Tobias Parker

Tobias Parker smiles

Tobias Parker

Anthesis Consulting Group plc

South West Advisory Board

Tobias works to secure Anthesis’ position as experts among industry clients in the energy and carbon management sector.

He has led the energy area of the business since 2008 through changing social, economic, political and technological landscapes, having joined in 2003.

After studying geological sciences at undergraduate level, Tobias gained wide international experience in Asia across a number of sectors including working as a journalist and editor, and consulting with blue-chip companies and start-ups through the online revolution. He then made a conscious decision in 2001 to enter the then-developing sustainable energy sector, where he has remained, gaining an MSc with distinction in environmental sciences policy and planning from The University of Bath, and an executive MBA from Imperial College along the way.

Tobias is excited by the role of business in providing solutions to the challenges society faces, and joined the South West Advisory Board to help Business in the Community connect its members and the wider communities with the issues.

In his spare time, when not with the family, Tobias is a keen cyclist and can be found exploring the highways and byways of the south west.

James York

James York smiles in a black and white image

James York

Group Corporate Responsibility Manager,
Costain Group

South West Advisory Board

James York is the Group Corporate Responsibility Manager for the smart infrastructure solutions firm Costain. Costain provide engineering and technology solutions to energy, water and transportation industry clients across the UK.

Based in the south west, James is responsible for developing and implementing Costain’s sustainability strategy and targets. A major part of his role is to manage the corporate responsibility reporting. This includes producing the corporate responsibility section of the Costain annual report, as well as leading on the annual sustainability report, modern slavery statement and gender pay gap report.

James has helped shape Costain’s EDI strategy and acts as a ‘white heterosexual male ally’ to the company’s employee networks. He is particularly proud to support Costain’s first pride march in London in 2017.

James has a passion for youth equality, regularly volunteering with the Prince’s Trust and promoting STEM careers in schools as a STEM ambassador.

James is client-focused and works closely to support their sustainability or responsible business priorities, ensuring that Costain remains focused on its material issues.

James joined Costain in 2008 as a trainee site engineer, before fulfilling various roles including: community engagement, stakeholder engagement, communications management and leading the community relations team. James was appointed as the Group Corporate Responsibility Manager in January 2015.

Robert Watkin

Robert Watkin


South West Advisory Board

Robert Watkin is a Director in KPMG’s Pensions Advisory team. 

He is an actuary by trade and advises some of the United Kingdom’s best-known companies and public-sector organisations on how to run their pension schemes effectively. 

Robert is passionate about responsible business and he helps to manage and co-ordinate all of KPMG’s corporate responsibility activities for the Bristol office. In 2015 Rob set up a business class relationship between KPMG and Oasis Academy Brislington and he led this programme successfully for three years before moving on to take a position on Business in the Community’s South West Advisory Board. 

Robert moved to Bristol in the 1990s to attend the University of Bristol and still loves living in the south west of England today. He enjoys country music, going to the theatre with his family, and keeping fit.

Liz Blakemore

Liz Blakemore smiles

Liz Blakemore

HR Business Partner,
AF Blakemore & Son Ltd

West Midlands Advisory Board

Liz Blakemore joined AF Blakemore in 2012 as a Corporate Affairs Officer and was appointed Community Affairs Officer in 2013. Liz has played a key role in developing the company’s nationally recognised community engagement programme, with specific emphasis on employee volunteering and work placements.

She launched a new education programme in the business and wider community called Branching Out, which aims to inspire young people in the world of work, aid recruitment for AF Blakemore and develop future talent. The company won the Business in the Community Education Partnerships Award at the Responsible Business Awards 2019.

Liz manages AF Blakemore’s work experience, apprenticeship programme and graduate scheme.

She has moved into the role of HR Business Partner, focusing on the recruitment, retention and engagement of staff. She will be a key enabler in helping the business to become an employer of choice.

Liz join the West Midlands Advisory Board to continue the company’s work to inspire other business in to be more responsible and engage with schools. She is keen to increase the support in the Black Country, where her company is based.

Leighton Cardwell

Leighton Cardwell wears a suit and smiles

Leighton Cardwell

Director of Operations, Jacobs

Yorkshire and Humber Advisory Board

Leighton Cardwell is Director of Operations at infrastructure solutions provider Jacobs, responsible for the leadership of its city region strategy and its 400 staff in Leeds.

Leighton studied geography at Oxford University, prior to undertaking his MSc in transport planning and engineering at the University of Leeds, where his love of the region grew from.

Leighton leads on complex, multi-disciplinary transport and infrastructure scheme development, design and delivery in the region and across northern England. He is a chartered transport planning professional, an expert witness, a STEM ambassador, and is part of Leeds City Council’s inclusive growth extended delivery partnership.

As a result, he has a focus on ensuring community involvement, benefit, and more inclusive social outcomes from the decision making and delivery of local infrastructure; This is among the reasons why Leighton has chosen to join the Yorkshire and Humber Advisory Board.

Outside of work, Leighton is a keen swimmer, with open water swimming events and competitions having taken Leighton to swim in cities, rivers and channels all around the world. Leighton is married to wife Gillian and has a young son who already seems to share his passion for swimming and adventure.

Jeremy Darroch

Jeremy Darroch joined Business in the Community as Chairman in January 2018.

Jeremy spent 12 years at Procter & Gamble in a variety of roles in the UK and Europe before moving to DSG International plc as Group Finance Director.

Jeremy joined Sky as Chief Financial Officer in 2004 and was promoted to Chief Executive Officer in 2007.

Under Jeremy’s leadership Sky has been transformed from a UK satellite pay TV business into Europe’s leading entertainment company operating in seven different markets. Jeremy’s drive and vision has enabled Sky to become a multi-product consumer business, selling services across a wide variety of devices and networks to 22.7 million customers across Europe.

Over the ten years Jeremy has been CEO, Sky has outperformed the FTSE 100 and its competitor set to create value for shareholders while also contributing significantly to the countries and communities in which Sky operates. Sky is proud to be a major employer and tax payer.

Sky’s contribution to society has been driven by Jeremy’s belief that what Sky does goes beyond the confines of its business and is at the heart of who Sky is and how it operates.

Through Sky Oceans Rescue, Sky has committed to eliminating all single-use plastics from its own operations, products and supply chains by 2020 while also financially supporting and encouraging new innovation to develop solutions that combat the damage caused by single-use plastics in the oceans. Sky is partnering with WWF to adopt Marine Protected Areas around the coastlines of Sky’s major European territories.

Jeremy has also been the driving force behind Sky’s Bigger Picture initiatives including the development of the Team Sky cycling team, which has since won an unprecendeted five Tour de France victories, helped Team GB to achieve its gold medal ambitions at London 2012 and helped to inspire a new generation of cyclists with more than 1.5 million people now cycling regularly in the UK.

Jeremy was appointed Non-Executive Director of Burberry Group PLC in 2014 where he serves as Chairman of the Audit Committee, a member of the Nomination Committee and from 1 July 2017 as Senior Independent Director. He is a Business Member of the National Centre for Universities and Business and was previously a Non-Executive Director and the Chairman of the Audit Committee of Marks and Spencer Group PLC from 2006 to 2013.

One in four people has left at least one job in the last five years because of pressure and the negative impact it had on their mental health

29 August 2019 12:00

Louise Aston, Wellbeing Campaign Director at Business in the Community responds to research, carried out by Censuswide, published today by Slater and Gordon showing that a quarter of people have had to leave at least one job in the past five years because of pressure and the negative impact it was having on their mental health:

“The statistics published today show that there is a significant amount of work to be done to challenge the stigma of mental health in the workplace.

“Employers need to create the kind of culture where staff can be transparent about their mental health and they need to lead by example.

“It’s OK not to be OK. We need an inclusive, targeted approach to ensure that managers receive quality training, are knowledgeable about key issues in the world of mental health and are aware of reasonable adjustments that can be made, such as flexible working.

“The business case for a thriving UK workforce is clear in terms of showing a clear impact on productivity and staff engagement and retention, and we challenge all UK businesses to make good employee mental health a strategic priority.”


Notes to editor

Media contact

Cathy Beveridge, Media and  External Affairs Manager, Business in the Community,
T: +44 (0)7776 181945

About Business in the Community

Business in the Community is the oldest and largest business-led membership organisation dedicated to responsible business. We were created nearly 40 years ago by HRH The Prince of Wales to champion responsible business.

We inspire, engage and challenge members and mobilise that collective strength as a force for good in society to:

  • Create a skilled, inclusive workforce today and for the future
  • Build thriving communities in which to live and work
  • Innovate to repair and sustain our planet

Today we have a vibrant membership of hundreds of businesses, large and small, connected by the conviction that their success is inextricably linked to society’s prosperity

Energy and resilience: Equip leaders with the right tools to tackle mental ill-health

Business in the Community’s Wellbeing Leadership Team has identified energy and resilience as one of six priority topics to improve mental health capability. Costain and Anglian Water Group co-hosted a wellbeing champion forum on the topic on 10 September during which Dr Angela Armstrong focused on the role of leaders. She discusses the changes required to reduce workplace stress.

According to the UK Labour Force Survey, a staggering 15.4 million working days were lost due to work-related stress, depression or anxiety in 2017/181. Stress and burnout are prominent in the workplace and, without attention from organisations, leaders and employees, the situation will continue to worsen.

Many companies are putting significant effort into supporting employee wellbeing by making the ways that individuals can create energy – such as through sleep, nutrition, hydration and movement – more accessible. These may include remote working or flexible hours, healthier food in the canteen, filtered water in the office or offering subsidised gym memberships. These are the basics of any wellbeing strategy.

Companies are also investing in remedial efforts for those who are already on the road to burnout and need to recover energy. These include mental health first-aiders, increased occupational health provision and ongoing pay for people on long-term absence due to stress.

Read more about Business in the Community’s work on wellbeing

These efforts are much needed. However, resolving the root-cause is always more effective and efficient than remedial action. To stall or reverse the trend of increasing stress absence and presenteeism, companies must take action to change their culture from one that wears stress as a badge of honour, to one that recognises that resilient employees are more productive, have better self-esteem and boost office morale.

The good news is that solutions to building personal resilience are readily accessible, frequent and free. The bad news, if you can call it that, is that the solution is not a novel, radical or ground-breaking intervention.

What is needed is to review management and leadership practices where everyday decisions erode energy and reduce agency. Many leaders are ill-equipped to discuss mental health and fear saying the wrong thing; they assume the role of parent and increase the sense of helplessness often felt by the person experiencing stress. When I was on my own road back from burnout, the most productive conversations I had with colleagues were the ones that reminded me I had agency, that I could ask for what I needed and resolve my stress. We get the same feedback from delegates at our workshops and people we have coached one-to-one. 

Employers, employees and leaders must play their part in the solution. My book, The Resilience Club: Daily success habits of long-term high performers, contains 30 practical habits that are within the control of the individual. When leaders invest in their own self-care and role model resilience behaviours they inspire other employees to do the same. Incorporating resilience workshops into management and leadership courses provides core skills for conserving and directing energy, increasing agency and minimising barriers to wellbeing at work.

Angela is the Owner and Lead Coach/Facilitator at


  1. Working days lost in Great Britain; Health and Safety Executive; available at

Steven Thompson

Steven Thompson in suit and tie smiles straight into the camera

Steven Thompson

Environmental Sustainability Manager, National Grid

Environment Leadership Team

Steven is National Grid’s Environmental Sustainability Manager. He is responsible for the development of National Grid’s environmental sustainability strategy and supporting its global business to implement it, focusing on carbon and waste reduction, and increasing natural capital on National Grid’s land.

He is responsible for setting National Grid’s environmental policies and standards. 

Steven joined the Business in the Community (BITC) Environmental Leadership team to demonstrate that business has a hugely important role to play, and to support BITC in illustrating the business and societal benefits of being a responsible business. He believes the leadership team needs to demonstrate that sustainability is not just the role of environmental professionals but should be at the core of every employee’s role. 

Steven has worked for National Grid and its predecessors for 24 years in a variety of roles including Stakeholder Strategy Manager for the UK transmission business and Energy Forecasting Manager in the future energy scenarios team. In addition to his work at National Grid Steve is a non-Executive Director of Sustainability West Midlands.

About BITC’s Environment Leadership Team

Each area of work BITC undertakes is led by a group of senior executives who provide strategic guidance and support us in achieving our objectives.

The purpose of BITC’s Environment Leadership Team is to help business drive innovation that turns the threats of the climate emergency into opportunity for people and nature.

Find out more about BITC’s work on the environment.

Business in the Community is innovating to sustain and repair our planet