough University working on the Mental Health and Productivity Pilot.
Alison Dunn is a qualified and experienced mental health professional with an MSc in Psychological Counselling and Psychotherapy. She has substantial experience of developing and implementing programmes to improve and promote employee mental health as well as overall health and wellbeing within an organisational setting. She is an experienced trainer in mental health and has advised directors and senior managers on mental health and overall wellbeing. Alison has worked with Affinity Health at Work since January 2015, working with the GLA to support the delivery of the London Healthy Workplace Award through leading the verifier network and the verification process. She is keen to support organisations to develop an excellent approach to health and wellbeing and, in particular, the mental health of employees, through developing an approach aimed at minimising work related stress and providing a range of interventions to support employee mental health.
Prior to joining Affinity Health at Work, Claire worked both in-house and in consulting in talent, change management, leadership development and employee engagement roles. Claire has a keen interest in evidence-based HR practice and leveraging employee capability, health and wellbeing through a deep understanding of psychology. With a passion for aviation psychology, Claire has recently conducted research into the psychological impact of the Covid-19 pandemic for commercial airline pilots. Claire brings a global mindset to her work having lived and worked in the Middle East and Asia. Since joining Affinity Health at Work, Claire has been working across a range of client projects, conducting research into the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the health and wellbeing of employees, and supporting the Work, Health and Wellbeing Research Consortium.
Claire has a first-class degree in Business Management from Cardiff University, a PGDip in Psychology, and a Masters in Occupational Psychology, with distinction, from City University of London. She holds chartered status with the CIPD and graduate membership of the British Psychological Society.
Clare studied modern languages at the University of Cambridge and embarked on a career in health and research journalism and communications before developing her passion for psychology. Clare holds an MSc in Psychology and an MSc in Organisational Psychology and is experienced in providing coaching and counselling support work across a range of settings.
Throughout her career, Clare has held a commitment to evidence-based practice and a belief in the power of effective communications. Clare is interested in how we can support health and wellbeing in organisations by talking and listening at the individual level, but also by institutional ways of communicating that are kind, honest and inclusive. Clare’s current activities include conducting research with Affinity to investigate organisational responses to Covid-19, counselling support work with suicidal adults, and working as a speechwriter in the field of global public health policy.
Christian is an award-winning* Organisational Psychologist, Speaker and Brain-based Coach. He specialises in employee mental health, resilience, engagement and personnel development for better wellbeing and performance. He has a breadth of experience with regards to sectors, and has worked both within the NHS and with organisations across the finance, insurance, duty of care, media, retail and transport industries. Christian is passionate about supporting individuals, particularly during critical times of high pressure and change, by helping them build their own psychological tool kits. Working in close partnerships with his clients, he has designed and implemented programmes to better assess, develop and engage their employees. This has in turn helped drive culture change, transform businesses, and improve performance.
Christian is a certified coach, trained at the NeuroLeadership Institute in brain-based coaching. This cutting-edge coaching methodology draws on the latest research in the field of neuroscience. By understanding how the brain works, we can create the conditions which facilitate powerful insights, the creation of new neural pathways and ultimately desired change.
*Winner of the Division of Occupational Psychology Award for Excellence in Research 2020.
Jennifer studied Psychology at the University of Nottingham and initially embarked on a corporate career in Human Resources. She has extensive HR experience across both public and private sector organisations, including selection and assessment, talent management, leadership development, employee relations and change management. She holds the CIPD post graduate certificate and an MSc in Occupational and Business Psychology.
Jennifer is passionate about marrying the rigours of academic research with her operational HR expertise to deliver practical guidance and tools that really work for organisations, and make a genuine difference to the working lives of normal people. She recently managed a research and consultancy project which explored the impact that the physical vs psychosocial working environments can have on health and wellbeing. She also has a particular interest in individual differences and the role they play in one’s wellbeing at work.
Jennifer also volunteers as a Verifier for the London Healthy Workplace Award (previously Charter).
Catherine is an Organisational Psychologist with a background in HR, spent mainly within the global corporate world. She has a breadth of practitioner experience across Talent, Engagement, Change Management and Leadership Development. She holds a BA in Psychology and an MSc in Business & Occupational Psychology. Having won an award in 2018 for her MSc research into remote worker wellbeing, Catherine is currently utilising this insight and the growing evidence base around remote working to help managers and organisations embed healthy hybrid working practices. In 2020, she conducted research with Affinity into the impact of COVID-19 on the Learning & Development profession, published by the CIPD, with a particular focus on how practitioners have adapted to the design and delivery of training online. More broadly, she designs and delivers leadership/line manager/team development interventions, often incorporating coaching, mentoring and psychometrics to strengthen self-awareness and relationships.
Catherine is passionate about instilling the human touch within organisations, seeing this as evermore crucial given the increasingly dispersed and digitalised nature of work.